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Penny Size Chart, Gauge, Length & Diameter Of A Nail


Penny Size Chart, Gauge, Length & Diameter Of A Nail

Screws and nails are both common fasteners used for broad applications.Nail Gauge Chart, also known as a wire gauge chart or penny size chart, is a reference tool used to determine the diameter or thickness of nails. It provides a list of common nail sizes along with their corresponding gauge numbers.

In the United States, the most commonly used nail gauge system is the American Wire Gauge (AWG), which assigns a specific gauge number to each nail size. The AWG scale is inversely related to nail size, meaning that as the gauge number increases, the nail diameter decreases.Check out the nail gauge chart to find the most fitting nail for your project.

What are Screws And Nails – Difference Between Nails And Screws


Screws and nails are both common types of fasteners used in construction, woodworking, and various other applications. While they serve a similar purpose of joining materials together, there are notable differences between nails and screws:

  • Design: Nails are typically slender, cylindrical pieces of metal with a pointed end and a flat or rounded head. They are usually driven into the material by striking with a hammer or nail gun. Screws, on the other hand, have a helical thread that spirals along the shank. They require rotational force to drive them into the material and often require the use of a screwdriver or power drill.
  • Attachment: Nails rely on friction and the force of being driven into the material to provide their holding power. They are designed to be pounded into place, and their withdrawal strength is primarily based on the shape and material of the nail itself. Screws, with their threaded design, create a tight mechanical grip within the material they are driven into. The threads bite into the material, providing increased holding power and resistance to withdrawal.
  • Reversibility: Nails are typically considered non-reversible fasteners. Once driven into place, they are difficult to remove without damaging the surrounding material. In contrast, screws can be easily driven in and removed using a screwdriver or drill, making them a more versatile option when disassembly or adjustments are required.
  • Applications: Nails are commonly used in applications where quick and temporary fastening is desired, such as framing, carpentry, or attaching thin materials. They are often used in situations where shear strength is more critical than pull-out strength. Screws are preferred when a more secure and long-lasting connection is required, such as assembling furniture, installing hardware, or fastening materials with different properties.

It’s worth noting that there are variations and specialized types of nails and screws available for specific applications. The choice between nails and screws depends on factors such as the materials being joined, the intended use, the required holding strength, and the desired level of reversibility. Consulting professional advice or specific project requirements can help determine the most suitable fastener for the job.

Explain Nail Sizes & Gauges – Nail Length, Diameter and More

1.What is the penny size of a nail?

The “penny” size of a nail, often denoted by the abbreviation “d” or “penny,” is a traditional unit of measurement used to specify the length of a nail. The penny size does not refer to the nail’s diameter but rather to its length.

The origin of the term “penny” is unclear, but it is believed to have originated from the use of early English coins or the abbreviation “d” for “denarius,” a Roman coin. The higher the penny size, the longer the nail.

Here is a general reference chart showing the penny sizes and their corresponding lengths:

Penny Size (d)Nail Length (inches)
2d1″
3d1-1/4″
4d1-1/2″
6d2″
8d2-1/2″
10d3″
12d3-1/4″
16d3-1/2″
20d4″
30d4-1/2″
40d5″
50d5-1/2″

Please note that the lengths provided in this chart are general guidelines and can vary slightly depending on the specific nail manufacturer or region. It’s important to refer to specific nail manufacturer catalogs or references for precise lengths and available sizes.

The penny size system is commonly used in the United States for nails, particularly in construction and carpentry applications. However, metric measurements are also widely used in many parts of the world.

2.What is a nail gauge?

A nail gauge refers to the thickness or diameter of a nail. It is a numerical value that indicates the size of the nail wire. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the nail wire.

The gauge system for nails can vary depending on the country or region. In the United States, the most commonly used gauge system for nails is the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system. It assigns a specific gauge number to each nail size, with smaller gauge numbers representing thicker nails.

For example, a common nail gauge range in the AWG system is:

  • 16-gauge: Thicker and stronger nails commonly used for framing or construction.
  • 18-gauge: Medium-sized nails used for general carpentry and woodworking applications.
  • 20-gauge: Finishing nails used for delicate or decorative work.

It’s important to note that nail gauge can vary depending on the specific application and nail type. Different types of nails, such as common nails, finish nails, brad nails, or roofing nails, may have different gauge sizes and specific purposes.

When selecting nails for a particular project, it is recommended to consult nail manufacturer catalogs or references to ensure the appropriate gauge size is chosen based on the intended application, material thickness, and desired holding strength.

3.What is a 16d common nail? 

A 16d common nail is a specific type of nail that is commonly used in construction and woodworking. The “16d” designation refers to the nail size based on the penny size system, where “d” stands for “penny.” A 16d common nail is approximately 3.5 inches long.

Here are some key features and uses of a 16d common nail:

  • Length: A 16d common nail is typically around 3.5 inches in length. This length makes it suitable for various construction applications where a longer and stronger nail is required.
  • Gauge: A 16d common nail is usually made from a thicker gauge wire, providing increased strength and resistance to bending or breaking.
  • Head: It typically has a large, flat head that provides good holding power and prevents the nail from being easily pulled out.
  • Common Uses: 16d common nails are commonly used in framing, sheathing, and general construction work. They are suitable for attaching heavy structural elements such as framing studs, joists, and beams. They are also used in outdoor projects like deck construction, where a stronger and longer nail is needed.

When using 16d common nails, it’s important to choose the right length and drive them properly to ensure a secure and sturdy connection. Additionally, it’s always recommended to consult specific construction guidelines, local building codes, or seek professional advice for the appropriate use of nails in your specific project.

Nail Size Chart (Nail Gauge Size Chart)


Whether you are wondering what size is a 16D nail or should I get a 15 or 16 gauge finish nail, a complete nail size breakdown is necessary. Check out the common nail sizes below. Please note the 6 inches and longer nails are generally referred to as spikes. 

Gauge NumberNail Size (Length in inches)
21
31-1/4
41-1/2
51-3/4
62
72-1/4
82-1/2
92-3/4
103
113-1/4
123-1/2
133-3/4
144
164-1/2
205
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