Ring Shank Nails: What are they?

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Ring shank nails have ridges along the shank that provide better holding power than smooth shank nails. They are commonly used in construction and come in various patterns and sizes. They are difficult to remove and provide about 40% more holding force than plain shank nails. They are useful for softwoods and come in galvanized, treated, and basic steel options.

Ring shank nails, sometimes called crook shank nails, are nails with ridges or grooves along the shank—the part of the nail that goes into the wood. These nails have much better holding power than smooth shank nails because the rings act as wedges to hold the nail firmly in place so it cannot fall out. For this reason, these nails are commonly used in construction, especially for roofing, and are readily available at most hardware stores in the form of loose boxed nails and strips for use in nail guns. Some stores also sell them in bulk bins so customers can only buy a few at a time.

The design of a ring shank nail looks a lot like that of a screw, except that the head is flat. The pattern of ridges along the nail shaft can vary, depending on the manufacturer and intended use of the nail. Some brands have very shallow rings that provide a small amount of extra grip, while others have much larger ridges. Some have spiral grooves, while others have a neat series of ridged rings.

Like other nails, ring shank nails are not designed to be easy to remove—they are used for permanent construction. The shanks make these nails even harder to remove than conventional ones, and removing them will leave behind a large, jagged hole. While nails may look like screws, they’re not designed to work the same way, and that’s important for people who use them to remember.

When working with softwoods, ring shank nails are extremely useful. Conventional nails under pressure tend to come off woods like pine easily, which is not desirable. Deformed shanks keep nails in place, even under heavy pressure. Sufficient weight or pressure will eventually cause the wood or nails to fail, but ring shank nails will provide about 40% more holding force than plain shank nails.

It can be helpful to keep a box of ring nails around for various home improvement projects. You can find galvanized and treated nails that resist corrosion, along with basic steel nails. Nails that haven’t been treated can be oiled for storage so they don’t rust, which explains why nails sometimes have a strange texture when taken out of the box.

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