There are many kinds of nail in modern use... But fixings
used for making pallets, packing crates and boat building are of
particular interest to beekeepers.
Conventional oval nails and panel pins also have a place
in the assembly of beekeeping kit.
Round Wire Nails
There is not much call for this type of nail for beekeeping kit, but
the larger sizes are useful for fence repairs,
particularly if galvanised.
Especially useful if galvanised or sheradised and
occasionally even adhesive coated. Oval nails are the most common
type of nail that has been used up to recent times.
The larger sizes of sheradised panel pin have been used almost as
extensively as oval nails. The smaller sizes are more commonly used to
attach plywood parts to solid timber. The "deep drive" or "lost
head" type are often copper plated in the smaller sizes.
These are generally short in length with large, flat, round heads
almost always galvanised or sheradised. They are used for attaching
thin sheet metal to wood and thus have a place for fastening metal
covers to roofs.
These are not recommended for
two reasons... They are readily subject to rust as they are only blue
oxide finished. The main reason is that the tapered shape allows them
to fret out of their hole due to expansion and contraction when
moisture levels vary.
Galvanising is good as it slows down corrosion and the
resulting rough surface is helpful in providing grip.
Sheradising also provides anti corrosive properties. The
finish is matt rather than rough, but still gives good grip. The
micro rough surface holds adhesives and some sheradised nails are
sold with a thin skin of adhesive on their surface for this reason.
These are used in 9 mm, 13 mm, 16 mm, 19 mm and 25 mm
lengths and are usually finished by Parkerising and staining black. They are also
sometimes available in a black "Japanned" finish. They are
characterised by their "penny on a stick" appearance. Often used for
the assembly of frames, applying hive numbers, or for jobs of a delicate nature.
Parkerise & Stain this is a chemical etching process, using
phosphoric acid, that I think originated in small arms manufacture. The etched
metal is them dipped in a black stain that fills the pores caused by the etching.
I have also found parkerised materials that have been dipped in boiling linseed
oil, which dries to a tough skin almost like varnish.
Exotic Materials the boat building industry has to address
problems caused by the extreme corrosive action of seawater. Copper
nails and materials like silicon bronze and gun metal are used for
fasteners in this trade. They are expensive, but very effective, use
them if they come your way, but their high cost makes them unsuitable
for run of the mill work.
Annular Nails also known as barbed ring nails or ringbarb nails
these have been used in boat building for many years. They are now more
widely available than previously, and are available in ordinary steel
instead of copper or bronze. Their grip is similar to that of a screw,
but maximum grip is not developed until the joint has been through a
few wetting and drying cycles. These are becoming more widely known
about and are being used by a few large scale beekeepers, as they cut
down on the need for future maintenance.
These are commonly used in the manufacture of pallets and stillages
often in lengths that would be considered very long for their diameter.
They are commonly inserted by semi automatic belt fed nailing machines.
The shorter lengths would be suitable for the assembly of stands. They
are sometimes cadmium plated and finished with a chromatic passivation.
Made of square wire and finished in bright zinc plate these are used for pallets
and roof trusses. There is a coarser threaded version that is called a drive
screw (these are sometimes tapered as well as twisted and often have domed
heads). They are sometimes used in conjunction with large domed washers. They
have been used with washers on both sides of the material, with the protruding
part of the nail riveted over the second washer.
Written... Spring 2001,
Revised... 12 March 2002,
New Domain... 17 May 2004,
Upgraded... 16 August 2004,