Nails bending, can I use screws for wall framing?

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Old 08-04-15, 03:09 PM
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Nails bending, can I use screws for wall framing?

I'm currently in the process of building a shed and have just started the wall framing. I'm using 2 x 4 studs (kiln dried Douglas Fir) with hot dipped galvanized 16D common nails. I started assembling a corner post and found that about 3 out of every 4 nails are bending when they are driven about half way into the wood. After instinctively throwing my hammer into the side of our house and narrowly missing a large window I realized that I need to change something, whether it be the method of nailing I'm using or switching to another type of nail or screws.

Using screws sounds like a desirable choice but I remember reading somewhere that deck screws don't have the same shear strength as nails and therefore shouldn't be used for wall framing. Is this true, and if so is there a certain type and size of screw which can be used to assemble exterior framing for a shed?
 
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Old 08-04-15, 03:48 PM
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Your nails shouldn't be bending like that. Are you hitting the nails square with your hammer? I've always been partial to my drywall hammer as it has a bigger head [and I like the balance better too] Since I lost sight in one of my eyes I've really become fond of a framing nailer

I can't definitively answer the screw question but you could predrill the holes and then drive the nail in.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 04:21 PM
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3" #9 or #10 Torx head decking screws will work really well. Less cam out and positive drive. I would use an impact driver, however, but a good drill will work, too. Building a shed, you won't have much shear to worry about.

Having used framing nailers exclusively for the past 15 years, I'd hate to see how many nails I would bend with a hammer Probably a lot.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 04:30 PM
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I probably shouldn't mention this, but an old trick way back in the 70's was the framing crew would pour oil over the keg of nails to make them easier to drive. In today's times that might need to be olive oil, but you might try a couple and see if they drive better.

Dry wood is also more difficult to punch nails through.

Bud
 
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Old 08-04-15, 04:39 PM
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hot dipped galvanized 16D common nails
This might be your main issue. Coated nails drive in much better. You should only need HDG nails for exterior work or for treated lumber.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 05:14 PM
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And use 3 10pd vs 2 16's. A 16 takes some real good swings. I have a couple of real nice framing hammers, and 16's and 20's still wear me out. For framing, I'm still a nail over screw guy.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 06:05 PM
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@marksr I am hitting the nails square, I think the cause of the nails bending might be the hardness of the wood combined with the fact that I'm nailing through 3 pieces of wood, meaning that the nail has to be "restarted" 3 times. The nails went through one end of the cornerpost without bending, no such luck with the other end. I'm using a 20 oz. framing hammer that usually drives the nails in without any problems.

@chandler That's a good point about a shed not having much shear, I think I'll try the 3" decking screws.

@Bud9051 The oil would probably work but knowing me I'd get it all over the place and be tracking it into the house at the end of the day. My next project however, is a '69 Firebird so I will be working with oil in the near future. Speaking of things that shouldn't be mentioned, I can remember back in the day when the final step when doing an oil change was driving around looking for a vacant field or ditch to dump the used oil in.

@ Tolyn Ironhand So coated nails are ok for exterior framing? Another kind of nail I've heard are good for framing are stainless steel nails but the ones they had at our local hardware store were prohibitively expensive.

Thanks to everyone who replied, the advice and recommendations are much appreciated.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 06:19 PM
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@aka pedro I'm pretty sure 12D is the smallest they allow around here for framing, but I could be wrong. I actually was looking forward to using nails for the framing as I've always enjoyed hand nailing when it comes to small framing jobs. This is the first time I've ever had a problem with nails bending.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 06:46 PM
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One thought. Where are your nails manufactured? Imported nails, especially from China, are narrower shanked than good old American made nails.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 07:02 PM
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Go get you some 16 ga green vinyl sinkers and if you still have problems get different wood. I always hated using kiln dried wood, light weight but that is the only thing good about it AFAIC. Gotta watch deck screws I have "Lifetime Guaranteed" screws in my deck that are 8 years old and many are starting to snap in half. Don't know where they were made but I could venture a guess.
 
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Old 08-04-15, 07:21 PM
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Ron, I agree with the caution on deck screws. They are hardened enough to withstand the torque when installed, but that hardening makes them less tolerant to any bending. A good old nail will take several back and forth bends before it breaks, but those screws usually snap with just one side to side effort. Any place they are used where there is any flex, they are not reliable. I know some are better than others, but none will take the punishment that a nail does. Despite that I still love my torque screws, I just add a few nails after I have things assembled.

Bud
 
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Old 08-04-15, 08:33 PM
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Tolyn Ironhand So coated nails are ok for exterior framing?
Coated nails are OK for framing that is not exposed to the weather. Your shed is nothing more then a smaller house. All the framing that will be covered with sheathing and/or siding can be common coated nails. Anything that will be exposed to the weather should be treated for such.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 05:10 AM
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Agreed, the only time you need galvanized is if the nail head is exposed to weather or PT lumber.

I always hated using kiln dried wood, light weight but that is the only thing good about it AFAIC
It isn't just the lighter weight, dried lumber doesn't shrink which gives you tighter fitted framing.

The nails went through one end of the cornerpost without bending, no such luck with the other end
I wonder if you had more room or a better angle on one end than the other. There are times that I can't drive a nail well if the position of my body is wrong
 
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Old 08-05-15, 02:57 PM
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I like to scare the nail by hitting to the right or left before actually hitting it. But then again, I have been told I'm hammer challenged.
 
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Old 08-05-15, 03:01 PM
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.... or just like lightning with a hammer - never hit twice in the same spot
 
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Old 08-05-15, 03:04 PM
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If you're like many of us here, you can use this as justification for a framing nailer (and potentially an air compressor).
 
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Old 08-05-15, 03:44 PM
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Dad taught me to "push" and "pull" nails as I hit them. If it went wonky, your next hit was to bring it back to straight. He was good
 
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Old 08-18-15, 01:28 PM
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UPDATE: What I ended up doing is coating the nails with olive oil. I dip each nail into a cup of olive oil, coating about 3/4 of the nail and leaving the upper part of the nail below the head uncoated to give myself room to hold onto the nail. Then I drag the coated part of the nail along the edge of the cup to remove excess oil before driving the nail into the wood.

Using oil on the nails makes it much easier to drive the nails all the way into the wood without bending them (I am also predrilling the holes before nailing. I tried predrilling the holes without using olive oil on the nails and was still getting a lot of bent nails, especially when nailing together 3 pieces of wood, such as when nailing corner posts).

And if anyone has any doubt as to whether the oil reduces the holding power of the nails it's worth mentioning that I had to disassemble a pair of trimmer/king studs to reposition them and it took a considerable amount of force to separate the studs from the bottom plate.

@chandler The nails I'm using are hot dipped galvanized (I bought a whole bunch of them before starting the project) and they're not the thinner cheapo nails you're referring to. The reason I was bending so many nails was due to the hardess of the kiln dried wood that I'm using (this stuff is concrete hard).

@bud9051 Thanks for the advice about using oil. That turned out to be the solution to my problem.

@Ron53 Thanks for the advice. Next time I'll try out the vinyl sinkers. Unfortunately, I already bought a bunch of galvanized nails that I need to use up before I can justify spending any more $ on framing fasteners.

@stickshift The only reason I haven't rented a pneumatic nailer is that I'm working on this project a few hours here and a few there, whenever I have the free time. In my case it wouldn't be cost effective to rent one because I'd need it for more than a couple of days.
 
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Old 08-18-15, 01:31 PM
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Rent? I never said rent, I meant BUY
 
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Old 08-18-15, 01:59 PM
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Wood loves oil, especially that kiln dried. Old friend was a long time painter and always expressed the benefits of oil based paints on the exterior.

Not sure I would be patient enough to pre-drill and dip them one at a time, but at least it works.

Bud
 
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Old 08-23-15, 09:49 AM
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Rent tools? I am revoking your membership

Everything I frame on a shed or garage is ringshank hot dipped galv nails. Long live my PC framing nailer.
 
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Old 10-29-15, 12:38 PM
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@ stickshift Another reason I haven't purchased a pneumatic nailer is that I don't own a compressor which is due to the fact that we live in a 1950's home that doesn't have a garage, therefore I have nowhere secure to store one. My next framing job will most likely be converting our carport into a garage.

@ BUD9051 Predrilling all of the holes on a large job would exceed my patience limit too, but this is such a small project (7'2" x 10') it hasn't been too bad. And predrilling beats having to deal with bending nails, of which I have zero tolerance for.

@ Hellrazor I haven't had to rent any tools for this project. In fact, I spent a whole day raising a heavy, fully sheathed wall inch-by-inch using a car jack and some 2 x 4's because I couldn't bring myself to spend money on renting some wall jacks (the other reason was because I had people telling me that there was no way I was going to be able to raise the wall by myself).

I will be using hot dipped ring shanked nails for the siding. At one point I had decided to go with stainless steel ring shanked nails but after striking out at OSH, ACE hardware and Home Depot I decided to go with the hot dipped. Interestingly, I found that it's not necessary to predrill the holes for the ring shanked nails.
 
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