Q&A / 

How to Sink Finishing Nails

How To Sink Finishing Nails TIPS

  • Use a small nail set that's sized correctly
  • Finish nail guns do a great job - ease gun to wood
  • WATCH nail set and nail gun videos below
  • Match nail set tip to small dimple in head of finish nail
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Sheila Wilde from Pocatello, Idaho emailed me. She's an energetic older DIY woman who had a great question.

"How can I sink the finishing head nail into the wood near the curved areas of a molding I'm installing?

I started there and then went on to use the wider area with the nail gun, which holds 1-inch finishing nails.

I've tried two ways, but one marred the wood and the other just didn't work out.  Any help would be appreciated."

I compliment you Sheila on your spirit and drive!

Nail Gun Issues

Let's talk about the nail gun issue. The wood trim you're using must be very soft or you pressed too hard when using the nail gun.

Most nail guns will not mar the surface and the only depression you see is the shape of the finish nail.

I'll also add that a 1-inch nail is probably not long enough. You need the nail to penetrate the molding, then through the drywall into solid wood. You'll discover you often need a 2-inch nail to accomplish this.

If you're applying a wood trim over solid wood, then a 1-inch nail might be sufficient.

Great Finish Nail Gun

Here's a fantastic cordless nail gun I've used. It requires no gas cartridges, no hoses, no compressor, etc. You just take it out of the bag and squeeze the trigger.

It drives nails perfectly each time I've used it. What's more, my first nail gun was a Senco. It's a brand I love and trust!

This is an amazing cordless finish nailer. Here I'm using it outdoors on a piece of exterior trim. It works even better indoors on fine pieces of small woodwork. CLICK THE PHOTO NOW to have this tool delivered to your doorstep in days.

Free & Fast Bids

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local finish carpenters who can sink finish nails with ease.

Finish Nail Gun Video

Watch this very informative video about how to use a finish nail gun to get perfect results.

Traditional Nail Sets

If you can't afford a finish nail gun, then you just need to use a traditional nail set.

These are small hand tools that allow you to drive a finish nail into wood keeping the head of the hammer far away from the wood.

These are standard nail sets. The yellow one has the smallest tip. These are very affordable and work well. CLICK THE PHOTO to have these nail sets delivered to your doorstep in days.

Different Sizes

The nail sets come in different sizes or widths. The tip of the nail set is designed to fit into the tiny dimple you probably have overlooked that in the head of a finish nail.

This dimple cradles the tip of the nail set so it doesn't drift or slip off the nail as you tap the nail set with the hammer.

Nail Set Video

Watch this carpenter use a nail set to drive a nail below the surface of the wood.

IMPORTANT TIP: The only mistake I feel he made is that he gave the nail one extra blow to get it VERY CLOSE to the wood.

I wouldn't do this if you're a rookie! There's too great a chance the hammer head will touch the wood.


CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local finish carpenters who can sink finish nails with ease.

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