Q&A / 

Preventing Wood Splitting Video

Have you gotten a crack in a piece of lumber when driving a nail into it? What causes the split? Most people think it is because the nail is not sharp enough. Actually, the nail is too sharp. That causes the split. The sharp point acts as a wedge and splits the lumber as it is driven.

To prevent this from happening, you need to dull the points of the nails. Make the nail tip blunt, that way the nail will crush the wood fibers out of the way. The wood will not split.

A good example of this is flooring nails. These nails have a very blunt tip. This keeps them from splitting off the tongue as you drive them into the flooring.

Sometimes when nailing very close to the edge of the lumber, blunting a nail may not work. Use a drill to drill a small pilot hole into the pieces of lumber. The pilot hole should be smaller in diameter than the diameter of the nail.

How to you blunt a nail? Place the head of the nail on a solid surface and use your hammer to tap the tip until it has been blunted. Many specialty nails, like nail gun nails, come pre-blunted from the manufacturer.

Splitting wood can be avoided if you use blunt nails or a pivot hole in the lumber. Do that and you will have split-free lumber.


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