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Nails for Making Beekeeping Kit



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There are many kinds of nail in modern use... But fixings used for making pallets, packing crates and boatbuilding 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
Round Wire Nail 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.

Oval Nails
Oval Nail 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.

Panel Pins
Panel Pins 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.

Clout Nails
Clout Nail 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.

Tin Tacks
Tin TackThese 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 anticorrosive 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.

Gimp Pins
Gimp Pin 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" apearance. 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 fasters 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
Annular Nail 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.

Barbed Nails
Barbed Nail 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.

Twist Nails
Twist Nail 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.

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Written... Spring 2001
Revised... 12 March 2002 Transferred to New Domain... 14 May 2004,