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RE: Smaller nail size for field nailing ok?

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Title: Smaller nail size for field nailing ok?
It's only acceptable if the building official says so!
In theory, panel edge nailing drives the shear wall resistance numbers.  The interior nailing does not contribute much (if even measurable) to the overall resistance of the wall.  Interior nailing can be important to prevent panel buckling, that is why we recommend interior nail spacing reduced from 12" oc to 6" oc when panels are thinner than 15/32" and studs are spaced at 24" oc.
In addition, there are some information on the impact of common vs. box nails.  There have been several research projects (including CUREE and some stuff done by UCI) that indicates that Box and Common nails result in similar shear wall performance.  We've done a limited study on this subject, and plan to eventually test more walls.  The preliminary results bolster the CUREE and UCI work.
Finally, the below mentioned practice does not seem very practical.  I'd think any savings in nail cost would be offset by the nightmare of having to swap nail sizes in a nail-gun or the potential of forgetting to nail off the interior of the panel (if it is done all at once).  Inspection would also appear to be an issue, but there are several nail manufacturers who are either imprinting the head of a nail with a code, or color-coding the nail.  So this might be easier to inspect, but would still cause a significant headache.

Thomas D. Skaggs, Ph.D., P.E.
Senior Engineer
APA - The Engineered Wood Association
7011 S. 19th Street
Tacoma, WA 98466
ph: 253/565-6600
fx: 253/620-7235


From: Haan, Scott M. [mailto:HaanSM(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2004 11:02
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Smaller nail size for field nailing ok?


For a wood panel shearwall is it acceptable to use smaller nails in the field and still use a larger edge nail size to determine the allowable unit shear?


Scott M. Haan P.E.
Chief of Building Inspections

Municipality of Anchorage
Development Services  Department
Mission Statement:  Guide safe construction and responsible development for the community.