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Tip #224
On target toenailing

By its very nature, toenailing project components together can be tricky. This is less of a case, of course, if you're using a pneumatic nailer…but for now, let's assume you aren't…and that you're armed with a conventional hammer and two hands.

The most common problem, of course, is holding the nail at the right angle to get a good "bite" - either on what I'd call your "nail-through" board or your "nail-to" board.

Too shallow of an angle and your nail point will skip across the surface of your "nail-through" board and enter at the wrong point. When this happens, you usually get very little bite on the nail-through" board, creating a weak joint.

To avoid this problem, lay the "head" of a second nail on your board at your intended entry point. Lift up on point of this nail until it's at a shallow 15o or so angle to this board's surface. Strike the head with your hammer to create a "pocket-hole-type" indent in the board's surface.

Then, simply hold the point of the nail that's to be toenailed in the center of this pocket at the angle that best suits your needs and hammer away. No more skipping.

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