Nails : Converting Imperial to Metric

Ready to begin your nail bending journey? Live in a country where Metric measurements are the norm?


150mm (6
150mm (6") Nails.
Yesterday I finally had time to head over to a nearby hardware store, which still ranks highly on my list of cool places to just wander around. This time, however, I headed straight for the fasteners section : specifically nails.
I'm currently re-reading the Diesel Crew's Bending eBook (review), which discusses in great detail the many fun things to do with nails, bolts and other metal objects and the equipment and techniques necessary in order to do them. However, as I quickly discovered, the nails sold here these days are denoted solely by their metric measurements. The days of dual notation and handy conversion charts have gone. For anyone who finds themselves in a similar position, here are a couple of charts which should prove indispensable.
Nail shank gauges (diametres)
Gauge sizes Decimal inches Decimal Millimeters
18 .049 1.24
16 .065 1.65
15 .072 1.83
14 .083 2.10
13 .095 2.41
12 .109 2.76
11 .120 3.04
10 .134 3.40
9 .148 3.76
8 .165 4.19
7 .175 4.44
6 .203 5.15
4 .238 6.04
Nail Lengths
Nail Penny sizes In fractions of inches In millimetres
2d 1 25.4
3d 1 ¼ 31.8
4d 1 ½ 38.1
5d 1 ¾ 44.5
6d 2 50.8
7d 2 ¼ 57.2
8d 2 3/8 or 2 ½ 60.3 or 63.5
9d 2 ¾ 69.9
10d 3 76.2
12d 3 ¼ 82.5
16d 3 ½ 88.9
20d 4 101.6
30d 4 ½ 114.3
40d 5 127.0
60d 6 152.4
70d 7 177.8
80d 8 203.2
90d 9 228.6
100d 10 254.0

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A quick note on the pennies If you're in North America, you've probably seen nail sizes written in terms of pennies (60D, 70D, 80D etc). This most likely originates from the former English habit of selling nails in hundreds, and the 'size' simply refers to the price. A 6 penny nail is of a size which sold for 6 pence per hundred, and so on. Why the D? It stands for Denarius, a Roman coin similar to a penny.
Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 34) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

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