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The “d” stands for penny, so 8d refers to an 8-penny nail, 16d to a 16-penny nail and so on. It’s a way to indicate nail length.
Where does the sizing system come from and why does “d” stand for penny?
The “d” goes way back to the time when the Romans occupied what is now England. The “d” is associated with a Roman coin called the denarius, which was also the name for an English penny. This was associated with nails when they were hand-forged, one at a time. Some say a hundred 3-1/2 inch nails would have cost 16 pennies and thus became known as 16-penny nails. Others say that the number and the “d” indicate that one 16d (3-1/2 inch) hand-forged nail cost 16 pennies. The “d” designation persists even in the building codes today. Fortunately retail boxes of nails are marked with the penny size as well as the length in inches.
Applications include, but are not limited to, Framing, Heavy Timbers, Permanent Wood Foundations, and Deck building.
Hot Dip Galvanized Nails meet the minimum requirement for ACQ-treated lumber. However, despite the higher corrosion resistance of hot-dipped galvanized nails, we do not recommended them for ACQ-treated wood. Stainless steel is a more suitable choice for this type of lumber.