Say you have the opportunity to nail a piece of trim in from the back with an 16-18ga finish nail on a barn door (so all wood construction). You were smart about it and made sure it wouldn't bust through the face. Is this less strong than face nailing?

  • 1
    Probably DIY.SE would have more opinions about this. I say opinions because I doubt there is empirical published info (that is easy to find and apply to your question) about this. Certainly, those in the trades will have thoughts about face- vs. toe-nailing, which is related a bit.
    – jdv
    Nov 22 '19 at 15:04
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    Rule of thumb is you always nail the thinner piece to the thicker piece. That help any?
    – Graphus
    Nov 22 '19 at 16:38
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    If you drive the nails at angles, the face vs back becomes largely irrelevant as you create a mechanical+friction/pressure connection and not just a friction/pressure connection. Nov 22 '19 at 20:13
  • @GraphussupportsMonica a bit yes!
    – Alex
    Nov 22 '19 at 20:37

Honestly, I would not do this. There are many techniques for blind-nailing trim if you really want it to look nice and want to minimize finishing steps to hide nail heads.

Also, as suggested in the comments, there already is a technique for angling nails so you maximize the strength of the fastener interface. When I was in the trades I saw that there were two ways to install wood trim:

  1. Bang it on with enough nails straight in, countersink, call it a day because the rest of the job is for the painters.
  2. Take the extra few minutes to match up mitres nicely, and angle your fasteners cleverly so joints are tightened and the nail heads need minimal prep for finishing.

(1) was cheap and cheerful and was fine, mostly. Paint covers many sins. (2) took about 1/2 day longer but the results were astonishing. Some of the joints were hard to even see, and often nail heads were tucked under a little slice of glued-down wood.

(It occurs to me that toward the end of my tenure, a third option showed up. Trim installers tore a page from the roofers' book and started using nail guns and headless staples. Ka-chunk psst ka-chunk psst glrgglrglgrlgrl all day long...)

  • As I expected, my answer is more fitting for DIY.SE, and has little to do with woodworking per se.
    – jdv
    Nov 23 '19 at 15:17
  • Much as I'd like to take credit for the mention of toenailing/dovetail nailing, that was @UnhandledExcepSean.
    – Graphus
    Nov 23 '19 at 17:35
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    +1 for the sounds of the nailer & compressor alone! Oh yeah, the rest is good, too. :)
    – FreeMan
    Nov 23 '19 at 22:02
  • @GraphussupportsMonica oops. Fixed. Pure laziness on my part.
    – jdv
    Nov 24 '19 at 2:08

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