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Choose nails which are around three times longer than the thickness of the timber they must hold, and always nail your lighter work to your heavier. To make strong nailed joints, drive nails in from opposite directions and bend the points into the wood; this is called clench nailing. Where joints meet at right angles, they should be skew-nailed. The sections can be simply butt-jointed, but a housing joint will be stronger, as shown in the drawing below.

Dovetail nailing, where the nails are fanned slightly inwards, provides the best grip when nailing into end grain.

Corrugated fasteners can be used for battens to make simple frameworks.


It is not possible to screw directly into a wall. It is necessary first to drill a hole, then to fill the hole with a suitable ‘plug’ into which the screw can be fixed. The plug then holds the screw securely in the hole. For fixings into brick, stone, breeze block and similar materials, first carefully mark the position of the necessary fixings. Then make a hole in the wall using an electric drill or hand drill fitted with a masonry bit; or you can use an inexpensive tool called a Rawldrill, which you tap gently with a hammer, turn, and then tap again, tapping a bit harder when you are through the plaster. Your screw will need to be long enough to penetrate through the plaster and about 2-2-5 cm into the masonry.

When you have made your hole deep enough , insert the tip of your screw into a plug -nylon plugs are well-suited for amateurs, though fibre plugs make firmer fixings. Give the screw a couple of turns, and push both screw and plug home into the hole. Then remove the screw and re-insert it into the hole through whatever you are fixing – e.g. a bracket, or a pre-drilled timber batten.

It is very important that screw, plug and hole are all the same size, therefore make sure that you buy screws and plugs of the same number. Number 8 screws and plugs, for example, are suitable for fixing shelves, and you can buy a Rawldrill, and a selection of screws and plugs, all number 8’s, in a handy pack. Masonry drill bits are also numbered accordingly. Various spring toggle fixings are available for making fixings into cavity walls, partitions and hollow doors etc. 3. 3a. 3b.

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