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How to Hammer a Tiny Nail

Here's a nail pushed through the piece of paper. Once the nail is driven in, simply pull out the  paper.

Things You'll Need:

  • Piece of paper
  • Nail
  • Hammer
  • Small piece of packaging cardboard
  • Knife
  • pocket comb
  • hammer
  • nail
  • pair of needle-nose pliers

How to Hammer a Tiny Nail. Ever try to hammer a small finishing nail or a brad? The darn things are about the same length as your fingers are wide and when you're holding the nail in position, it's virtually impossible to drive it in without 'whacking' your fingers at the same time. Well, here's four ideas on how you can actually hold that tiny nail in place while you start driving it in, and none of them will cost you a bruised finger.

Using a piece of paper

Cut an ordinary piece of paper into a thin strip about 1/2" wide and a couple of inches long.

Push the nail through the paper about 1/4" from the end, then slide the paper up close to nail head. Now you can see the exact spot you want to drive the nail.

Hold the nail in position and hammer it it in.

Once you've sunk the nail, simply pull the paper out.

Now all that's left to do is sink the nail head and fill in the hole.

Cardboard method

Cut a piece of packaging cardboard into a strip about 1/2" wide by 2" long.

Cut a thin slit into one end of the cardboard, about 1/2" long.

Slide your tiny nail into the slot so the cardboard is just under the nail head.

Position the nail over the wood and drive it in.

Before driving the nail flush with the wood surface, pull the cardboard out from under the nail head, then finish driving the nail.

Slit in the cardboard strip holds the nail in position.

Comb Method

Take a pocket comb out of your pocket and slide the nail in between the teeth of the comb.

Hold then nail in position and drive it almost all the way in.

Slide your comb out from under the nail head the finish driving the nail.

Nail held in place with a pocket comb.

Mechanics method

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to hold the nail in position.

Start driving the nail in with your hammer, but once the nail is well into the wood, take away the pliers.


Any of these methods will hold the small nails straight up so you can get it started, just be sure you drive the nail straight down into the wood. Since it's easier to control, a light hammer (like a tack hammer) or even a child's hammer could make the job of driving the tiny nails simpler.

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