How is Nail Set Used in Woodworking?

Have you ever thought how a nail set is used? Have you ever used one in previous projects? A nail set is a rather unique woodworking tool that you will surely be impressed once you find out what it can do. It actually looks like a pen with a spring for a body. It works like a hammer that drives nails into wood however it is used quite differently.

A nail set comes in a kit called a nail set and punch used for woodworking. The nail set will drive a nail into wood or a wooden surface without the need of a hammer. The user simply pulls the spring on the nail set to drive the nail in the wood. The user repeatedly pulls the spring until the nail is completely inside the wood.

Great force for such as small tool

What’s great about a nail set is that it looks like a pen and even weighs and feels like a pen when used. Simply pulling the spring twice, thrice or even four times will be able to drive a nail to a wooden wall in an instant. The secret is the huge potential force whenever the spring is used. This force concentrates on the head of the hail which drives it deeper into the wood.

To get to know a nail set, you must be familiar with its parts. A basic nail set has a driving pin which presses on the head of the nail, a strong yet lightweight spring attached to the driving pin and a handle attached to the spring. This is what you pull to lengthen the spring and collect potential energy. This will be released to drive the nail effectively and cleanly through wood.

How a nail set is used

A nail set is unlike any tool you will ever encounter and in fact, it could be a secret tool that professional and experienced woodworkers use to make flawless projects all the time.

It is actually very simple to use a nail set. You only need to follow these three steps to do so.

  1. Drive the nail into wood with the use of a regular hammer. Drive it in but leave at least a few centimeters protruding from the surface.
  2. Place the driving pin on top of the nail. Hold the nail set with your non-dominant hand while our dominant hand holds the handle at the tip of the spring.
  3. Pull the spring a few inches and then let go. This will move the nail deeper a few centimeters. Pull the spring and let go several more times to completely drive the nail into the wood.

The nail set will be able to take care of regular-sized nails and in most wooden surfaces. And although using a hammer or a power driver is a good idea for most woodworking projects, a nail set comes handy in the following situations:

A nail set will not damage finished wood surfaces

Need to strengthen a newly remodeled wall or repainted panel? You won’t have to worry about damaging your new wall or surface when you use a nail set. Once you have driven a nail in the wall using a hammer, leave a few centimeters for the nail set to work. With just a few strikes of a nail set, you will be able to finish that project without even touching your newly painted or remodeled wall or panel. You can also use a nail set on newly varnished walls or delicate and expensive wooden panels as well.

A nail set will fit even in the tightest spots

If you are driving a nail in between panels, in tight spots and in places that a hammer cannot possibly swing then let a nail set do the work for you. Again, drive the nail to the wall using an ordinary hammer, just a few light strikes would do just to stabilize the nail. Then use a nail set to finish the job. A few pulls of the nail set string and you will be able to take that nail in.

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A nail set can be used with a hammer

A nail set can also partner with a hammer to drive a nail into wood especially in projects that use thicker and stronger wood types. Simply drive a nail on wood just like in regular projects. Use the nail set on the nail but this time use a hammer to create a more pronounced and stronger force to drive the nail deeper.

A nail set will work without stressing the arms, hands and wrists

Regular hammers are heavy and may need a lot of force to use and even to lift. A nail set won’t take even a fraction of the force that you exert with a hammer. You won’t feel like your arms are falling off after the end of the day even after you have used a nail set.

A nail set is cheaper and available in most craft stores

An ordinary hammer could cost around $20 or more, especially for hammers with high end brands. A pack of nail set costs less than $5 for three. Definitely very cheap if you are just working on projects at home.

Buying a nail set

Look for a nail set and punch that comes in a set. Just like the Stanley 58 – 230 which is a three-piece steel nails set. This nail set pack is just less than $7 on Amazon and you get nail sets made of alloy steel that is hardened and tempered. This set has a square head that prevents rolling when the nails are set. You get great value out of your money because this nail set comes with a limited lifetime warranty. So choose a quality nail set with good features and awesome warranty to get a great deal


A nail set is a unique woodworking tool that works like a hammer but with an unconventional design. It drives nails into wood using potential force from pulling a spring. You pull the spring and this drives nails effectively and cleanly even on newly painted, varnished or finished wood or surface.

The tool also works as a nail driving tool in places where it is hard to swing a hammer or in very tight spaces. It can also work with a hammer to drive nails into very hard surfaces. And if you think that it’s too heavy to lift a hammer, a nail set could be a good, light tool for you. It won’t hurt the hands, wrists and arms like a regular hammer will and is also cheaper as well.

If you are buying a nail set, make sure to purchase a reliable brand. Choose a set made with durable materials and features that will make driving nails easier. A good set of three and a sweet warranty would be enough to give you good value for your money.

Do you have a few tips on how to use a nail set? Share your tips on the comment section below. And if you like this article, share it to anyone who you think would like to use a nail set.

  • November 1, 2017
  • DIY