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Red Squirrel 03-15-2013 07:48 PM

Is there a method to cross nailing? I seem to be no good at it.
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I decided that to frame my basement I will install the top plate first, use plumb bob to locate where to put button plate, then nail in the studs. Easier to do given the ground is not 100% level so it's easier to just level as I go. Also I don't have enough floor room in some areas to lay the wall flat or there is something in the way that would stop me from lifting it.

I came to start cross nailing and I realized, either I need practice, or I'm doing it wrong. Anyone have a good tutorial on what is the proper way of doing this? Often the wood either splits at the corner, and rarely can I get the nail head all the way in. Using spiral framing nails and 16 oz framing hammer. Also how many nails per stud usually? Is two enough? Should it be one on each side? One part of the trouble is it's awkward to swing at certain angles especially when doing the top plate. Is there a tool or jig of sort that makes this easier? I did cut a piece of wood that is the same lenght as the space between two joists at 16" so I use it to help me keep the stud steady as I nail, but with the nail heads sticking out it kinda will throw off the measurement throughout the wall.

joecaption 03-15-2013 07:55 PM

No need for spiral nails, two on one side and one in the middle on the other side.
Need ACG approved nails for the pressure treated bottom plate.
No trick to it just takes some practice.
If it's spliting out you may be holding the nail at to steep an angle or to close to the end of the board.
Using a nail gun or a palm nailer would speed things along.

SeniorSitizen 03-15-2013 07:58 PM

Bore a pilot hole a little smaller than the nail through the stud at the angle you would like the nail to follow. If counter sinking the head is necessary counter bore for it also. Use a depth stop for both operations. Can be made of a dowel rod section.

I've always heard it as toe nailing.

Dorado 03-15-2013 07:59 PM

I mentioned recently that I suck at it. It's weird how much I suck at it. It's been a long time though. That won't stop me from giving you tips though.

First tip: I don't think you have to nail that way. You could end nail it, unless what I read (a long time ago) referred to sheds or something other than living areas. "Cross nailing" is stronger though.

Second tip: you can drill pilot holes to help guide the nails and I think that actually makes the joint stronger.

Third tip: get recommendations on what nails to use. Maybe I used bad ones and I think one problem was that they bent.

I think they make a tool to guide the nails too. And I think "cross nailing" has a term but I forgot what it is...I don't think it's called "cross nailing."

Red Squirrel 03-15-2013 08:13 PM

Never thought of making a pilot hole maybe that's all I need. I already bought 2000 nails, so not changing that unless I absolutely have to. Are non spiral easier to drive? I suppose I could keep these for other projects and buy another box of non spiral if it will be better.

I also thought of having a nail from the front as that will make it easier to initially secure the stud so it wont move when I put the other nails, but wont the head be in the way of the drywall, or will it just sink through it fine?

jagans 03-15-2013 08:15 PM

We always called it toe nailing, but regardless of what you call it, it is much easier with a pneumatic framing nailer if you have a lot of framing to do. Buy youself a couple of Quick Grip clamps, and clamp one to the opposite side you are nailing on top to keep the stud from shifting. How hard it is also has a lot to do with how you cut your studs. Cut them snug so you have to tap them into position. Also, cut a perfectly square 14.5 inch block to drop on the bottom to hold your spacing. If you are hand nailing you should start your nails before placing and nailing the stud. All in all, life is much easier with a framing nailer. I have a Paslode F350S and I love it. Very light weight, very good nose, very powerful. Personally I would never frame as you are doing there. Build the wall lying down, then stand up, shim and screw up to joists or cross blocking. I see a lot of people doing it like you though. Why, I have never been able to figure out.

TarheelTerp 03-15-2013 08:20 PM


Originally Posted by jagans (Post 1138171)
We always called it toe nailing, but regardless of what you call it, it is much easier with a pneumatic framing nailer if you have a lot of framing to do.

What he said.

An impact driver and assembly screws will work too.

bova80 03-15-2013 08:24 PM

I just framed my basement and did it like you are except I used a framing nailer and made it 10 times easier.

woodworkbykirk 03-15-2013 08:52 PM

when you start the nails set the stud about 1/4 " - 1/2" in front of the x mark line on the plate.. reason being the nail will draw the stud towards the line as the nails go deeper after each hammer blow. you dont necessarily need spikes you can also use 2 1/4" nails you just have to use more

ive never predrilled for this. its just a extra step

rckkrgrd 03-15-2013 09:49 PM

If you don,t have a air nailer use an electric drill with a robertson bit and 3 inch # 8 screws. These may be hard to find in the U.S. but you can use phillips. They are just a little more finicky.

Red Squirrel 03-15-2013 10:15 PM

Can I actually use screws to frame? I thought I had to use nails. At first nails sound easier but I'm starting to think screws may actually be easier! I think I should be able to find 3" #8 screws here, I recall looking for screws for a wood working project and they had different ones #10, #8 etc... the trick is being able to buy some in bulk though... These only came in like 50 packs. Maybe 5 of em on the shelf at once. Was at Canadian Tire though, I'd have to check Home Depot, they tend to have more stuff in bulk sizes.

I'll try with the predrilling first and see how that goes, if I can manage to keep using these nails I will given I bought that huge box. Done for tonight, then I have 4 night shifts to go, so I'll have to keep going next week. This project is moving kind of slow but guess once I have my stuff figured out things will go faster.

Dorado 03-15-2013 10:42 PM

I'm not sure of the best way to frame with screws, but if done properly it will probably be stronger than with nails. I don't think regular wood screws will pull the pieces together as they're intended to because some of the threads will probably be in both pieces of wood. If so, you'll have to make sure the pieces are tightly together and stay that way while you screw. And use screw lubrication like bees wax. You can find a Robertson bit (I think that's the same as square drive) somewhere if you want. We have them in America. But your driver better have a clutch if you don't use Phillips.

oh'mike 03-16-2013 05:21 AM

Red----Toe nailing is difficult a,especially over head.

Is there a reason the wall can not be built on the ground and dragged into position?

Often that is not an option in a basement----

Screws (gold ones,not black ones) will work for a partition wall----Square drive is easier to work than phillips---

SeniorSitizen 03-16-2013 06:55 AM


Originally Posted by Dorado (Post 1138278)
I don't think regular wood screws will pull the pieces together as they're intended to because some of the threads will probably be in both pieces of wood.

Regular old fashion wood screws aren't very available anymore but even the new all thread screws can be made to suck two components together tight if one doesn't mind taking the time to do it correctly. Watching home improvement shows isn't the place to learn that's for sure.:eek:

oldhouseguy 03-16-2013 07:43 AM

So, let me get this straight...

Is the consensus that you can use screws for partition walls in the basement?

I am getting ready to build a short partition wall too.

What kind of screws are needed for the treated 2x4?

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