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My house was built in 1948 and is in St. Louis County, Missouri. I don't know what its walls are made of, but nothing is on them except paint AFAICT. For many of the walls, whenever I try to hammer a nail in, it won't go in more than a couple of millimeters or so; after that all I can do is bend the nail. Attempting to get into the wall with a drill or a "self-drilling anchor" yields a gouged-out wall rather than a clean hole. (The material inside, and gouged out, is grainy.) I seek suggestion, please, for getting something (preferably a nail) in my wall cleanly. (I simply want to hang some pictures!)

Most of the examples of this have already been painted over, so here is the only one I can find: it's the result of attempting to hammer a thin nail into the wall.

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A picture truly is worth a thousand words - in this case, a picture of one of your gouged-out previous attempts, so we can make an educated guess as to what your wall is made of. I do think that pre-drilling the hole will be your best bet - the question is, what kind of drill/bit? – MT_Head May 12 '13 at 19:06
Without the picture, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you've got plaster over chicken wire; you're probably getting extremely unlucky and hitting a wire each time. If I'm right about that, I think I would just try a different bit - bimetallic or carbide, so it can cut through steel - and proceed slowly and carefully. – MT_Head May 12 '13 at 19:09
I called it "chicken wire", but this is what I was referring to: amico-lath.com/lath/diamond_metal_lath.htm – MT_Head May 12 '13 at 19:14
@MT_Head - A picture "can" be worth a thousand words. In the case of the picture posted by msh210 the picture is basically worthless. – Michael Karas May 12 '13 at 20:18

To hang your pictures you could use a fixture like a 3M command hook designed expressly for hanging pictures on walls without using nails or drills.

enter image description here

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+1; many thanks. – msh210 May 12 '13 at 22:31

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