The person who installed beadboard around our kitchen island didn’t countersink the nails. I bought a nail set from Home Depot and have been trying for the past hour to get the nail at least flush with the beadboard. It doesn’t seem to be budging. I quickly tried doing it with some other nails that need it and nothing’s happening. This is the nail set and hammer I’m using? I’ve also included a photo of what the finished nails look like and another photo of what my nail looks like after going at it for some time. Any thoughts or advice would be great, thank you!!!enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

  • 3
    Generally you counter-sink brads and finishing nails. Those look like flat head nails. I don't think they can be counter sunk (the exception being dry wall nails but they are in malleable dry wall). Mar 3, 2020 at 19:22
  • @jsotola, that reads more like an answer than a comment. You shouldn't answer questions in comments. Mar 4, 2020 at 21:29

3 Answers 3


Unless I've got the scale completely wrong, those aren't finish nails. These are finish nails, since they have tiny heads. A finish head nail is used when there is no force on the head, such as trim and other decorative pieces.

Finish nails

What you look to have are common head nails. These are used when the force on the nail head is significant and avoids pulling the nail through the wood.

Common nail heads

You can still countersink these, but not with the nail punch you have, which is designed to completely cover the nail head so it won't slip off. You'll need a ballpeen hammer to get that done. You use the rounded end to pound in the nail. This is done either by using it like a regular hammer and risk missing the nail, or you put the hammer on the nail and use another hammer to hit it.

Ballpeen hammer

And no, hitting a hammer with another hammer isn't going to make either explode. This was busted by the Mythbusters years ago. You can break chips off the hammer, if it's old and already showing signs of stress, but it's not going to explode.


  • i wonder if the exploding hammer myth comes from using cast iron hammers of some type
    – jsotola
    Mar 4, 2020 at 0:55
  • @jsotola, that would be an excellent new question, but I'm not sure it would fit on this SE, but maybe Skeptics? Engineering and Physics SE might be correct if you're wondering about how it would work, but I don't think "myth busting" is their wheelhouse. Mar 4, 2020 at 17:05

Good luck trying to sink those nails in.They are flat head nails and not meant to be countersunk. The proper nails would have been finishing nails. At this point try grinding the heads flush. There should be enough head to still have them hold tight and then repaint. If you try to completely remove the nails, you'll probably mess up the cabinet.

  • Thanks for the responses! How exactly do you grind a nail?
    – mbarker
    Mar 3, 2020 at 20:32
  • 1
    Dremel tool with a cutoff wheel is great for "countersinking" nails that won't budge.
    – JPhi1618
    Mar 3, 2020 at 20:33
  • You can definitely countersink these types of nails, you just need to hit them harder. Heck, I've countersunk double headed nails accidentally. Mar 4, 2020 at 21:27

The big flat head works like snowshoes on snow.

Drill out the nails, use a drill that is slightly larger than the nail shaft.

Drill in middle of the nail head. You could drill a tiny pilot hole first.

The head should fall off, then punch the rest of the nail in a bit more.

Use some proper nails to hold the board, fill all holes and apply paint

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