This seems like a silly question, but how does one toe-nail a stud to a plate with 4 8d nails according to this International Building Code fastener schedule?

You can use either 3-16d nails or 4-8d nails. As my other question (Why are 3-1/2 (16d) nails so hard to find?) points out, 16d nails are really hard to find. I'd be fine using 8d nails if they are up to snuff, but it seems like it'd be hard to fit 4 nails in one 2x4. With the 3-16d's, it's two on one side, 1 in the middle on the other, but how do you do 4 nails and not have them run into each other in a 2x4?

  • It does not specify a 2x4, so it could be a 2x6 or a bigger. Also, an 8d nail is smaller diameter so you could offset them and get (4) 8d nails into a 2x4 without blowing it completely apart. You would need to be exponentially more accurate shooting 8d's than 16d's into a 2x4 though.
    – Damon
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:05
  • True, it doesn't specify 2x4, but that's what's economical and most common. Would you nail them 2-outer, 2-inner or alternate? Feb 3, 2016 at 12:32
  • IMO I would alternate, but in reality I don't see that as really better than the latter.
    – Damon
    Feb 3, 2016 at 14:27
  • Where are you that "16d cement-coated sinkers" aren't as common as cigarette machines in 1970s bowling alleys? They actually measure about 3-1/4", but you can't walk in a lumber yard or big box around here without tripping on pallets of them.
    – isherwood
    Feb 3, 2016 at 16:59
  • I'm in Maryland. I should maybe clarify that I'm looking for plastic-collated nails for a 21 degree nailer and not just a box-o-nails Feb 3, 2016 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


In all the nail sizes specified in the charts, 10D (3") nails are also an option. In the building trade, that is the size pretty much used everywhere when it comes to nailing up framing in anyplace.

In answer to the 8D question, 4 nails will easily fit into the bottom of a 2X4, yes they will cross each other, but only in the plate where the split resistance will be optimal. The angle used to drive them in and the height the nails enter the stud to get a good grip into the plate, should not allow them to collide in the stud.

If the 3" nails are an issue, 3 1/4" nails are available too. I have never seen 16D nails on a shelf in any supply house either.

  • And so when you do the 4 10D's, do you alternate 2 on each side? I can find pictures that say to nail at ~30 degree angle on each side, but not that say where on the face of the board Feb 3, 2016 at 18:21
  • 1
    You can do that if you wish, in the trade, they use 2 nails in the end of the stud through the plate. If they do toenail, it is usually with 2 nails only. In my work, I use 3 nails, 2 on one side, 1 on the other. Believe me, the framing will stay put. You can use 4 if you like to be really code compliant, in all the houses I overseen, an inspector never picked the nailing out for studs, only for roof rafter/ceiling joist connections. The angle can vary, there is no set angle and I try to get the nails in at a 45 degree angle, or steeper. The more grain the nail crosses, the stronger the hold
    – Jack
    Feb 3, 2016 at 18:43
  • Plus one for the 3-nail (2+1) approach. It provides adequate lateral and twisting support without destroying the stud (usually).
    – isherwood
    Feb 3, 2016 at 18:58
  • Yah, everything I've seen RE toe nailing was 2+1, but since I can't find any 16D's for the nailer, I was thinking of doing the 4-10Ds to be code compliant (I REALLY don't want to get everything up and then get dinged on that). I was planning on doing "stick framing" [thus toe-nailing] as I'll be doing this by myself and from most places that I've read, said that it was easier for a new person working by themselves [don't have to lift wall by self, easier to account for any variances in ceiling height, etc] Feb 3, 2016 at 19:30
  • This is a good answer. We use 3.5 but I have never had an inspector even mention our nailing unless it is a joist or rafter and there it matter because you have dealing with collars. Also quite possibly the issue of finding 16D nails is locality. I have had inspectors mention them when going through plans on an addition - however I can't remember them ever checking. They are readily available in the nail gun variety almost everywhere around me so maybe a regional requirement?
    – DMoore
    Feb 3, 2016 at 19:35

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