How to drive a nail in a plank of wood?

Fred Tingaud · March 21, 2021

How to drive a nail in a plank of wood?

A question I often see on screwdriver social networks is “how do you drive a nail in wood?”. Although I am sympathetic with the usual answer “You don’t because screws are objectively better in all cases”, in practice there is a need to not appear overly dogmatic. Being because a misinformed boss or customer asks you too, or because you ran out of screws, there are sadly moments where you need to use nails.

But don’t worry, this tutorial is there for you

Choose your side correctly

Nails are universally recognized as unrefined tools. Most people think it is because they lack a ridge, but the problem is worst than that. Their head is flat and cannot receive a screwdriver’s tip.

Because of that, you will need to use the handle of your screwdriver to strike the nail with force. Never use the tip, as it might result in damaging the wood or worst, your tool!

No Tip! Only Handle

Holding the screwdriver

If you hold the screwdriver too low, you risk hurting your hand when it deviates. Which is why you should hold the handle high. Many screwdriver experts hurt themselves that way.

Not holding handle low Holding handle high


You want to strike the nail with the full force of your arm, not only your shoulder. So you should not hit with your arm clenched. Your elbow must be mobile and participate in the strike.

Not arm clenched Use elbow

The impact

It is very important that the impact is at the center of the handle. Otherwise, it will deviate and you will hurt yourself. Many screwdrivers hurt their hand badly that way, don’t be one of them!

Don't deviate Centered


Although screws are clearly the way to go, if you follow this tutorial, there is a reasonable chance that you will manage to drive a nail in a plank without hurting yourself.

As soon as my hand will be healed, I will follow up with a tutorial on how to cut a plank of wood. Stay tuned!

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