Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ditch the Bent Nail

I've been doing a series of tests on backing plate materials, drilling, de-coring, dpoxy filling, and re-drilling innumerable holes in balsa cored laminate. The standard method is to use a bent nail to pulverized the balsa.

Bent nail

Well, ditch that. At the suggestion of another DIY sailor I tired a notched roofing nail.
  • The drill bucks less. Particularly helpful on larger holes.
  • The dust is finer and hence easier to remove. No need to dig it out with a nail.
  • You are less likely to miss a spot, though as the pictures show, both methods can do a very nice job.
Notched roofing nail

Dremel cutters work, producing fine dust that is easier to remove, but the undercut is only 0.09-inch vs 0.19-inch for the bent nail or roofing nail. By the time you cut a bevel for sealant, there isn't much left for a seal.


The right tool for the job bay be the notched roofing nail


  1. Hmmm. . . I've used the dremel bit, and was satisfied with the result, but you are right that it doesn't remove as much as would the roofing nail. That looks like a better method. Thanks!

  2. I use the short side of an L-shaped allen key. I took it to the bench grinder to create a sharp edge. Didn't bother with creating a point, just ground in one plane. I have a few of them in different sizes depending on the diameter of the deck hole.

    This looks like an interesting alternative. Might give it a try next time.