View Full Version : Thinking outside the box

03-05-2008, 06:34 PM
HSMers and gunsmiths often have to make do with equipment that's not perfect for the job, but it's what's available when the job needs doing. Today I started construction of my new shop in the garage, putting down footers for the walls. I very quickly found that the concrete nails wouldn't penetrate the floor that's harder than a mother-in-law's heart, and I couldn't find a proper sized carbide tipped drill in town. I did have a 5/16" drill bit for the hammer drill, so I drove the concrete nails into the wood to mark the floor, then drilled with the 5/16" bit. Being a cast bullet shooter, I used .30 caliber bullets that measure about .311", stuffed one in each hole, and drove the nails into the lead alloy. Those 2x4's aren't going anywhere!

Montezuma, IA

John Stevenson
03-05-2008, 06:39 PM
Why didn't you just shoot them into the concrete ?


03-05-2008, 06:44 PM
I had a friend tap a keg of beer with a .38 in the Mountains after we drove all the way up there with no taps. :D

03-05-2008, 06:56 PM
Yeah, shoot them in. What's that called- a Hilti gun I believe. I like your solution though.

Hey, there's a project- every hsm'er needs a concrete nail gun-

03-05-2008, 07:53 PM
Shooting them in is great, if you already have the cartridge powered nail gun and the very special nails it takes, plus the special blank cartridges. I have none of the above, and it's not likely that I'll need to build more on top of concrete than I'm doing. This way is easy and cheap. Already had the nails, the bullets were made from automotive lead alloy wheelweights, and essentially cost me nothing more than a bit of time and electricity to make.

Montezuma, IA

03-05-2008, 09:30 PM
When ever I run into a problem I like to ask myself " Hoe can a firearm solve this problem?" My relaitive had a problem with a branch of an oak tree rubbing on his pole building. His ladder was not tall enough, and all he had was a dull saw. He lives out in the woods, so out came my 12GA. and three loads of bird shot later down came the 4" diameter branch. Gary P. Hansen

03-05-2008, 10:26 PM
Square nails penetrate concrete as well as round nails do wood.

03-05-2008, 11:03 PM
Hello 38 Cal,

Nailing a plate to cured/hardened concrete can be a toll.
Drilling with a carbide drill would certainly be a first choice but alas, as you say, a drill may not be at hand.
A first thought when buying your cut nails is to get the 3" lengths. This is generally fine given the fact you are sinking them into green concrete usually at 24" O.C.
It is not the intention of these nails to absolutely lock your plate to the floor but merely to insure no lateral movement of the wall heal.
Driving them into hardened concrete most often will result in a bent shank.
This is also true when using a Hilti. The difference noted, as a cut nail will bend above and below a plate being installed, the Hilti's will bend under the plate and in the plate itself.

A tip that may help you:
A concrete nail really needs only to penetrate 1/2". If the bottom plate is 1.5" thick you may have better luck using a 2" cut nail instead of the 3".
To insure lateral shear of such nails space them at 12 O.C. and use moderate
hammering when installing instead of the "WACK AND BLOW" method.
As the 2" nail is driven into the plate, the thickness of the plate itself lends support to the cut nail shank before encountering the concrete.

Best of luck,


03-06-2008, 12:08 AM
Thanks for the advice, Patch. Living out in the wilds of Iowa, some items are hard to come by. Our local hardware store in town had no concrete nails at all, the one ten miles away only had fluted round shank ones. Didn't care to drive another fifteen miles or more each way on the chance that I could find the cut nails. On the other hand, I only have to go three miles to my buddy's place for his 100 and 200 yard rifle ranges, or to murder Bambi's big brother, or his tasty sister, in season!

Montezuma, IA

03-06-2008, 02:16 AM
Somewhere in America some greenie is reading this thread and trying to find the lead-poisoned shop floor you have created. You may be able to placate them by installing CFL lamps everywhere (ignore the mercury behind that curtain).

That aside, I like the idea. I've tried to put wood frames in my garage to hang drywall on and the walls seem to be pure riprap with marble-sized agate stone in it.

Ian B
03-06-2008, 03:49 AM

Do you have any photo's of your buddy's tasty sister? :-)


03-06-2008, 12:07 PM
Ian, cut me a break! I'm multilingual, and sometimes mix up my languages...English, bad English and gibberish! <VBG>

Montezuma, IA