Here’s a trick an old carpenter showed me after watching me drive 16d galvanized casing nails, overhead, into 2×6 vertical-grain fir. I had just missed the nailhead, producing a deep hammer track in the board, and I was about to turn the air blue with a few choice phrases when he showed me how to make a cheater. He took a shim shingle and cut a lengthwise slot into the middle of the butt end. Once he had started the nail, he slipped the kerfed shingle around the shank of the nail, as shown, and invited me to hammer away. After that, when I missed the nail, the shingle took the hit, not the trim.
—Jeff Head, Port Angeles, WA
Edited and illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #17