Parker-Kalon ("P-K") Hardened Masonry Nails, 2" x 1/4" Reviews

Parker-Kalon ("P-K") Hardened Masonry Nails, 2" x 1/4"

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Parker-Kalon (P-K) Nails: Like Brushing your Hair with a Cheese Grater!

Apr 23, 2011
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Cheaper than Mag Nails (In some cases) and acceptable as a survey point.

Cons:Weak, cheaper, break easily, rust, and overall pain in the neck

The Bottom Line: You "could" use PK nails, or you "could" brush your head with a cheese grater. Get Mag Nails seriously...

Construction, Surveying, and Engineering are closely related and could not survive without one another as a profession.  So it is important to have the tools to complete any task in a correct professional manner.  That is why over my 10 years of using different types of tools and products I've found something's just work better than others.  While advancements are made in the products and services we use, the older models typically phase out, or play catch up.  I've taken some information from my previous review regarding Mag Nails to compare and contrast the differences in quality, cost, usability, and overall performance. 

PK Nails at a Glance (Borrowed from my Mag Review)
There are many different tasks we could use PK nails in the field of surveying and construction for. 

Control Points
Most commonly used during a survey or for construction would be setting control.  This can be achieved by using a robotic total station or a GPS/VRS unit.  Typically you would set the point in location to your liking and occupy it with a GPS unit, or it could be shot in using a set instrument like a robotic gun.  Once coordinates are set on the point you could move and occupy this as a known point. Since the PK nails have a dimple or depression in the center of the nail's head it is very easy to occupy this using a survey rod and elevation can be check or set with a leveling rod in the future.  Don't forget to ribbon up the nail and spray some paint around it so you can find it again!

Construction offsets
During construction many surveyors will set offsets to points because the original location or centerline of points will typically be where construction is taking place.  Critical points include offsetting curb, manholes, underground pipes, building corners, and so on.  If I was setting manholes in an existing pavement parking lot I would set a centerline of manhole point, then a 15' offset followed by a 25' offset in a straight line with painted instructions to the cut/fill for the manholes Rim and Invert elevations according to the engineering plans provided.  This concept could potentially work for a situation involving proposed waterline underneath a road, where I would set nails online or where the waterline was purposed but also pull offsets so when the road was being dug up the contractor could use my offsets to reestablish the original center points.

Property & Boundary
This is another example of a situation where PK nails may be used.  Let us say a Farmers property goes to the centerline of a road near and it then follows said centerline until it reaches the corner of his lot.  This would be an example where we could use PK nails to set points along the road to depict his property.  Although PK nails may not be the most permanent type of boundary point, they are called out and accepted on surveys as such.

Cross Ties & Benchmarks
Another common use for PK nails in the field of surveying would be setting cross ties to critical points and benchmarks for future purposes of construction.  If you set a permanent monument in say the center of the road depicting a section corner or boundary, you could potentially set several cross ties to reestablish that point in the future using PK nails.  A Benchmark is a vertical reference to elevation previously established for a survey using a level or possible GPS system.  Most benchmarks like control are established for future reference concerning a construction project or topographic survey to be completed.   PK nails do a good job of establishing these points as they create a semi-permanent point of reference for the surveyor to use at his or her discretion. 

Personal Experience (Comparison to my Mag Review )
I think by now the cliché saying of "You get what you pay for, shouldn't even be mentioned," however that is truly the case with PK nails.  The nails themselves run a bit less expensive than the mag nails I currently use for my surveying projects.  Even though they call out "Masonry nails" PK's have been in every survey shop I've visited for the last 10 years and sold as such.  These nails are not strongly magnetic, so finding them with a metal detector is nearly impossible, even though they are comprised of metal, the size makes them difficult to find.  Since the nails do not have a protective zinc coating they rust and corrode almost in days, making it impossible to visually see them on a black top surface like a road.  One a road is resurfaced with oil; the nails become invisible so if we need to find them using a locator, it makes for a difficult task indeed.  However the biggest beef I have with PK nails is the strength and durability of the nail overall.  When striking the nail into a hard surface, it has a tendency to bend and buckle under each blow, making it nearly impossible to pound it in straight.  If you are lucky enough to get the nail to go in straight then you have the problem with the actual head of the nail separating from the shaft of the nail and basically breaking and becoming worthless. Once a nail breaks, removing it can be an awful time consuming messy situation, as you typically need to break out the chisel and rip up road to remove the remainder of the point.  I can honestly say my experience with PK nails was never a good one. 

Sizes (Similar to my Mag Review)

The sizes range from smaller nails to more custom size larger nails, the particular model I've been discussing and using for the purpose of this review is the 2" x ¼".  We use the smaller nails as the costs are less and are about 15-20 bucks for a box of 100.  I have however used many different sizes and types over the years.

Surveyor Says?!
Since you can read, I'm assuming you've come to the "shocking" conclusion that I do not recommend Parker-Kalon Nails for surveying purposes because of the inferior quality, weak performance, and quick corrosion.  Furthermore difficulty finding these points in the future will frustrate the people looking for them and waste precious project resources reestablishing these critical points.  If you set it right the first time there would be no need to reset it again.  Keeping in mind both Mag and PK nails are subject to the same problems of people removing asphalt, being hit by a snow plow, or just removed by an unknown assailant.  Even though I do not recommend PK nails, they can serve a purpose if you had them lying around in the manners discussed earlier and be held to the same standards and callouts as any critical point set by a land surveyor as far as the profession itself is concerned. 

Thank you for reading and a special thanks to dlstewart, our hardworking lead in Home & Garden who took the time to add this product for me. Thanks Dawn ^_^

Want to learn more about Surveying, Construction and Engineering?  Check out my other informative equipment reviews!

Additional Survey Equipment Reviews
Estwing Hammers
How to Read and Use a Standard 25' Engineering/Surveying Leveling Rod
How to Read a 10' English System Surveyors Linker Rod
Understanding Survey Field Paint Markings
Understanding how to Correctly use a Tribrach

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