Haven’t had much shop time these last few days due to the rains associated with hurricane Delta. Perhaps soon, I’ll have enough sunshine to start the mortise and tenon work on my joint stool. Taking advantage of the downtime, I managed to replenish a few shop supplies. Nails in particular!
Although I utilize dovetails and mortise and tenon joints a lot, I use nails on my 17th-century boxes. From time to time, I might use wooden pegs, but for the most part, it’s nails. The use of nails was quite common in the 1600s, and using them today adds another level of detail to my carved boxes. But not any old rusty nail will do!
There is a great deal written about antique nails. Enough so, it will make your head spin. “Wrought nails must look like this.” “Cut nails are not the right look for period work.” “If not hammered by the village smithy under a spreading chestnut tree…” Blah blah blah! Well, here’s what I have to say about that. I’m sure you will agree that anything made by hand will differ in appearance from hand to hand. I do not have ready access to a blacksmith, nor do I want to take up the art. With that said, I find that Tremont Nail Company nails, although cut nails, solve the problem and eliminate all the angst!
To date, I have used but three different Tremont nails. Not only do they look great, but they all seem to have phenomenal holding power. What else is there?
I use the wrought head hails (and sometimes the box nail) for carcase assembly. I use the box nail for attaching box bottoms and hinges. The headless brads or “sprigs” are great for reinforcing joints on drawers, attaching trim, and various repairs.
Now, putting erudite scholarship aside, I would be willing to bet that somewhere along the way, some village smithy hammered out a nail that looked just like one of these. Your thoughts?