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InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. Here we describe antique and modern cut nails focusing on tree nails, wrought nails, and cut nails used in wood frame construction or interior finishing or carpentry work. We include useful dates for the manufacture of different nail types along with supporting research for various countries from Australia and the U. The history, number and types of nails is both interesting and enormous, even if we confine our discussion to just those used in the construction of buildings. Little Flask was one of the wrought ones; made to clinch tight and last long.

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Example: ask when plaster was first used in the area where your hand wrought or cut wood-lath nails were used. Early small nails: - Blanchard Tack Making Machine - Is the head round and flat modernround and hammered antique to modernor obviously irregular and hand-wrought? Is the shank obviously hand wrought with hammer marks? Is the nail shank obviously cut with straight or straight-tapered sides?

If the nail or spike was cut, are the cut marks on diagonally opposite sides of the nail?

How old are these square head nails?

The type of cutting can set the nail age. Illustration: splits in this antique nail probably indicate direction of its iron fibres - parallel to the shank dimension - discussed below.

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Antique cut-nails provided by an InspectApedia. The point or sharp tip on early cut nails and hand-wrought nails was often made by filing. Is the point on your nail symmetrical or irregular suggesting hand-sharpening? Photo: flat-hammered tip of a hand-wrought iorn spike.

Be sure you also review that article when looking at your own found nail or spike.

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From Colorado most likely, any thoughts? Has a long drive down the side. How interesting, Gabby. Rectangular shank, tapered neck under a large flat nail-head.

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What is the length of the nail? We found this old nail in a river and I haven't found any pictures and was wondering about its history as it seems unique.

A variation of the T-head, the L-head, is the same as a T-head but with half the head cut off. Cross sections of pre nails are generally square; shanks from are rectangular; modern shanks are round. The earliest forged nails are identified by their irregular shanks and hammer marks on both shanks and heads. The earliest-date of different styles of nails, hand-wrought nails, cut nails, machine cut nails, and machine made round or wire nails depends on the country where the nails were manufactured and for large countries like Australia, the U.S. or Canada, also on the spread of nail . The Mansfield, Massachusetts Tremont Nail company's historical notes (cited below) indicate that nails have been made (by hand) dating back to B.C. Nails in the s. The denomination of nail sizes based on the price per nails (e.g. ten penny nails or 10d nails) dates from the s.

A bit blurry Marlon, but that looks to me like a machine made cut nail or tack - that shape continues into modern production. However sometimes we can see a detail such as a split or fracture line in the iron of the nail that can date it as in the article above or a magnified view may show which side s of the nail bear cut or stamping burrs that can also identify a nail as modern or older.

Sorry but from just the photo I'm uncertain about any more detailed guess.

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Hi, I read the complete articule. Very interesting how nails contribute to know the age of a building as well, I think, a work of art. I have this painting that was stretched using the type of nails in the picture. Please advise. Thank you! Ole Really upsetting to everyone I'm sure about the fire. Maybe we should post a photo of the remains as a warning.

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Anyway, see what you can salvage. You may have seen that we've visited Norway and documented some of the historic buildings there. Certainly sorry to lose this one. Thanks a lot for the swift reply!

I am going to hand it over to the archaeological faculty for closer inspection, which means that I will lose it to the state of Norway if it's medieval, but I support that. The vee-splits certainly did do their job The spike was salvaged from the rubbles shortly before they were disposed of for good I'll let you know what the other experts say!

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Ole that's a very interesting spike - having those vee-shaped details along the spike shaft that would have been intended to resist withdrawal from wood. I suspect this is a fairly modern nail: a closer look is warranted but I don't see hand forging hammer marks.

The spike is probably too big to be a candidate for cut nail processes. Most everyone knows that handmade nails are older than machine made nails.

Mass. company only maker of square cut nails in U.S.

But could you identify a handmade nail if you saw one? And could you separate an old nail from a reproduction nail? In addition to looking at how old nails were made, this article will also discuss how to examine nail holes, rust left by nails plus where, how and why specific types and shapes of nails were used. Nails, modern or antique, are able to be used as fasteners because of the cellular structure of wood on the microscopic level.

As a nail is driven into wood, the tip of the nail pushes apart or crushes wood cells in its path Fig. When the tip of the nail passes, the cells spring back and try to resume their former positions. This applies pressure to the nail shank Fig. The principle is the same for all nails old or modern regardless of shape or how they were made.

Mathematical formulas can accurately predict the holding power of nails based on size of nail, depth nail is driven, and the species and moisture content of the wood. Nails have been in use since the beginning of the Bronze Age, ca.

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From that time to the beginning of the 19th century, ca. A nail cutting machine designed in the s cut the nail's shank and reduced hand labor to only forming the head of the nail. At the time of their introduction, these machine cut nails were sometimes referred to as "cold nails" because they were not made at the forge.

By the s, the entire nail was completely machine formed producing the rounded shank or wire nail that continues in use today. American hand wrought nails-those made entirely by hand or headed by hand-were done by metal workers specializing in nail-making as well as blacksmiths who made nails part time or to order. The work was hard and gave rise to an early expression, "to work like a nailer" used to describer any intense activity.

Most of these nails were formed from a nail ro a bar of iron available from iron mills close to the approximate size of the nail. Nail rods were at first imported by American nail makers from mills in England but later used bars made in the colonies. The first step in making a hand forged nail was to form the shank.

May 06,   You can still buy square nails - new or used. I keep a few around in a jar for fun. Otherwise = scrap. The truth is, while nail shape can give you some general idea about relative age (kitchen was built at a different time as the rest) they aren't conclusive. Hand-hammered nails, dating from the s or earlier, leave a square hole with an irregular impression at the top from a hammered head. Cut nails leave a more rectangular hole and around or rectangular head. Black staining appears where an original iron nail was in place for many years. Feb 03,   Item 2 & 6: appear to be machine cut square nails, dating from about the mid 19th Century through early 20th Century. Item 7: appears to be a tack, similar to those used in furniture of the 18th through 19th Century.

Next, the head was formed with a heading tool Figs. Early nails have two types of heads: a round head whose head is above the surface of the wood and used for general purpose fastening and a T-head whose head is driven below the surface and used for finish work. The forged round head nail is also called a rose head because the hammered head often resembles the petals on a rose.

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A variation of the T-head, the L-head, is the same as a T-head but with half the head cut off. Cross sections of pre nails are generally square; shanks from are rectangular; modern shanks are round.

Bottom: Two ? (8d) square-cut iron nails I extracted from a door jamb, causing an oyster shell to break free from surrounding plaster (oyster shells were used as thickeners in early plaster walls). Old Square Nails are Old. Hand-forged iron nails predate the ancient susanneill.comg: dating. So, if you desire to get all these outstanding pictures regarding (Dating Square Nails), click save link to save the graphics in your computer. They are all set for obtain, if you'd prefer and wish to get it, click save badge on the page, and it will be instantly downloaded to your computer. Dating a building with Nails. Before Hand-Wrought Nails; Early Machine Cut Nails (Crude) Early Machine Headed Cut Nails; Modern Machine Cut Nails (source of the illustration above: Thomas D Visser - "Nails: Clues to a Building's History" - See also his book "Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings").

The earliest forged nails are identified by their irregular shanks and hammer marks on both shanks and heads. When viewed from above, early round heads have a meandering outline that is anything but round.

Later machine cut shanks will still show hammering which was necessary to form the head. Fully machine-made nails used since the s have round shanks and round heads like those in Fig. Modern heads in particular are virtually always a nearly perfect circle. Reproductions of hand made nail shapes are currently being made by casting in a mold. Generally, this means along the shanks and across the heads.

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Rather than a broadly dimpled hammered surface, cast nails have a very gritty textured surface. Some late 19th century nails were cast but had very limited use.

In general, any nail with molds seams or grinding marks should be considered of recent manufacture. Some genuinely old cut nails with hand forged heads may have burrs along the edges of their shanks. These burrs should not be confused with grinding marks that appear in the middle of the shanks and heads. Looking at the holes left by the missing nails can provide valuable information.

The irregular forged heads of early nails, for example, leave an irregular impression in the wood. Perfectly round heads on modern wire nails leave an almost perfect circle impressed in the wood; early finishing T-heads leave a rectangular impression Figs. Irregular impressions from early round headed nails are correct in hidden or unseen places such as backs and sides of drawers, backs of cases, etc.

Finding rectangular impressions from early finishing head nails in those same locations is wrong -the small T-headed finishing nails were used in exposed areas. The explanation is often that genuinely old wood that at one time was visible has been used to repair, or entirely replace, the original wood, or that the entire piece is a totally made up. It either case, the types of nail head impressions can be a clue that the piece is, at the least, not original, and at the worst, a deliberate fake.

Pay particular attention to molding, trim and other exterior details. In these positions you should expect to find small T-head finishing nails driven flush with the surface on early furniture.

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