Dating square cut nails

Most everyone knows that handmade nails are older than machine made nails. 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.

Nail (fastener)

Here at Campus Archaeology we collect a lot of nails. They come in varying sizes and shapes, and can be found across the historic campus. Often nails found from the 19th century are coated with rust after years of sitting in the ground. This can make it difficult to determine their shape or construction. Regardless of how bad they are, we collect them all. One of the questions we get is whether we can actually learn anything from a nail.

Production of nails has varied throughout time, and changed drastically with industrialization. By looking at the shape of the nail and the way is was made we can determine the time period it is from. These were made one at a time by blacksmiths. A square iron rod would be heated, and the end shaped into a point on four sides. The rod was then reheated and the end was cut off. In order to create the head, the blacksmith would insert the nail into a hole in the anvil and flatten the top using glancing blows.

The earliest machine cut nails in a guillotine fashion, the taper formed by wiggling the bar back and forth. The head was added by hand, using a hammer and glancing blows to create it like the iron wrought nails. These are referred to as Cut Nail Type A. The machine flipped the bar after each cut in order to ensure even sides. The cutter was set to create a taper, rather than requiring human intervention. Finally, the machine gripped the cut nail and created a head. The entire production became a single automated process.

These are referred to as Cut Nail Type B. Distinguishing these types of nails requires knowledge of the process of construction. Type A have diagonal burrs due to the wiggling required to create the taper, whereas Type B is even on all sides since the metal was flipped on each stroke. The Type B nails are the most popular form throughout the 19th century. This is the first time that nails begin to have the round shafts that we are more accustomed to seeing.

The wire is fed into a machine that cuts it lengthwise, tapers the point and hammers the opposite end to create a head in one stage. Unlike previous machines requiring human aid or multiple steps, this is a single stage. These steel wire nails can be made much faster and cheaper. The question then is so what? Why do we care about nails? Since we can date nails so well they are helpful in determining the age of sites that we find.

If we discover a site with only Type A cut nails we know that it was likely an early farmstead dating before the university period. Type B cut nails tell us that it was probably one of the early campus buildings prior to the turn of the 20th century. It is also relevant because we know that students were in charge of constructing and maintaining the first campus buildings. Knowing what students worked with helps us better understand what it was like to be part of the early campus.

All About Nails. Appalachian Blacksmith Association. Do you have any helpful hints for first-time blog writers? What are really cool research projects guys have worked on in the past. I am someone that spent a lot of time doing metal detecting and often trying to figure out what time. I am in. I have found this very helpful if you are other like-minded people out there that would like to learn more I would be interested in talking to them please someone who can reply with her contact information if you have questions or want to collaborate on things that we have found.

I recently discovered two square sided unused steel nails inside the bench. I would like to mail you one or both of them in the hope that you could establish the century that it was made. I would provide return postage as I would like to return them to where they were found. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.

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Age of Antique Nails & Cut Nails Indicate Building Age the date of production and use of each of those three general nail types. .. These nails were known as cut nails or square nails because of their roughly rectangular cross section. 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 .

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When dating a piece of antique furniture, one of the most important clues to its history is often overlooked.

Clues to a Building's History Thomas D. Visser Hand-wrought nail, before circa Type A cut nail, circa ss Type B cut nail, circa ss Wire nail, circa s to present Nails provide one of the best clues to help determine the age of historic buildings, especially those constructed during the nineteenth century, when nail-making technology advanced rapidly. Until the last decade of the s and the early s, hand-wrought nails typically fastened the sheathing and roof boards on building frames.

Dating a House Site With Nails – Dating a Building With Nails

Most of us are familiar with the old square nails used centuries ago. What many of us are unaware of, however, is that those old nails were actually superior in design to modern wire nails. They have several times the holding power, and are less likely to cause wood to split. And perhaps even less well known is the fact that square nails are still manufactured today. They are even available in bulk quantities.

how old are square nails

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. An examination of nails and fasteners and other building hardware is a complimentary effort useful in determining the age of a building and its components. A close observation of the type of fasteners used in a building is one of the most popular means of estimating its age. The three types of nails found in North American construction include hand wrought nails, machine cut nails, modern round "wire" nails. Nelson NPS and other nail chronologists point out, however that a wealth other details can describe the date of production and use of each of those three general nail types.

In the age of everything is edwards, old barn furniture dating of the fred b. Functional square nails:

Return Home Showroom Search for Nails. Looking at antique furniture, we often seek clues for authenticity and age.

Do It Together

These old-style square cut nails are made in the USA from solid steel and are the perfect finishing touch for face nailing floors, or for nailing fences, siding, paneling or cabinets. Ideal for authentic restoration work. Square-Cut Common Nails. Square-Cut Common Rosehead Nails. Square-Cut Fire Door Nails. Square-Cut Clinch Rosehead Nails. Square-Cut Hardened Masonry Nails. Sign Up For Special Offers. Call Now Toll Free: Antique Square Cut Nails These old-style square cut nails are made in the USA from solid steel and are the perfect finishing touch for face nailing floors, or for nailing fences, siding, paneling or cabinets. Square-Cut Flooring Nails. Square-Cut Fine Finish Nails.

All about nails…

Here at Campus Archaeology we collect a lot of nails. They come in varying sizes and shapes, and can be found across the historic campus. Often nails found from the 19th century are coated with rust after years of sitting in the ground. This can make it difficult to determine their shape or construction. Regardless of how bad they are, we collect them all. One of the questions we get is whether we can actually learn anything from a nail. Production of nails has varied throughout time, and changed drastically with industrialization.

In woodworking and construction , a nail is a small object made of metal or wood, called a tree nail or "trunnel" which is used as a fastener , as a peg to hang something, or sometimes as a decoration. Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. The most common is a wire nail. Other types of nails include pins , tacks , brads , spikes , and cleats. Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer , a pneumatic nail gun , or a small explosive charge or primer. A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally. The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent pulling out.

Nails provide one of the best clues to help determine the age of historic buildings, especially those constructed during the nineteenth century, when nail-making technology advanced rapidly. Until the last decade of the s and the early s, hand-wrought nails typically fastened the sheathing and roof boards on building frames. These nails were made one by one by a blacksmith or nailor from square iron rod. After heating the rod in a forge, the nailor would hammer all four sides of the softened end to form a point. The pointed nail rod was reheated and cut off. Then the nail maker would insert the hot nail into a hole in a nail header or anvil and form a head with several glancing blows of the hammer. The most common shape was the rosehead; however, broad "butterfly" heads and narrow L-heads also were crafted.

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