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Dating square 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.

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How to Identify the Age of Furniture by the 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. 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.

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 rod , 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.

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. 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. 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. 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. You should not find tiny filled in nail holes which are generally a sign that modern round headless finishing nails have been used.

A few replaced nails are probably honest repairs and can actually enhance a pieces' claim to legitimate and normal wear and help authenticate age. Wholesale replacement or nails mismatched to their original function are a warning sign of potential problems. The condition of the wood surrounding nail heads and nail holes can provide additional clues about age. Early forged nails are a type of wrought iron with very low amounts of carbon typically about 3 to 4 per cent.

This type of iron has a very high resistance to corrosion. That's why wrought iron was used for early architectural features like balcony railings, gates and other pieces meant to be used outdoors. In addition to the low carbon, forged nails are also somewhat protected by the fire scale which forms on the surface as a result of being heated in the fire.

The high resistance to corrosion is due to how low carbon iron oxidizes, or rusts. When exposed, it develops a black rust Fe 3 0 4 that does not flake off. This stable film of rust actually prevents further corrosion by keeping oxygen away from the underlying metal. This rust is typical of most new cast iron reproductions. Knowing how iron corrodes and what colors of rust are formed, helps us tell what types of nails were used even if the original nail is missing.

When an early wrought iron nail corrodes, or rusts, it leaves a black stain in the wood around the nail hole. The extent and penetration of discoloration caused by either type of rust depends on the type of wood and where a piece has been used or stored. Some woods, like oak, have very strong natural acids and tend to produce deeply saturated stains.

Be sure that the condition of the nail matches the surrounding wood. It is a common practice for forgers to combine old wood and old hardware--including nails--from several genuinely old derelict pieces to make one "good" piece. If the wood around the nail head is blackened, then the nail should be blackened too.

Removing a rusty nail from rust-free wood is a danger signal that should cause immediate suspicion. You should never base your evaluation of a piece on one piece of evidence alone. The presence of hand forged nails is not a guarantee of age by itself. Analyzing nails, nail holes and the type of nails used in various locations is just one step in gathering information upon which to base your decision of age and condition. Early forged nails salvaged from old pieces and modern reproductions shaped like early nails are easily obtained.

A healthy skepticism is your best defense against a fake. Sold as "collector's items". Look for hand hammered surfaces, irregular heads and shanks. As the tip of the nail passes, cells spring back putting pressure on the nail B. This pressure holds the nail in place and makes it difficult to withdraw. Heads were formed by hammering to complete the finished nail D. Flat head common nails top and bottom are for general use; modern finishing nail, center.

They are the round head , a general purpose nail and the flat T- head used as a finishing nail in cabinetry and other detailed pieces. Such a seam would never appear in a hand forged nail or a machine cut nail with forged head. Notice rough gritty surface texture instead of hammered surface on forged nails. Shown about 3X actual size. This example shown about 3X actual size. In general, virtually all cast nails are of recent manufacture. Large arrow shows black stain where original nail was for many years.

Large arrow points to blackened area left by early original nail. These new nails are cast in molds. Look for mold seams and grinding marks which never appear on authentic early nails. These were at first made entirely by hand. Later, a machine cut the flat shanks and the heads were formed by hand. Confirm Close. Nails as clues to age By Mark Chervenka. Nails as clues to age Most everyone knows that handmade nails are older than machine made nails. How nails work Nails, modern or antique, are able to be used as fasteners because of the cellular structure of wood on the microscopic level.

The Humble Nail – A Key to Unlock the Past

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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.

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.

Antique Square Cut Nails

Looking at antique furniture, we often seek clues for authenticity and age. There are many factors that show true historic construction, but one clue that is often overlooked is the type of nail used to hold the piece together. Nails in antique furniture are often barely noticeable, but they are another key to unlock the history of wooden pieces. The quest for the ideal nail has taken centuries of development. The ancient Egyptians and Romans used organic glue for wood furniture, especially with decorative veneer techniques, but like much advanced technology, glue for wood became a lost art after the collapse of Rome in until the Renaissance, around , when glue and veneer techniques reappeared. During the Middle Ages, furniture was held together with pegs, dovetails, mortise and tenon joints and a few nails. Archaeologists have found hand made bronze nails from as far back as BC. The Romans made many of their nails from iron, which was harder, but many ancient iron nails have rusted away since.

Square nails dating. Using Nails to Date a Site

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.

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

We at House of Antique Hardware remain open to receive and ship orders. Our Customer Service team is available to answer any questions you may have. Due to state shelter-in-place regulations, you may experience delays in the shipping of your order. As we navigate this unprecedented situation, we continue our goal of providing an exceptional customer experience.

Date Nails

Briefly, a date nail is a nail with the date stamped in its head. For example, a nail with a "41" is from Date nails were driven into railroad ties, bridge timbers, utility poles, mine props, and other wooden structures for record keeping purposes. I concentrate primarily on the nails used by railroads.


Nails have been used in art, such as the —a form of fundraising common in Germany and Austria during. Black staining appears where an original iron nail was in place for many years, with additional rust staining if it was replaced by a newer nail. Because of the large amounts of energy used to produce aluminum siding and increasing raw materials costs, aluminum siding declined in popularity in the U. Watch out: early vinyl siding suffered from weathering, cracking, impact damage, and buckling from heating. Early forged nails are a type of wrought iron with very low amounts of carbon typically about 3 to 4 per cent. For example, in addition to antique window hardware, take a look at the window glass type, window dimensions and regularity of dimensions of similar windows in the same building , and the construction of window sashes with or without through-cut muntins.

All about nails…

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 or pneumatic nail gun. A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally.

They used some date nails that had a square or diamond shaped head to indicate the tie had not been treated. They also used a nail with a pentagon shaped.

А у Росио. Капельки Росы. Лицо мужчины из мертвенно-бледного стало красным.

Нет! - отрезала.  - Не думаю, что он знал, что имеет дело с вирусом. Я думаю, он был введен в заблуждение. Бринкерхофф молчал.

Но вот туфли - совсем другое. Даже во время учебы в колледже она старалась покупать самую лучшую обувь. Нельзя дотянуться до звезд, если чувствуешь себя ущемленной, - сказала как-то ее тетушка.  - И если уж попала туда, куда стремилась, постарайся выглядеть на все сто.

Нельзя было даже оглянуться: такси остановится в любой момент и снова начнется стрельба.

Хоть что-нибудь, - настаивал Беккер. - Немец называл эту женщину… Беккер слегка потряс Клушара за плечи, стараясь не дать ему провалиться в забытье. Глаза канадца на мгновение блеснули. - Ее зовут… Не отключайся, дружище… - Роса… - Глаза Клушара снова закрылись. Приближающаяся медсестра прямо-таки кипела от возмущения.

Некоторые идеи о протоколах вариативных фильтров и квадратичных остатках. - Стопроцентный бестселлер. Она засмеялась. - Сам удивишься. Дэвид сунул руку в карман халата и вытащил маленький предмет. - Закрой. У меня есть кое-что для .

Объектив, скользнув по огромной площади, показал полукруглый вход в севильский парк Аюнтамьенто. На переднем плане возникли деревья. Парк был пуст.

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