Use of Wrought-Iron Nails in Fine Woodworking

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Giles 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #555300

    Steve Giles
    Participant

    Hi,

    I just bought some hand-made wrought iron nails on a whim and can’t wait to incorporate them into a project of some sort. Each one is like a little work of art. lol I’m having trouble imagining where the use of nails would be appropriate in the kind of woodwork projects featured on this site though. Seems that good joinery obviates the need for nails.

    Can anyone help me out? I work mainly in pine, which seems would suit using nails from a visual standpoint at least.

    Cheers,

    Steve

    #555320

    YrHenSaer
    Participant

    Wrought nails were a feature in 16th / 17th century British joinery. Much of it in those days was in Oak as opposed to pine, but it was very effective as a lot of it is still with us after 300 years.
    One problem with using iron in contact with Oak is that there will likely be a reaction with the tannic acids in Oak, but that should not happen with pine.

    A legacy in the New World were the skills taken to New England, particularly as many skilled craftsmen transferred their skills there during and after the Civil Wars.
    There is an extensive blog that explores that style of joinery written by Peter Follansbee;
    https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/
    It has been on line for a number of years and if you explore backwards you will find references to wrought nails in his work – as well as other skills.
    Hope that it helps….

    #555322

    Steve Giles
    Participant

    Yes, very helpful. Thank you.

    #555323

    YrHenSaer
    Participant

    I omitted to mention that the Arts and Crafts movement (and Mission Style) used wrought metal work to great effect; iron hinges with wrought staples, copper and bronze.

    It depends on the visual quality of the hammer-work on the heads of your nails whether you feel confident using them as an addition to your work……..
    Good luck

    #555324

    Steve Giles
    Participant

    The heads look very good. I have included a photo, but it doesn’t really show the four hammered facets on each nail-head.

    I’m familiar with Mission Oak furniture (Stickley, etc), having collected it when I lived in the USA. Beautiful hardware as you mentioned. It was usually copper, IIRC.

    BTW, I’m working my way through that blog you linked to. Loads of interesting stuff, and I haven’t even got to anything about nails yet…

    Steve

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    #555326

    Steve Giles
    Participant

    I also found this old wrought-iron handle in my barn which will be a good match for the nails if I can think of a suitable project.

    A pine farmhouse kitchen table with a single drawer at one end springs to mind, but I’ll have a think about it.

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