I’ve seen wrought nails made by a blacksmith. Cut nails made by a steel-gobbling machine. And wire nails snipped from enormous coils. But I don’t think I’ve seen nails that have been “stamped.”
I think “stamped” is the right word. I could be wrong.
Paul Mayon of the New English Workshop procured these nails for the two tool chest classes I’m teaching at Warwickshire College this month. Paul looked for traditional clout nails like the ones made by Tremont in the United States, but he came up empty.
These stamped nails are unusual in they look to be die-cut from a sheet of steel, like a cookie cutter. So in one important way, they are much like a cut nail: In one dimension the point of the nail has parallel sides; in the other dimension the point is wedge-shaped.
However, the nails have not been run through a “header” machine, which is like a giant hammer that “upsets” the end of the nail to create a roundish head. This head is what gives clout nails (and other headed nails) their holding power when fastening backs and bottoms to cabinets and chests.
So the heads on these nails extend out in one dimension only. Also unusual: The heads have an additional miniature head on top. I assume that this little head allows you to set the head of the nail below the surface of the wood when using a nail set that is designed for wire nails (if so, it’s a clever idea and works).
In use, these nails seem to bite properly, and the heads deform the wood at times, much like the splintering you’ll get with clout nails. I have no idea how these stamped nails will hold over the long term – perhaps an English reader can let us know in the comments section below.
— Christopher Schwarz