Good nails are hard to find.
While I would love to use blacksmith-nails all day and every day, my customers aren’t willing to pay $1.35 per nail. So I use Tremont cut nails, which are about one-fifth the cost of a homemade nail – a 6d “wrought” nail with a head is about 22 cents. That’s still expensive, but cheaper than handmade.
But the Tremont wrought head nails are covered in black oxide, a fact that I’ve blogged about before and have offered dangerous solutions to fix (hydrogen chloride). (Edit: Not all the Tremonts are covered in black oxide; but the one with the “wrought head” are.) Why can’t I have a plain steel nail with a nice head?
Turns out that I can.
Dictum in Germany has been carrying a variety of excellent blued-steel nails that are forged (using dies) and have square-tapered shanks. I received my first shipment from Dictum today (it took only three days to get the order) and I am more than impressed.
These nails, which I recently encountered in England, are awesome. They are plain blued steel. They look way better than the Tremonts (sorry Tremont, but it is true), and they hold like crazy. Oh, and they are less expensive.
A 6d (50mm) nail from Dictum is about 6 cents a nail (plus shipping). Order a bunch to save on shipping. You will not regret it.
Most woodworkers will need only two or three sizes of nails to do most work. The 50mm nail is used for nailing together carcases – chests and the like. Dictum sells these for €6.30 for 100 nails (plus shipping).
For nailing 1/2”-thick backs and bottoms in place, you should get the 30mm or 40mm nails (30mm for hardwoods; 40mm for softwoods). Dictum sells the 40mm nails for €6.40 for 100. The 30mm nails are €4.80 per 100.
These are great nails at a great price, even if you include the shipping. And buying them rewards a nail-making company that has been doing it the hard way for a long time.
OK, back to editing stuff.
— Christopher Schwarz