Lie-Nielsen’s shipment of Rivierre die-forged nails have arrived in Maine and the company has started to sell the nails on its website here.
I ordered one box of each size and style to take a look at the blued finish and the hammered-head variants. (Previously all the Rivierre nails I’ve used were black and had the diamond heads.) Yes, I paid full retail. All the nails are very nice. The blue is nice and dark – almost black. The difference is subtle and is something most casual observers would overlook (in other words: either is fine).
If you are looking for a good assortment to begin with, here are some guidelines:
30mm nails: Fastening 3/8”-thick stuff.
35mm to 40mm nails: Fastening 1/2”-thick stuff.
50mm to 55mm nails: Fastening 3/4”-thick stuff.
You’ll probably use 35mm and 40mm nails more than the other sizes. That’s because they are ideal for cabinet backs and bottoms. And once you reduce the thickness of a 3/4” cabinet side to 1/2” for a dado or rabbet, you’ll grab a 35mm or 40mm nail for that joint as well.
In general, the longer the nail, the more fastening power it provides, but the extra length also makes the fastener more likely to split the work or bend to follow the grain. The good news is that these nails are robust and don’t tend to follow the grain much (I have yet to have one wander, which is a significant concern with softer cut nails).
It took a long time for Lie-Nielsen to get these nails, so if you order I would err on the side of ordering a few extra boxes (nails don’t go bad – like chicken).
Here again is the link to the Lie-Nielsen part of the site for nails.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. For our Aussie readers, watch the Henry Eckert website. They are working on getting Rivierre nails below the Equator.