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IForgeIron Blueprints
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BP0189 Nails
by Glenn Conner
Video by Kevin Conner
Post production by Chris Conner



Nail headers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. This one is for use with 1/4" stock.


Tapered from the bottom makes the top of the hole smaller and usually peels some sharp edges up under the head, tapered from the top helps to keep the stock from slipping thru by wedging it in place and makes the cooled nail easier to release from the header.





Take a piece of 1/4" round stock and form a square taper the length of the nail that is needed.. Using half blows while turning quarter turns working on two sides over the sharp edge of the anvil also makes a shoulder to start the head and keep it from squeezing down thru the header.


If the sharp point of the nail splits when pointing it. A few blows with the hammer, aimed at an angle on the off edge of the anvil will make a short sharp point and will stop the splitting when drawing the rest of the nail body out.





While still at a black heat, make sure the nail body is straight then use a cut off hardy and ring the stock above the taper leaving enough material to form the nail head. Cut almost but not all the way through (I try to leave maybe 1/8" diameter remaining) and take another heat . Usually I leave 1/2 - 1/3" of stock to form the head. (Note - when cutting or ringing the stock without enough heat remaining in the metal, the nail may just pop off if you are not careful.)





The metal was let cool to show the taper and the ring that will release the nail when twisted.





You want a good bit of heat in the metal to release the nail from the parent stock. Insert the tapered stock into the header and twist, the nail will twist off from the parent stock. (Note - Make sure you don't lay the hot piece you twisted off where you or an onlooker can grab the hot end.)





The stock should be rather perpendicular to the header before your first hammer blow.





Flatten the stock and form the nail head. I was taught there was no need to make a nail with a plain head, be creative and use the last 5 hammer blows at N, S, E, W, and once on the top, for a 5 flat nail head. I quench the nail in water at this point to both harden it a bit and to shrink it so it falls out of the header.



Your finished nail.



Click here to see the video of the process, About 2 megs in size and 1 minute run time.



Take a modern round large nail and look at the point very close, you will notice that two of the corners stick out and are sharp and the other two aren't , the sharp edges are to cut across the grain, also notice the serrations under the head, they are in relation to the point, so you can feel the nail is in the right position without looking at the point. All nails have this orientation. (Note - Cutting across the wood fibers helps prevent splitting of the wood.)




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Glenn and Kevin thanks alot for this!!! I should be home in the morning early and nails are on my list of things to make first. I cant wait to try this.... Now to find a blueprint on here for a nail header haha. Also Glenn thanks for telling my wife about these. I didnt know all of these were here until she told me. Great resource and a good time killer I have been sitting in this truck since 8am this morning. Gotta love the oil field!

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I try to make a couple of nails every time I fire up the forge. Since I'm not smithing every day, it's a great way to get my brain back in the game. 

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yup nails are a fun thing. even when I am smithing everyday all day like this past summer I would most time start the day off with a couple nails or an S-hook. just small mindless things that let you think about other stuff, and let your fire heat up. The thing about nails and me, is that I just cant make 1-2, I have to make like 20! i just keep going till my bar is to short to hold bare handed most times. I use them to hang up things in my shop and hand them out at fairs for free.

                                                                                                                    Littleblacksmith 

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Yeah Tommie wants to be able to make his own. He builds a lot of things and goes through a lot of nails. His most recent is our rabbit hutches. Another step toward self reliance.

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Ok, you will probably want them made from 3/16" round, bigger may split the wood too bad.

                                                                         Littleblacksmith 

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I built a nail header that works with the heavy steel wire they use to ship bundles of rebar with (not rebar tie wire!).  It's very soft and about 3/16" and often free from places that sell rebar.  I did buy a pickup load for about US$20 once; still have a pile of it.  

An easy punch to make a sq tapered hole can be made by grinding down a cut masonry nail to square...

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Thanks for all the replies fellas! Going into town later and will see about picking up a few masonry nails. And some 3/16 wire and some more hot rolled mild.

Edited by Tommie Hockett
Typos.... fat thumbs haha

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