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I Forge Iron

How they measure nails, pennyweight, d etc

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In current usage in the United States, a 2d nail is 1 inch long. Each 1d increase is a ¼ inch increase in length up to 12d. A sixteen-penny nail is a ¼ inch longer than 12d, and the remaining sizes, beginning with 20d, are multiples of 10 and are each ½ inch longer than the preceding size.

In England before about 1488 the penny size was the price in pennies of 100 nails of that size. The hundred was the great hundred, 120, not 100. However, the penny system had already become purely conventional before Queen Elizabeth's time, because we find in merchants' books entries like 100 4d nails for 3 pence, 300 3d nails for 7½ pence, and so on. “By 1573 'sixpenny nail' sold in fact for 3½d per hundred.

The nail should always be about three times as long as the thickness of the wood through which it is driven. Nails are normally driven through a thinner piece of wood and into a thicker one. This allows 2/3 of the nail to provide holding power in the thick piece of wood.

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