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I Forge Iron

Rat Tail Screw


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Buy it at the Hardware Store. Cheapest.

If you have make it yourself, forge the threaded end, tapered square with sharp corners. To thread it, heat it evenly, quench the tip you are going to grab and use your Twisting Wrench to twist it COUNTER CLOCK-WISE quickly. Twisting this way will make a clock-wise thread.


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Wouldn't the twisting method make the metal prone to breakage?

I know how to cut machine screws with taps/dies, and have even done it on a lathe in my youth.  How do you cut wood screws?  Are there dies for that?

I would be happy with straight screws such as those on lagg bolts...but I am also curious about tapered screws too.

Thanks for your time!



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No, the twisting process shouldn't affect the metal strength... if done wrongly or to extreme it could though.  A tapered, hand forged nail or spike though is, IME, several times as hard to withdraw in wood as a similar sized screw of modern manufacture.  They are more comparable to ring-shanked nails in my opinion!  Further if even MORE holding power is desired (hard to imagine WHY) then a much easier way of doing it is to nick small barbs along the corners of the tapered, hand-forged, spike or nail!  Only places where I might consider doing this is where I might be hanging something weighty in direct line with the fastener shank.

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Peter Ross at Colonial Williamsburg had some antique dies that were impressed to make lag screw threads in one hit.  The work was forged to an approximate taper then placed in the dies and finished with one swat.  I'm sure a little bit of flash occurred but probably not enough to worry about with regard to function and the period smiths may have employed a "grunt" to finish the threads by filing.

I'd bet someone could use a modern lag to create the dies then have something to make hooks and such.

Edited by HWooldridge
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