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JW513

What could I make out of old cut nails?

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I'm currently taking a 9 week 27 hour blacksmithing course.... A little backstory.....My father, brother and I (we own a construction company) are currently renovating a house built in the 1870s-1890s... A REAL nice house in its day... Anyways by chance, my great grandparents owned it in the 50s-70s..  It was going to be torn down,  they had land, so they moved it across the street and turned it into a boarding house., my grandpa even did the foundation.. He was mason. Anyways, I saw video Joey Van Der Steeg put out where he forged nails into a steel bar. 

I'm collecting all the old cut nails I  can find/pull... Must have a 100 right now. They may be wrought iron, but I'm not sure. I think they are machine made, but they are very old. Once I have more practice and if its feasible iI'd  like made something out of them, especially because of the family history with the house. I may not do it for 2 years, or maybe it will be sooner.. or later. It depends on my skill level.  I'm just curious if what I want to do, is worth the effort. 

 

Thanks

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If they are wrought iron you can make all sort of small trinkets and key fobs out of them, give them a bath in vinegar to etch out the wrought grain for cool factor.  If they are modern steel but thick you can do the same but not get the cool grain...or if they are thicker you have a lifetime supply of rivet stock.

You could always straighten them and neaten them up and resell them as vintage nails for those people who want purely traditional jobs done.

practicing forge welding with them is a good idea too.

Remember to keep your eyes out for hardware and other metalwork!

Lou

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1870's-1890's is right in the middle of the change over from real wrought iron to mild steel; so they could be either or some of each---given that they are not modern masonry nails.  Machine made cut nails could be either as nail making machines predate the invention of the Bessemer/Kelly process.

If they are wrought, etching them and assembling them into small crosses might be a popular item.

Saving them for mounting hand forged ironwork to your house is a suggestion.

If it's worth doing---that's up to you.  I've seen horse shoes forged welded from bailing wire; a knife made from lathe swarf, forge welded chainmail, ...Many people may do a "bragging piece" that is all out of proportion for the effort to the result.

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9 hours ago, ThomasPowers said:

there was no need to quote the entire previous post

I want to do it, because of the family history and the for the practice. I'm not even sentimental type,  but i think it would be cool. ... My grandparents owned it for 30 years. My grandfather put the foundation for the house in after they moved it. I'm also pulling up an old floor original to the house, I'm going to de nail those and save those nails too. 

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I would do something that preserves the look of the nail, not forge weld them into a nondescript bar.

 

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the gun doc is right,always preserve a piece of the past,an old mate of mine did restoration work on Norfolk island of the coast of Australia in the eighties,it was notorious in history for being a convict island and not a lot of convicts survived,he bought back some amazing nails forged by convict smiths,these plus others proudly displayed on a board,never forget the past

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I have heard Blacksmiths used to make nails when work was slack, then when stock needed was not at hand to put Them back together again. Just doing what needs must. Your are only limited by Your imagination.

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