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Nails and Rivets

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? for all you gentlesmiths out there.I've read a couple of books about blacksmithing and would like to get some more instruction on making nails and rivets. I guess I really don't understand what a header is and how to make it work, if anyone could explain what the header is and what it looks like and how it is supossed to work I'd sure appreciate it

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Glenn I will look thru my records and see if I still have my nail header demo and then it can be presented as a BP.

There are many different methods of making nail headers. My way is some what more work to make than some but it is a good way so you can make one header head and many different nail 'dies' that can be inserted.
But simply a nail header is a tool that will have a square tapered hole for the nail stock to go into . It will have a domed top with the square hole centered in it. the taper on the hole will be smaller at the top and wider at the bottom to allow for the nail to release. I usually dril a small pilot hole then use a square punch of the correct size to make it square and tapered.

The nail process is you take nail stock ( 1/4 square usually) and make a sholder on the stock on two sides this should size is going to dependent on how thick you want the nail to be ( or the smae size as the nail header hole)
Then draw down the stock from the shoulder and then form the point. Then reheat ( you can do this first part in one heat , and after a while you can do the whole nail in one heat.) But then take a 2nd heat and abour 1/8 to 1/4 inch above the shoulder cut almost thru the nail and then if the head is still pretty hot a goo red or better then insert into header and break off and then hammer the head on ( over pritchel works best. I do 5 hits on top center to set the nail then 4 hits to make the 'rose' pattern. One far side of smith at an angle and the same on left right and near side

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? I guess I really don't understand what a header is and how to make it work

Try this, Find a lump of wood and drill a 3/8 hole in it. Find a lump of plasticine or modelling clay and make a sausage. Taper the sausage from say 1/2 diam to a little under 3/8 diam for a length of about 1 inch. Continue the 3/8 diam till you run out of plasticine. Now poke the plasticine into the hole in the wood. it should easily go in until it hits the taper. Guess what happens now. apply a little pressure to the top of the taper with your thumb and eh presto...a head.

Now try and pull out the plasticine. Can't be done eh? That's because there is too much friction between wood and plasticine. Tapering the hole in the wood from the underside side will reduce the contact area considerably and therefore the amount of force required to get the plasticine out :)
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thanks Strine that really helps I knew it was something simple I was missing
Ralph I really hope you can find the demo I really would like to see a blueprint about nails and how to make them and thank you Mr Smith I'll watch the video when I get home.

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