Early makers used single boards that were as wide as the tree. In later times, to save money and wood, narrow, uniform boards were glued together.

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Inspect the piece for evidence of gapping between boards, cracking and protruding pegs. Remember that wood shrinks in a direction opposite of the grain. The amount of shrinkage is determined by the softness of the wood and the age. Early circular tabletops will sometimes become oval or longer in the direction of the grain.

Study the nails, pegs or screws that were used to hold the boards in place. predating 1790 will include rose-head nails identified by their irregular, rose-shaped heads. They were made individually by blacksmiths. Square-head nails were made from the late 1700s until about 1830. Most were machine-cut and finished off by a blacksmith who squared the heads. From 1830 to 1890, cabinetmakers used headless, machine-cut nails that are a tapered, rectangular shape.

Modern wire, brad or penny nails were introduced around 1890. Screws were occasionally used in early furniture, too. Nails and screws were expensive and hard to obtain, so many cabinetmakers used small wooden pins or pegs when building furniture. Newer machine-era pins will be perfectly circular and flush to the surface of the boards. Early handmade pegs are not round and protrude slightly from the surface because of shrinkage in the wood. Don t forget to look on the underside of the boards for visible saw marks. The circular saw wasn t widely used until after 1830, but if you see straight saw marks on the boards, these might have been cut with vertical motion ripsaws that were used before that time. Finally, look at the patina, or aging, that has occurred on the wood. Look at the feet, top and sides to determine whether any part has been replaced. Don t fall in love with the look of a piece of furniture before determining its age, condition and value. Try to use your eyes and brain without letting your heart get in the way. This will help you to not make an expensive mistake. Outline and thickness on early hand-wrought iron and brass hinges will be non-uniform. The top rail on early 19th century chairs will be joined with non-round tenons that can be viewed by slightly pulling the yoke from the stile. Circular dowels are evidence of "non-period" chairs. Can you keep the identities of these women a secret?

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Being hand-forged the variety of shapes and forms were infinite, expensive to produce and consequently they were used sparingly. A nail may not be a noticeable style feature, but looking at them carefully can help you authenticate the age of a primitive or antique furniture piece before you buy. Like restorers of historical buildings, you can identify the period by the technology used to create the nails and unlock the past of furniture. Iron ore and carbon heated together and then cooled created wrought iron, from which a nail length piece was cut and hammered on four sides to create a point. Hand-wrought nails have tapered but irregular and crooked square shafts. In the early part of the period, nail-makers cut them by hand from a sheet of iron.

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Nail Hardware Helps Antique’s

Later, machine did the cutting, but nails were still made one at a time. The nail has a tapered rectangular shaft but straight on two sides, and the shaft is smoother than that of the hand-hammered nail. The head is usually round or rectangular but sometimes has an off-center notch. Cabinetmakers continued to use cut nails into the start of the 20th century until stockpiles were used up, so you may find either type of nail in furniture between 1880 and 1920. But because of their smooth shape, modern nails have less holding power than hand-forged or cut nails. Hand-hammered nails, dating from the 1700s or earlier, leave a square hole with an irregular impression at the top from a hammered head. Cut nails leave a more rectangular hole and around or rectangular head. Black staining appears where an original iron nail was in place for many years, with additional rust staining if it was replaced by a newer nail. Look for differences in nail styles within a piece of furniture if you suspect two or more pieces from different sources have been joined into a composite piece. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them. Picture may appear larger on your screen. Color may vary slightly due to the color setting of each individual monitor. If you do not receive our reply within 48 hours, pls. This international order may take longer to arrive. Can fasten on the sofa, basket, crafts, drum and so on. Made of iron material, firm and durable in use. Due to the light and screen setting difference, the item's color may be slightly different from the pictures. Can be used to trim furniture where the fasteners will show. Full of vintage style, best for decorating your home.

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Sharp piercing point, with great fastening function make it easy to install. Always use safety glasses while working with them. With proper tools they will never get bent even on very hard woods. Most everyone knows that handmade nails are older than machine made nails. But could you identify a handmade nail if you saw one?

In addition to looking at how old nails were made, this article will also discuss how to examine nail holes, rust left by nails plus where, how and why specific types and shapes of nails were used. When the tip of the nail passes, the cells spring back and try to resume their former positions. The principle is the same for all nails old or modern regardless of shape or how they were made. From that time to the beginning of the 19th century, ca. At the time of their introduction, these machine cut nails were sometimes referred to as "cold nails" because they were not made at the forge. These machine/handmade nails were used up to the end of the 19th century.

By the 1890s, the entire nail was completely machine formed producing the rounded shank or wire nail that continues in use today. The work was hard and gave rise to an early expression, "to work like a nailer" used to describer any intense activity. Most of these nails were formed from a nail rod , a bar of iron available from iron mills close to the approximate size of the nail. The first step in making a hand forged nail was to form the shank. The forged round head nail is also called a rose head because the hammered head often resembles the petals on a rose. Cross sections of pre-1800 nails are generally square; shanks from 1800-1890 are rectangular; modern shanks are round.

The earliest forged nails are identified by their irregular shanks and hammer marks on both shanks and heads. When viewed from above, early round heads have a meandering outline that is anything but round. Later machine cut shanks will still show hammering which was necessary to form the head. Modern heads in particular are virtually always a nearly perfect circle. Generally, this means along the shanks and across the heads. Rather than a broadly dimpled hammered surface, cast nails have a very gritty textured surface. Some late 19th century nails were cast but had very limited use. In general, any nail with molds seams or grinding marks should be considered of recent manufacture. Some genuinely old cut nails with hand forged heads may have burrs along the edges of their shanks. These burrs should not be confused with grinding marks that appear in the middle of the shanks and heads. Looking at the holes left by the missing nails can provide valuable information. The irregular forged heads of early nails, for example, leave an irregular impression in the wood. Irregular impressions from early round headed nails are correct in hidden or unseen places such as backs and sides of drawers, backs of cases, etc., which is where they were originally used.

The explanation is often that genuinely old wood that at one time was visible has been used to repair, or entirely replace, the original wood, or that the entire piece is a totally made up. Pay particular attention to molding, trim and other exterior details. A few replaced nails are probably honest repairs and can actually enhance a pieces' claim to legitimate and normal wear and help authenticate age. Early forged nails are a type of wrought iron with very low amounts of carbon typically about 3 to 4 per cent. This type of iron has a very high resistance to corrosion. That's why wrought iron was used for early architectural features like balcony railings, gates and other pieces meant to be used outdoors. In addition to the low carbon, forged nails are also somewhat protected by the fire scale which forms on the surface as a result of being heated in the fire. The high resistance to corrosion is due to how low carbon iron oxidizes, or rusts. This stable film of rust actually prevents further corrosion by keeping oxygen away from the underlying metal. Knowing how iron corrodes and what of rust are formed, helps us tell what types of nails were used even if the original nail is missing. When an early wrought iron nail corrodes, or rusts, it leaves a black stain in the wood around the nail hole. Newer nails made of iron with higher carbon leave red/brown rust stains in the wood. The extent and penetration of discoloration caused by either type of rust depends on the type of wood and where a piece has been used or stored. Some woods, like oak, have very strong natural acids and tend to produce deeply saturated stains. Be sure that the condition of the nail matches the surrounding wood. If the wood around the nail head is blackened, then the nail should be blackened too.

You should never base your evaluation of a piece on one piece of evidence alone. The presence of hand forged nails is not a guarantee of age by itself. Analyzing nails, nail holes and the type of nails used in various locations is just one step in gathering information upon which to base your decision of age and condition.

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Group of typical round head hand forged nails. Look for hand hammered surfaces, irregular heads and shanks. New machine made wire nails with round shanks like these have been used from the 1890s. Flat head common nails top and bottom are for general use; modern finishing nail, center. Such a seam would never appear in a hand forged nail or a machine cut nail with forged head. Notice rough gritty surface texture instead of hammered surface on forged nails. Close up showing rough grinding marks along mold seam on new cast nail. Head of new cast nail showing grinding marks along mold seam. In general, virtually all cast nails are of recent manufacture. Large arrow shows black stain where original nail was for many years. Small arrows point to more recent red/brown rust formed by modern nail placed in the same nail hole. Large arrow points to blackened area left by early original nail. Small arrows point to recent red/brown rust left by new nail in the same hole. Look for mold seams and grinding marks which never appear on authentic early nails. These were at first made entirely by hand. Later, a machine cut the flat shanks and the heads were formed by hand. It's a small secret to let your house becomes more beautiful. Please don't use any chemicals to clean nail-heads, it may damage the surface finish in time, so please just clean them with dry peace of cloth. Ships from and sold by housewares and more. Due to the different monitor and light effect, the actual color maybe a slight different from the picture color. Please allow 1-2cm differs due to manual measurement. My project was complete to perfection with these added. There are many factors that show true historic construction, but one clue that is often overlooked is the type of nail used to hold the piece together. Nails in antique furniture are often barely noticeable, but they are another key to unlock the history of wooden pieces. The quest for the ideal nail has taken centuries of development. The hand-forged nail changed little until well into the 1700's.

For thousands of years, the traditional hand-forged nail was square and tapered, with a hammered head attached by the blacksmith. One nail at a time was heated and laboriously pounded out to shape with a hammer on an anvil. Nails were fairly valuable, and ruined buildings were often burned and nails were scavenged from the ashes to reuse. One hundred larger 10d (10 penny) nails cost 10 pence. Until the very end of the 1700's, most nails in better furniture had a head that was rose-cut or faceted like an old miner's cut diamond. Some nail heads were “butterfly” shaped, with visible facets where the iron head was hand-hammered, one nail at a time. The next phase of progress in nails was the appearance of “cut” nails, beginning in the very late 1700's. As plates of flat steel became available, a simple hardened steel knife was used to “cut” one tapered rectangular nail at a time. This greatly accelerated the manufacture of nails, and these rectangular nails quickly became dominant by the early 1800's. These cut nails are often called “square,” but they are really markedly rectangular, as are their heads, and easy to distinguish from the truly square and entirely handmade earlier variety. These nails fairly accurately date furniture to the 1900's, although it is worth remembering that sometimes modern nails were added in subsequent repairs. Machinery was developed to produce cut nails in the 1900's, and they are still used in flooring and concrete applications, where holding power is paramount, and power nailing tools are standard. These continue to be used to attach small moldings and trim. Machinery was invented to cut pieces of steel wire, sharpen a point at one end, and put a flat round head onto the other end. These nails were much cheaper to produce. Because their sides were straight rather than tapered, they have only a fraction of the holding power of cut nails with tapered sides. Nevertheless, the reduced cost factor made wire nails the standard very quickly. By 1910, wire nails were 90% of the total market. A reasonable date for furniture originally constructed with round wire nails is after 1880. Until about 1800, nails were hand-forged – tapered square shafts and hand-hammered heads. During the 1800's, cut nails have tapered rectangular shafts and rectangular heads. In the 1900's, the round wire nail with straight sides and a round head are the standard. Nails are one of many clues to the age and authenticity of antique furniture and building construction as well.

Nail Hardware Helps Antique’s