Step-back Cupboard Build #8: Cut nails and scant holes

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Blog entry by rwyoung posted 06-19-2009 05:50 AM 1230 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Shelves and cleats Part 8 of Step-back Cupboard Build series Part 9: Milk paint test »

Cut nails and scant holes.

Everybody has a set of gimlets just gathering dust in the junk drawer, right? I know I could have used a twist bit and the cordless drill and zipped right through these but this seemed like so much more fun. A set of gimlets isn’t very expensive and I can see where they would come in handy in confined spaces and tight corners.

I also got my cut nails last week. Ordered them from Tremont Nail Company . Played around a little bit with a few before starting in on the carcass. They do seem to work as advertised and make nifty little wedges.

To clarify as to why I’m using nails. Three reasons, first, these are cut nails and they are “accurate” to a Shaker piece. Second, nails do work well when combined with glue because they will give a little as the wood moves so glue the center of the cleat but space nails along its length to even out the strengh. And third, I think cut nails are pretty neat little buggers and it’s my project anyway. :sarcastic:

In a previous post I think I said I would “toenail” the cleats. That isn’t quite accurate, the nails are going in at a slight angle similar to how you would angle a nail in the wall for hanging a picture. By angling the nails the cleats are getting pushed into the cabinet side and any weight down on the cleat simply pushes it harder into the side.

Here I’m drilling a pilot hole (scant hole) for a nail.

Notice the slight angle, also not shown is this hole has a slight tilt away from the camera. I could say this was intentional but it isn’t. The good news is that such a tilt might actually work in my favor if I alternate them so that some of the nails slightly oppose each other.

And now you can see a nail setting in one of the scan holes.

Next a picture of a nail that has been counter sunk.

Something I’ve discovered, a standard round counter sink sucks for cut nails. I used my largest size one and it worked OK but it did have a tendency to skitter around on the head of the nail. If I was going to do a lot of this I’d grind the head or get a counter sink made for cut nails.

I’ll go back and hit all the nailed areas with a sanding sponge to knock off the fuzzies. I’m still thinking about filling the nail holes. I might just leave them alone in the cleats for just a little bit of character. Plus they really aren’t that visible on the inside of the cabinet.

Another fun discovery about the cut nails, at least these. There is a pretty wide variation in the size and shape of the nail and head even though they are all coming from the same box and are all supposed to be 6d. I believe they are 6d based on their length but I pulled some that were definitely fatter and had a much more pronounced head.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

2 comments so far

View DaleM's profile


952 posts in 2805 days

#1 posted 06-19-2009 11:04 PM

It looks like you’re putting a square peg in a round hole. I’ve pulled a ton of those nails out of my house trim and some old shelves that I took down in my basement. I guess that’s what you get when your house is 139 years old. They really are hard to remove once they’ve been in awhile so they should hold really well for you.

-- Dale Manning, Carthage, NY

View rwyoung's profile


385 posts in 2893 days

#2 posted 06-19-2009 11:17 PM

Yep. They work like little wedges if you put them in the right way round.

-- Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

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