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Nailed on tote bottom not split after about 120 years

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Forum topic by TopamaxSurvivor posted 1284 days ago 977 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TopamaxSurvivor

14581 posts in 2271 days


1284 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: nailed tote bottom not split wood movement

I am wondering why this tote bottom has not split in the last 120 years? http://www.mycountrytreasures.com/v436walnutcutlerytray.html I have been looking at a lot of antique boxes and I see a lot of them with nailed on bottoms. It seems that without allowance ofr wood movement, they should be splitting. Comments and/or analysis?

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence


26 replies so far

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Greedo

465 posts in 1556 days


#1 posted 1284 days ago

nails do allow for minimal woodmovement, at least when the wood is harder to split than the nail is to bend.
my guess is that it was made properly by the rules, and then used/stored properly for the remaining 120 years

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#2 posted 1284 days ago

Topa :-)
interresting question
but I think they did what we used to do before the nailguns age (and lot of those nails don´t have an od iether)
we used to turn the nail upside down and hit the od slightly with the hammer to make the od plump
wich prevent the wood promspliting when it is hammered down thrugh the wood
as you see here on this picture , speciel near the end of the boards
.

.
.
and we also cant the nails like this to make the nails hold better but also to prevent the
”%&¤#@£@&” dam pine from spliting (our pine splits very easy)
here it is a too much slant just to make the point clear ..lol
.

.
.
and I ges on the old tray it also have something to do with the schringage around the hole
so the hole get a little bigger after a few years

hope this can help
take care
Dennnis

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1579 days


#3 posted 1284 days ago

Given the lack of information about the piece and what was used, other than they used square head nails. My guess would be that the nails may have been hand forged nails which were soft and pliable. These nails were subject to wood movement and would have a tendency to move with the wood causing them to loosen and move allowing the wood to move without splitting, and probably had to be tapped back in from time to time during use. I suspect that had they used cut nails which were harder and the cut edges allowed to grab tighter the outcome would have been different. At least this would be my guess with my knowledge of the history of nails. Given the scarcity of nails back then it surprises me that so many were used. Considering they would burn down old buildings to sift through the ashes to recycle the nails from the building without damaging them from pulling them out.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Karson's profile

Karson

34852 posts in 2996 days


#4 posted 1284 days ago

I’m interested in your square nails Dennis, The only ones that I’ve seen laitly are horse shoeing nails.

They all seem to be round ones here.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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Gregn

1642 posts in 1579 days


#5 posted 1284 days ago

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#6 posted 1284 days ago

Gregn and Cessna
what you linked to is old style nails and I have bookmarked them
becourse we can´t get them here

Karson :
the Nails I use in the picture is galvanic treaded and you can get them as electrogalvanic
or as hot galvanic treaded and are to be used outside on a shed or carport etc. etc.
we can get them with out the galvanic too but they are only to be used inside houses

we allso have some we call divers ( I gess you wood call them finish nails ) with a very tiny head
both in square and round versions

does this help you Karson or ells just say so and I will dig up some more info

take care
Dennis

View pommy's profile

pommy

1697 posts in 2287 days


#7 posted 1284 days ago

Dennis you hit the nail on the head mate lol …........

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

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Karson

34852 posts in 2996 days


#8 posted 1284 days ago

Gregn comment about burning down buildings to get the nails: I found this reference,

Regarding the burning of buildings to recover nails, Bobby Floyd of the Old Dominion Blacksmiths Association submitted this Act of Virginia’s House of Burgesses passed in 1645.

“And it is further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid, That it shall not be lawfull for any person so deserting his plantation as afore said to burne any necessary houseing that are scituated therevpon, but shall receive so many nailes as may be computed by 2 indifferent men were expended bout the building thereof for full satisfaction, reservinge to the King all such rent as did accrew by vertue of the former grants or planting of the same from the expiration of the first seaven years.” [This law is further described as: Persons deserting their plantations not to burn the houses, & to receive as many nails as were expended in building it.] See this webpage for the House of Burgesses Acts—http://www.vagenweb.org/hening/vol01-12.htm#page_291

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#9 posted 1284 days ago

Pommy :
sometimes even I can bee lucky….LOL

Dennis

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)

TopamaxSurvivor

14581 posts in 2271 days


#10 posted 1284 days ago

Karson that is a great post. Interesting the nails were more valuable than the buildings :-))

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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TopamaxSurvivor

14581 posts in 2271 days


#11 posted 1284 days ago

Thanks for the comments guys. I looked at few more of those on that site. Only one dough box had a slight check about 1/4 of the length of the bottom. None of the others had any sign of checking and many were dated to mid 1800s. I suppose they were using mostly hardwoods as you say and the ductile nails were soft enough to not be an issue. They had an abundance of hardwood forests, so why use a soft wood? I imagine using the proper wood was a common knowledge; no one gave a second thought to when they were making the items. I tend to forget that living in a soft wood forested area ;-)) Everything splits!

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View childress's profile

childress

841 posts in 2137 days


#12 posted 1284 days ago

Dennis, that trick is still used today in framing (blunting the point) . It was taught to me by an old time framer, and absolutely works!

-- Childress Woodworks

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Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1711 days


#13 posted 1284 days ago

thank´s Childress :-)
it was the same way I learned it from an old carpenter
but that was back in the seventy´s

Dennis

View Alexander's profile

Alexander

190 posts in 1707 days


#14 posted 1284 days ago

When I was building, befor the mass use of nail guns I would blunt the point of the finish nail to keep the wood from splitting. Installing decking or other material near the end blunting th point of the nail will keep it from splitting. By blunting the point the nail pushed the fiber of the wood equal in all directions and with a point the the nail splits the fiber of the wood. Kind of like an ax.

-- John at Sugarloft Mountain........Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.

View jeepturner's profile

jeepturner

920 posts in 1388 days


#15 posted 1284 days ago

Would a joiner that cut dovetails in a compound miter joint use nails to hold the the bottom on? Cut nails are good at holding a shear load, but I don’t think a nail is the proper fastener for a tension load. If you were dropping stuff into the tote, wouldn’t it tend to pull the nails out? If I went through the trouble to make a nice joint between the vertical sides why such a week joint on the bottom?
Maybe this was intended to only be a decorative piece when it was made, I don’t know. Most of the stuff I have seen that survives this long is well built and well thought out. Could that tote be a reproduction?

-- Mel,

showing 1 through 15 of 26 replies

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