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Trouble clenching nails

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Forum topic by Davehal9000 posted 02-17-2014 09:29 PM 880 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Davehal9000

5 posts in 283 days


02-17-2014 09:29 PM

Am in the process of building an oak framed ledge and brace door. I grabbed some clenching nails from Tremont and did some practice on some scrap wood. The first batch of nails I used I bent every one of them so bad they never penetrated the second board, even with pilot holes.

I forget what nails I* used the first time around but the second batch of nails were the fire door clenching nails. I was actually able to drive them through both pieces of wood but I keep spitting the boards no matter which way I orient the nail in regard to the grain. Also, when I go to clench the nail they break at the first bend.

Any suggestions? Like any project I want to do this right to include the right nails and using them properly. Thanks!

David


14 replies so far

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jdh122

400 posts in 1541 days


#1 posted 02-17-2014 09:57 PM

I have no experience with nail-clenching myself, but here’s a cool video about it that might help if you haven’t seen it yet:
http://www.theenglishwoodworker.com/?p=1904

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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Davehal9000

5 posts in 283 days


#2 posted 02-17-2014 10:14 PM

I watched that video a while back and it answered any questions I had at the time but it doesn’t help with the splitting wood or breaking nails. I’m doing everything the way he does and it’s not working very well

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Net55

78 posts in 311 days


#3 posted 02-17-2014 11:20 PM

blunt the tip of the nail, predrill – use quality nails

-- Bill, SW Florida

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bondogaposis

2697 posts in 1075 days


#4 posted 02-17-2014 11:38 PM

If your using cut nails you need to pre-drill.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Davehal9000

5 posts in 283 days


#5 posted 02-18-2014 12:00 AM

I’ve predrilled using progressively larger holes. I’m to a point where the pilot holes are almost as big as the largest part of the nail and the wood is still splitting and the nails are breaking

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Net55

78 posts in 311 days


#6 posted 02-18-2014 12:06 AM

bad aim? try bending the nails over in the direction of the grain

-- Bill, SW Florida

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shipwright

5230 posts in 1521 days


#7 posted 02-18-2014 12:22 AM

Clenched nails have been used in boatbuilding for a long time. I’ve never thought of it as a good system myself because the galvanizing on the nails is compromised. (I suppose I could re-think if the nails were bronze)

The method is quite different however than the video shows. Rather than a sharp cornered “U”, the way I was taught was a smooth curve formed all at once by a man on the inside of the boat holding a heavy steel object (likely a pin maul) and deflecting the nail as it comes through. It will turn right around like an ingrown toenail.

The cleat joint he makes can easily be made without the helper by simply nailing at a slight angle over a steel plate.
Try it. It works amazingly well and you hardly see the bent over nail on the other side. This even works with air nailers, staplers and pin trackers.

If you’re breaking nails, you are using the wrong nails. Like the video says, nails should be malleable.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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Davehal9000

5 posts in 283 days


#8 posted 02-18-2014 03:39 AM

Is there a better source for cut/clenching nails?

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runswithscissors

1166 posts in 748 days


#9 posted 02-18-2014 04:19 AM

Clench nails in boatbuilding were usually copper, not bronze, as bronze is too brittle. Galvies work too, but as shipwright says, the galvanizing tends to chip or crack.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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shipwright

5230 posts in 1521 days


#10 posted 02-18-2014 04:34 AM

That’s correct. Copper is common in small boats. I’ve just seen galvanized used in bigger ones and didn’t like it much.

Do a search for clench nails. There are some good videos. Also if you aren’t particularly worried about rust common nails will clench beautifully, galvanized or not.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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Randy_ATX

689 posts in 1165 days


#11 posted 02-18-2014 04:44 AM

Here is a decent video showing two ways to do it.
http://blip.tv/popular-woodworking-videos/clenching-a-nail-4581189

-- Randy -- Austin, TX by way of Northwest (Woodville), OH

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shipwright

5230 posts in 1521 days


#12 posted 02-18-2014 04:54 AM

The second method in the Schwartz video is the method I alluded to above. If you start the nail on a slight angle you can control the direction of the “curl”.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/

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Davehal9000

5 posts in 283 days


#13 posted 02-18-2014 01:44 PM

I’m trying to match the doors used elsewhere throughout my home. Rust isn’t an issue, in fact i’ll probably rust any nails I use. Would prefer to stick with cut nails though

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runswithscissors

1166 posts in 748 days


#14 posted 02-21-2014 08:40 AM

If your cut nails are breaking, I wonder if they are too hard. I suggest heating them up pretty hot with a torch, and then letting them air cool. That should anneal them and make them less brittle. Might be worth a try.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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