Nails. They are rusty, bent and broken. But what about recyled?

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Forum topic by NewForger posted 03-30-2015 02:11 PM 1426 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1177 days

03-30-2015 02:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource


I’m new, and I’ve looked around the web, but haven’t found anything yet. This weekend, my daughter and I were cleaning up our first wood to see what we had, and what we still need. I noticed there were a LOT of nails of different sizes, metals, finishes, and states of usability.

Has anyone ever found a use for these? Has anyone ever thought about smelting and making “homemade” nails? Seems a shame to just pitch ‘em.

Your apt Newbie,
Forge Woodworker

11 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3983 days

#1 posted 03-30-2015 03:03 PM

There is a distinct charm associated with hand forged nails. I had a need for some years ago, and paid about 50 cents each for them from a smith.
They have a place, but I wouldn’t go nuts forging nails.


View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2030 days

#2 posted 03-30-2015 03:03 PM

Dont remember where, but I seem to remember reading an article somewhere about how hand-made nails are a good seller for those who are making them.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2510 days

#3 posted 03-30-2015 03:11 PM

Wheeee….... I remember as a wee tyke in dad’s shop, it was my job to take all the bent nails he had pulled out of old lumber, (He use to salvage houses), put them on the anvil and straighten them with a small ball peen hammer.
This was my job, I was good at it! I got paid 1¢/5 nails straightened.
Some days I could make 10 or 11¢.

I think he went broke buying band-aides for every time I smashed a finger.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Chris's profile


191 posts in 1330 days

#4 posted 03-30-2015 10:27 PM

I wouldn’t waste time in forging my own nails, but…..

When renovating the stair case in our 1867 house, I managed to salvage most of the old hand forged square nails. I took all the steps out to sand and refinish them. I replaced them with modern nails and glue. When everything else is done I will replace the square nails.

-- Liberalism... Ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1422 days

#5 posted 03-30-2015 10:30 PM

I pitch all my old nails in a bucket for recycling. Recycling at the scrap yard, that is. Better to get a buck or 2 at the scrap yard, than pay a buck or 2 at the dump.

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 1245 days

#6 posted 03-30-2015 10:43 PM

I saw something on the tube decades back regarding one of the few remaining hand forged nail Cos up in Maine. They kept a hardcopy history of every smith that ever worked there and claimed they could tell you who forged a nail by looking at it. Sounds like finger printing to me. I’ve worked on a few historical buildings around my area and pulled many cut nails out of them from sidewall, trim and framing. One thing I can say about them that current nails fail at is rusting away. 90 and 100 + yr old nails with more meat on them than any non SST nail.

-- I meant to do that!

View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

572 posts in 1492 days

#7 posted 03-31-2015 03:10 AM

With the huge / surging popularity of rustic, vintage, “steampunk”, decor and style, hand-forged nails and things made using hand forged nails would likely sell like hotcakes.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View Rick's profile


9701 posts in 3056 days

#8 posted 04-01-2015 07:15 AM

Not sure if this is what everyone is mentioning but I bought some “Square Cut Nails” at Lee Valley Last Year.

I downloaded the details a while back. There are about 13 different sizes and shapes. All made in the USA.

Don’t know how well they’ll fit on here, but we’ll see. Well the Site Downsized them and it blurred them some but I guess they are still Readable.

I thought the “Description” as to how they work was interesting so I pulled it out and enlarged it. (Bottom Pic)


TIP: If you want to Blow Up a Section to make it more readable. Hit & Hold the Control Key (Ctrl) and at the same time use your Mouse Wheel to make it as BIG or SMALL as you’d like.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2030 days

#9 posted 04-01-2015 12:56 PM

As a kid working in construction in Florida, we always referred to the type E in that picture as “cut nails” and they were for use in nailing the 2X4 pressure-treated baseplates to poured concrete foundations.

We NEVER used them for “wood to wood” applications.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3266 days

#10 posted 04-01-2015 04:56 PM

Way back in the days when cut nails were being used, old wooden structures would be burned down to salvage the nails.

View NewForger's profile


2 posts in 1177 days

#11 posted 04-05-2015 05:07 AM

I really like this site. Thank you, all. This is al great stuff. I’m in a strange place, in this modern world. I am a single, full-time “therapy” parent to a girl with special needs. My dad was a fan of “do what you can with what you have, and don’t worry about what you don’t have and can’t control”. Easy enough to live when there is an income available. After more than a year of unemployment and constant therapy level parenting, I’m finally making in-roads to my own desires again. But this is an expensive hobby/outlet. Or so I thought. When I took a look at what I have and what I can do, I found I have a lot of local “trash” that I can recycle. Just this week, I walked up to a site where they were laying pavers for a deck/driveway. Pallets sitting waiting to be trashed; a cut-down tree that would be great for making into “lumber” for projects; etc. Initially, I thought I would be focused on learning woodworking, but as i’ve gone along, now almost 6 weeks into it, I’m expanding into this kind of discussion and planning. Nails, bottles, gardening, composting, that kind of thing.

And just yesterday, a friend said he’s buying 40 acres a few states away, that he can afford to buy the land, but can’t get the funds for setup. So, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at Pole Barns, and using lumber cut from the property, and hand-sawing techniques for milling lumber from trees. As has been happening a lot lately, I can feel my path being shifted and my needs being provided for. I’m excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Now I’m going to look into the viability of starting a forge, so that this guy can benefit from it for his property, I can benefit for my projects, etc. etc. Hahaha.

I heard recently that it’s ok to dream big, because my maker has plans bigger than I can ever dream. Sure looks like it’s happening.

Thanks everyone. See you out here next time, God willing

Forge Woodworker

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