Handmade Nails-Blacksmithing Video

Handmade broadhead nails add a wonderful authentic touch to any woodworking project. Historically speaking, they’ve been around since at least Biblical times. These early nails were little more than spikes with flattened heads. When sawyers began to make different types of lumber available, nail shapes evolved to meet the needs of the builder. Later on (mid-1700s or so) cut nails began to appear in America, but beautiful hand forged nails have never really gone out of style.

Hand forged by a blacksmith (or “nailer” if that’s all he did,) the nails are first drawn out to a sharp point on the anvil. Then the nail is cut off the main piece of steel and the head is formed in a vice. Here’s a nice video showing you all the steps. (Don’t adjust your speakers. This video is silent.)

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Pancho Cole December 6, 2010 at 11:53 pm

This video needs improvement: I used to make nails much faster, after pointing the iron on the anvil, I would indent the stock at the head of the nail, most of the way through, by hammering it over the inverted chisel inserted in the hardy hole of the anvil, then I would place the notched iron in a nailing plate which has a hole just big enough for the iron to fit through but it would stop the rod at the notched section. You then twist off the rod leaving the almost finished nail in the plate, hammer the top of the nail to flatten and broaden it, then you can snap the nail out of the plate by inverting it. A good nailer can make a nail ever 2-3 seconds and keep many irons in the fire, sadly I wasn’t that good.

Cedric December 7, 2010 at 11:51 am


Thanks for your comments. Your points are well taken. We probably should have noted in text for the video that this was for a smith with limited tools. Of course, a smith should be able to make his own nail header and hot cut hardie. Yet more videos to establish. There seems to be no end. We’ll add a second video with the faster method and amend the description.

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