Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 3
   January 2011
   Featured Patents

The Savage Tack Hammer

Savage tack hammer

Anyone who has renovated a farmhouse or cottage built between 1880 and 1940 knows there's a strong possibility that the floor coverings may be oilcloth, linoleum or congoleum. These were chosen for their durability and their low cost relative to the fine wood overlays or the imported rugs typically found in more expensive homes of that time. These more cost-effective materials were used to cover the rough-sawn floorboards typically found in new construction and were considered a step up from simply painting the boards, which was common previous to their availability. Often, oilcloth coverings were painted with the same designs, patterns and stenciling treatments as was found on the floorboards in earlier homes.

Removal of these coverings often leads to discussion about how it was originally fastened down. In some cases, the coverings were nailed with a vengeance using the demon carpet tack (a small blue nail with an oversized head and an extremely sharp point), usually at 1" intervals or less to prevent the thin covering from rising at the edges. Anyone who has ever installed or removed such tacks usually has three thoughts while doing so: "Why so many?", "My goodness, aren't those little points sharp?" and "How do you hold these?", as having more than one in the hand at a time sometimes caused substantial skin punctures.
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