While working on a small renovation project recently, I caught myself automatically dividing the nails I'd pulled into two groups: the nails that could be straightened or reused, and the nails to be disposed of. About halfway through the exercise it struck me – I haven't actually used nails for a couple of years; I build everything with either screws or adhesives.
Between my shop at home and my shed at the cabin, I'm sure I have enough nails to build a half-dozen small buildings. They're all neatly sorted into containers, and clearly labeled with length, finish, style, and sometimes intended use. There are common nails, ring nails, finishing nails, spikes, roofing nails, eavestrough nails, concrete nails, and brads. They are coated, plated, galvanized, and made of various metals. A quick survey of the assorted containers yielded a count of more than 100 different sizes and styles, and that’s without peering into the coffee cans of assorted fasteners.
And yet, while this vast selection of fasteners sits unused, there's a sense of security in knowing that just about every conceivable future fastening need is covered by the contents of those containers, so I'll undoubtedly continue to shuffle them around in my shelving for decades to come.
What to do with the straightened nails will ultimately be someone else’s problem.
Robin C. Lee