While traditional forged nails are highly sought after for restoration and reproduction work, their merits go well beyond their historically accurate appearance. Used since ancient Roman times, square-shanked nails offer far greater holding power than modern wire nails. Driven into an undersized, predrilled hole, the tapered shank compresses surrounding wood, bending the fibers downward to yield a wedging action that helps prevent the nail from withdrawing. The well-defined shoulder seats flush to the work, allowing the broad head to spread the bearing surface over a large area; this draws the work together during assembly and prevents the head from pulling through under load. It's no exaggeration to suggest that nails of this type should not be used to make anything you may ever have to disassemble.
In a traditional black oxide finish, still made exactly as they have been since 1888, these nails are die-forged by Clouterie Rivierre in Creil, France. We offer them in lengths selected to cover a wide range of projects of varying scales and stock thicknesses. Metric lengths are listed, with approximate Imperial lengths in brackets.
Since it's often useful to have an assortment on hand, we've put together a kit containing 30 each of the 23mm, 40mm and 50mm nails, plus 50 of the 35mm nails, a size frequently used to fasten 1/2" backboards and secure joints in 3/4" stock. The nails are also available in bulk packages per size.
Recommended pre-drill diameters are 5/64" for the 23mm nails, 3/32" for the 30mm and 35mm nails, 5/32" for the 40mm and 50mm nails, and 3/16" for the 70mm nails. Suggested pre-drill sizes are based on our tests in both softwoods and medium-density hardwoods. For dense woods, a slightly larger hole may be necessary. The 5/64" and 3/32" bits are straight-shank; the two larger bits are tapered.