Nail chronology as an aid to dating old buildings dating in haifa
However, almost a century after their predicted demise, there are still two cut nail manufacturers worldwide in existence employing the process that is almost 200 years old and using machines that have barely changed in design in that time.One such company is Glasgow Steel Nail Co which can trace its business roots back to 1870.' written in May 2002 at the request of, and for inclusion in, the RICS Building Conservation Journal)For nail making, iron ore was heated with carbon to form a dense spongy mass of metal which was then fashioned into the shape of square rods and left to cool. After re-heating the rod in a forge, the blacksmith would cut off a nail length and hammer all four sides of the softened end to form a point.Then the nail maker would insert the hot nail into a hole in a nail header or anvil and with four glancing blows of the hammer would form the rosehead (a shallow pyramid shape).For the restorer, it is vital that the correct raw materials are used in any attempt to preserve an old building. The restorer is looking to use similar nails to ensure the authenticity of the restored building.While it is possible to get a blacksmith today to produce a handmade nail from wrought iron, the cost can be prohibitive and the blacksmith is not keen to devote his limited time to making such small products.
Thinner timbers were being used in construction and other forms of fastening were becoming available if a strong fixing was needed.
The nails are generally used for doors, floors, gates, indeed anywhere a period nail has to be displayed.
The company is also prepared to consider special projects, for example, it produced a bronze boat nail for the building of the replica ship the 'Matthew' that in the year 2000 re-traced the 500 year old voyage of John Cabot who discovered New Foundland.
Because the process still involves a man (or woman) presenting a strip of metal to a machine, the resulting nail is necessarily imprecise - that is each nail can look a little different to the next one.
The result is that these cut nails are often mistaken for handmade nails.