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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: TIMBEAL] #18505 03/10/09 12:07 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi Timbeal and others:

Thanks for that bit of history I am sure that we will put together a fascinating story that deals with the manufacturing industry that will come from many different places.

Ken: if you are looking in I am sure that you must have some knowledge of nails in your neck of the woods, by this I mean when square (cut) nails appeared, and then when round nail manufacturing commenced. There appears to be some overlapping of the two types but then that happened with many different hardware items didn't it?.

From your research and your examination of historic structures in Britain what time period would you place on the appearance of the two types over there.

I also wonder sometimes if nail cutting machines were wide spread in Europe and even Asia and appeared roughly at the same time in all locations. We sometimes become very narrow in our idea concerning who invented what and close our minds to the idea that at least some of the world's great minds did not come from North America or Britain but very well came from Japan, China, Italy, Spain, France or some other area that had a great civilization at one time or another.

Any way I hope that more information is forthcoming I will drop in tomorrow night to see some of your replies.

NH


Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #18513 03/10/09 02:44 AM
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Don P Offline
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This is a good read on nails;
http://www.pasttools.org/nails.htm
Roland Robbins mentioned in one of the articles was known by my dad who built the little replica cabin that used to be there. He was apparently quite a character and probably worth googling for anyone interested in that project.

This is a link to Eric Sloane's article on colonial nail making;
Sorry for the length of that, I was googling by a nail I remembered mention of in the article. You maybe need to cut and paste into your browser?
http://books.google.com/books?id=NWE3f0IEiMQC&pg=PA92&lpg=PA92&dq=plancher+nail&source=bl&ots=aMxfkF9vRE&sig=r-RQS1fIEWsOwLRMXAAt7p0cH-I&hl=en&ei=GMW1ScSKM42INeLJgNkK&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=8&ct=result#PPA92,M1

This is a nail from a saddlebag cabin I tore down some time ago. I'm thinking they were in panelling but oldtimers has apparently set in. Not positive anymore.


Not sure if or whether it pertains in any way, I live on the edge of the igneous blue ridge where it meets the metamorphic valley and ridge. The old beach road about 300 million years ago. On a restoration on the blue ridge side I was dealing with nails from the first furnace in our area,Point Hope Furnace. The ore was from our side. The furnace shut down when better ore was found on Iron Ridge on the valley and ridge side. The nails are noticeably more brittle from our ore than from the later ore.

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Don P] #18570 03/13/09 01:06 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi Don


Thanks for coming on board and being part of this thread

That is quite interesting and thanks for the view of what appears to be a very old example of a hand made type of nail

From the photograph it is hard to estimate the actual size of the nail could you maybe come back with that information for everyone that is dropping by lately.

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #18574 03/13/09 07:55 AM
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Ken Hume Offline
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Hi NH & Don et al,

I have now received Chris How's paper "The American Cut Nail” which was presented last month at Melbourne University, Victoria, Australia and I have been duly authorised by Chris to distribute this further to those who would like a *.pdf copy of same. Please send me a PM to receive a copy.

Chris will make a further presentation on the “Ewbank Nail” to the Construction History Society conference in Cottbus on 21st May 2009 and shortly thereafter this paper will also be available to all discerning timber framers and industrial historians. The Ewbank nail was widely used in England and the empire but apparently not in USA or Canada and so he would be very interested to hear from those people who encounter this type of nail in house construction in those countries.

Regards

Ken Hume


Looking back to see the way ahead !
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Ken Hume] #18593 03/14/09 12:40 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi Ken:

Thanks for getting back to us in reference to "HIstorical Nail Research"--Chris How's paper, you will be receiving a PM from me shortly.

Could you provide a slightly broadened explanation just what the Ewbank Nail was and why it seems to be the focus of such and important presentation.

This information is important for identification if you and Mr Chris How would like feedback it.

Thanks again for taking the time to be with us.

How is your water mill restoration project coming along? I hope fine. Maybe you could post a photo or two from time to time.

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #18594 03/14/09 07:52 AM
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Ken Hume Offline
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Hi Richard,

I have now sent you Chris's first article on "The American cut nail".

The Ewbank nail is similar to the American cut nail and I guess any differences would lie mainly in the development and patenting of the machinery that produced these nails. I cannot yet say too much about this topic since the paper has still to be presented (i.e. published) in May at the Cottbus conference.

I was experimenting yesterday with posting pictures on Windows Live where I have been told by Microsoft that I now have 25GB worth of free picture storage space and so I will shortly be experimenting with making picture posts.

I am somewhat limited as to what I can say on line about live "private client" projects and so hopefully in due course I will keep it in mind to keep you appraised "off line" on major progress.

Regards

Ken Hume


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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Ken Hume] #18617 03/15/09 09:40 PM
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Don P Offline
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NH, I've put a quarter beside the nail above for scale, thanks I wasn't thinking of that.

Ken, That is a great article thanks to you and Chris How.

I had never understood why those old cut nails split so often, I couldn't understand why they would be laminated or folded, they weren't. Page 8 contained the answer. The rolling of the plate caused differential cooling and set up a shear plane within the plate stock. The 8d nail in this shot is on its side and shows the split. The others were some neat old nails I had laid on a shelf in the barn.


The old furnaces here have captured my attention for some time. I don't claim to know much about them, but for those who know less here's what I've gleaned, always interested in more. These produced the pig iron that then went to the puddling furnaces mentioned in the article. We had those forges but I don't know of any remaining. There is a farmer near here who recovered the trip hammer from one out of the creek. That would have hammered the pig into bar stock.

This is what the furnaces did to smelt the ore; Iron appears in nature as an oxide, rust, FeO. If heated in the presence of carbon, the O combines with the C and is driven off through the stack as CO2 and CO. The relatively pure iron, Fe, drops through the floating molten slag that has been collected by the flux and collects in the hearth protected from the O in the air blast by the slag. It collected there until tapped out periodically.

The whistle blew, contractors manned their molds The clay plug was knocked out and the stream of iron flowed down the trench in front of the tapping arch. Or the furnace would simply mold pigs off the trench, or the furnace would mold pigs at the end after the end of the contractors molding. It was reminiscent of piglets nursing off the stream. Our furnaces made pots, pans, stoveplate, the salt kettles used in Saltville and pig iron.


I've crawled in through the tapping arch and am standing on the hearth. This is looking up past the collapsing firebrick in the bosh at the top of the stack from where the furnace was charged with skips of ore, charcoal and limestone. The bosh is the widest area of the furnace where the reaction occured. It is the wear area. The inside is coated with glassy slag. The air belt surrounded the outside of the furnace and admitted air pressurized by the stream outside. The air came in about waist level on each side directed into a horizontal swirl by kneewalls.

Kicking around outside I found what I think is an interesting chunk of clinker that I suspect was part of the charge just above the melt when the interior collapsed. I think we are looking at whitish limestone, yellowish limonite, black charcoal and red rust that was iron forming that has since returned to rust.

I think the Swedish ore mentioned in the article that was prized by the British was what they called "oldgrounds ore" from a town who's name sounded similar to that. I believe it was a much cleaner ore of magnetite or hematite compared to ours.

I googled the Ewbanks nail, I didn't know the name. This is a good article with photos that came up;
http://www.abp.unimelb.edu.au/staff/milesbl/pdf/19th-century-nail-technology.pdf

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Don P] #18622 03/16/09 04:46 PM
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OurBarns1 Offline
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Nice link on the Ewbank nail, Don.


I liked Chris How's paper too. It's a peek into an obscure area of study, just like timber framing. I guess there's really quite a bit about old "nayles" to uncover. This is a great example of using the forum as an exchange. Much thanks to Chris How for allowing us a peek at his work, which must have taken no small effort: over 100 footnotes in a 15-page paper.

What I found interesting was not only did the US invent the cut nail (pg. 12), but in the 1790s, America found it necessary to import nails from Brittan in order to keep up w/ demand (pg. 10). Seems one had the innovation, the other the means to supply.

And like our "Great Chicago Fire" of 1871 that necessitated building innovations (for better or worse), London also burned in 1666 that saw significant softwood exportation to England (pg. 5), all effecting building tech. / methods including nails.

And to have been on hand for the iron vs. steel nail competition in Boston in 1892 (pg. 11)... must have been a moment for sure. The iron nail won the battle, but ultimately lost the war.

Great stuff. Big thanks to Chris How for sharing his work. And thank you Ken for contacting him.

Neat stuff. I hope Northern Hewer is getting closer to his earlier question of when cut nails went out of use first, be it US or UK. Though we are getting insights, it seems like a less than definitive answer eludes us. Seems to be the case in many TF-related topics!!

May the education continue...









Don Perkins
Member, TFG


to know the trees...


Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: OurBarns1] #18632 03/17/09 12:08 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi everyone looking in on this topic:

I can't express my appreciation greatly enough to thank each and everyone of you that have submitted and joined in on this topic.

Over the years of assessing historic structures one of the first things that I would pry out in some obscure spot was a nail and if it proved to be a cut or blacksmith produced example then my glance would wander on, the nail type would be of first importance. This nail and others would be saved and examined at a later time and place.

My glance then would be up to the undisturbed roof boards, to note the saw marks, I would then look at the braces to see if they were sawn or hewn, the size and cross section examination of the vertical timbers, and if any unusual framing characteristics were immediately observable.

You are never too old to learn, and this week I have certainly added to my knowledge of nails mainly through your efforts, and I thank all of you.

I may refer verbally to Chris How's paper if I now am asked for a more knowledgeable reply-- I hope that is OK Ken?--.

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #18637 03/17/09 02:52 PM
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Ken Hume Offline
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Hi NH & Don x 2,

As far as I know the cut nail is still in use today.

Chris how works in cooperation with Miles Lewis at Melbourne university in Australia. Miles is originally from the UK as is Chris.

Its just fine to make reference to Chris's paper - that's the whole point of doing research. What isn't right I suppose is for a person to write about something and make it appear as if they have done the research (and havn't) when really the credit lies elsewhere.

I agree your comments about the value of this forum and its rewarding to discover that sometimes what we, or people that we know, have to say is of interest to others. I sent a copy of Chris's paper to Kenneth Rower (editor of Timber Framing) - didn't even get an acknowledgement, thank you or reply - dead as a door nail !

Regards

Ken Hume


Looking back to see the way ahead !
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