One thing that he taught me along with many other tricks, was the following:
"son if you are under the impression that the nail will split the 2 by 4 or what ever you are nailing just take the nail and blunt the end by giving it a few whacks on the pointed end with the hammer"
My Grandfather taught me the same trick. I blunt more nails than not when driving them, it seems. They cut through rather than split the wood.
Another thought along this line... I have burned hardwood pallets from time to time. When cleaning out the woodstove the nails left behind are often pointless, totally blunt. This must be so they don't split the top boards at the ends.
Nailed by machine, the age old problem of cut nails not piercing hardwood is a moot point.