The terms employed by retailers, of fourpenny, sixpenny, tenpenny, etc, are very undefined as respects the kind, as well as the precise size, these varying with the locality wherein they are sold. To enter into a detailed description of all the varieties we have named would be tedious and uninteresting to the generality of readers; but impressed with the universal utility of more information than we have already given, we shall proceed to a very condensed and systematic view of their peculiarities and uses-It having been explained how the various sizes and thicknesses are distinguished, it will only be necessary to show the principal distinguishing forms, without regard to actual dimensions. For convenience, therefore, the several kinds delineated in the following engravings are represented as of one size; and the words printed above and under each, are their proper names.
The first described kind, rose-sharp, are very extensively, and almost universally, used for coopering, fencing, and a great variety of coarse purposes, in which hard wood, such as oak and beech, are used. There is, however, a thinner sort, called fine-rose, of which prodigious quantities are sent to Canada and other parts, which are used in pine and other soft woods, their broad spreading heads being calculated to hold the work down. The rose, with flat or chisel points, are employed in preference to the sharp, where the wood is in danger of being split by the driving in of the sharp points, which act as wedges/while those with flat points being driven with their edges across the grain, prevent the splitting effect, and hold faster. For these reasons spikes are uniformly made with flat points, from 4 to 12 inches in length,-unless ordered to the contrary, for the Brazil market, or other parts of the world, where they may be required for much harder woods than any of our own country.
Of the third sort, clasp, there are three distinct thicknesses, - fine, bastard, and strong; and of each numerous sizes. These nails are those commonly used by the London and other house-carpenters, in deal and similar woods; their heads are made projecting downwards, so that when they are driven home flush, their heads stick into the wood and clasp it together, thus checking, to a certain extent, any disposition in the wood to split open; their heads are, in smooth work, driven below the surface, so as afterwards to admit a plane over them.
Of the fourth sort, clout, there are, also, three thicknesses of the form of that shown; namely, fine, bastard, and strong; besides numerous sizes. They are much used for nailing iron work, and various substances to wood: they have a flat circular head, round shanks, and sharp points.
There is, however, another kind of clout, extensively used by wheelwrights and smiths, called counter-clout, the form of which is delineated in the fifth illustration, which shows that they have counter-sinks under their heads, and chisel points; they are usually made of tough iron, to bear the battering they receive in nailing down the stout iron work for which they are designed: they are made from 1 inch up to 4 inches in length, and of any required thickness.
The sixth figure of the foregoing sketches, is denominated fine-dog, in contradistinction to strong, or weighty-dog, the difference being merely in their proportionate thickness; these are made from 1 1/2 to 5 inches long, and are used for similar purposes to the last-mentioned, as well as others, where the heads (which are very solid, and slightly countersunk,) are not required to lie flush with the work; their shanks are round drawn, and their points speared, which adapts them for piercing and clenching well.
The seventh nail is called Kent-hurdle, probably from having been first used in Kent of that peculiar form: has a broad, thinnish rose-head, a clean-drawn, flat shank, a good spear-point, well adapted for nailing and clenching the oaken bars of hurdles together. There are several kinds of hurdle-nails differing from these, but in points so immaterial as not to require notice in this article. Gate-nails, which are nearly allied to them, are similar in form, but are usually made stouter: they are made of various lengths.
The eighth of the foregoing figures, rose-clench, is a class used for ship and boat building, of which there are several varieties, and numerous sizes. For the former purpose they are much employed in nailing on the wood sheathing, which is soft, and liable to split, unless bored; and as the nails have no points, the ends being left square, they punch out their own holes, driving a portion of the wood before them, hold very fast, and render boring unnecessary. For the latter reasons clench-nails are now extensively used in the making of packing-cases and boxes, it being found, by experience, that this form holds much firmer when driven in the direction of the grain of the wood, than tapered or pointed nails. The term clench is, however, derived from the mode of employing them in boat-building, in which they are clenched, either by battering down the extremity with the hammer, or, preferably, by placing over the extremity a little diamond-shaped plate of metal, as shown in the drawing, and called a rove, and riveting the end of the clench-nail down upon it, which draws the planks, etc. of the boat very firmly and durably together.
We are surprised that this simple, cheap, and admirable mode of fastening, should be almost wholly confined to boat-building.
Fig. 9 represents the horse-shoe nails in general use; "formerly the heads were made square, which are now nearly disused, the preference to the counter-sunk being chiefly given on account of their lying flush in the groove made for them, and more securely attaching the shoe to the hoof.
Fig. 10 represents one of a large class of very useful nails, called brads; they are made of various thicknesses, according to the strength of the work, and varying in length from 1/4 to 3 inches.
Deck-spikes do not have rose-heads, as they would leave greater holes in the surface; but either a neat, square, flat head, that beds in flush with the surface, or a clasp or diamond head, as shown in Fig. 3. Scupper-nails have extremely broad heads for fastening down thelead linings. Sheathing-nails, of the ordinary kind, are stout, flat, pointed nails, with clasp heads. There are also peculiarly formed nails for the rudders, the ribs, and various other parts of ships. The nails used in barge-building are chiefly very broad and flat in the shanks, with chisel points. Pound-nails are extensively used in Essex, Suffolk, and Norfolk; their form will be understood by reference to the rose-sharp, which they resemble in form, but are made stiffer, and with better and more solid heads; they are excellent for coarse, strong work, such as field-fencing, in oak.
Tacks are also a very numerous and useful class of nails; they are technically divided into rose-tacks, Flemish-tacks, and clout-tacks; the Flemish-tacks, however, chiefly obtain; and the heads of these are " Flemished," that is, not raised so much as a rose-head, nor so flat as a clout-head. The sizes of these are from an eighth to three-quarters of an inch in length; or, as they are denominated, from 1 oz. to 16 oz. per thousand. The chief place of manufacture for these, and other very small kinds, is Bromsgrove, in Worcestershire, where it is a common feat of the work-people to forge a thousand (1200) tacks so small as to easily fill the barrel of an ordinary goose-quill, the weight of the tacks being about 20 grains.
We could extend our description to numerous other denominations o forged wrought-iron nails; but as these, for the most part, differ in merely unessential points from those we have explained, we shall next proceed to the consideration of Cast-iron nails. These, from their great brittleness, are applicable be comparatively few purposes, such as garden-walls, the lathing of plasterers, coarse shoes and boots, etc.; and they are desirable for those purposes merely on account of their great cheapness. It should, however, be observed, that cast-iron nails are made of three distinct qualities, two of which are produced by annealing processes subsequent to that of casting. In the state the nails come from the moulds, they are so extremely brittle as to be only applicable to shoes, and those only of the very small short kinds, called sparrow-bills. The cast nails for the use of plasterers, as well as those for garden-walls, and those of similar sizes, undergo a process of annealing to prevent their flying into pieces on being driven by a hammer.
The best sort of cast-iron nails are called "malleable cast-iron," from their actually being rendered partially so by a long continued process of annealing; but the metal used for this purpose is very pure, having been deprived of the greater part of its carbon. It is, however, only a few sorts of small nails of this kind, such as tacks, that have stood the test of experience; the annealing process having the effect of not merely destroying the brittle quality, but of rendering the metal nearly as soft as copper, and, consequently, not sufficiently stiff for the purposes designed. All attempts to combine in cast iron nails the properties of adequate stiffness free from brittleness, having failed, the manufacture of cut or pressed iron nails by machinery, from sheets of wrought iron, has been resorted to, and it has been attended with considerable success.