Good try, but not good enough; Nail making!!!

Thanks to those of you who did try to avoid me posting again, but not enough of you replied, so here goes:
Here's some information on nail making. Some from a hobbyist (me) and
some from somebody who knows what they are doing (Jay Close).

Pete Stanaitis ------------------------------------------------
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Yeah, I keep practicing nail making mostly at public demos as well. I can do a one-heat nail (sometimes) but I can't get that consistency needed. Lots more practice needed. I've probably only made about 50 nails total in my life at this point.
The idea of keeping it part the shank parallel and not tapered is an interesting point I had not heard.
And the idea of always putting it in the header the same way (relative to the the two shoulders) was something I thought up as being useful, but never really pay enough attention to to implement in practice yet. I also thought it might be useful to score cross-hair like center lines on the top of the nail header to help identify the center of the nail so it's easier to know exactly which way you have to hammer the head to center it. Trying to guess based on the shape of the nail header doesn't seem to be accurate enough for me. Often I think I've got it centered only to find out once I pop it out I was way off.
Also, the idea of nicking on only two sides to make a point to help give the required material in the right side to make it center better is an interesting idea.
To do a one heat nail, I keep the cutoff hardy in the anvil as I work. This makes many fellow smiths very nervous. They keep telling me to take it out! I too get nervous watching other smiths work on an anvil with the cut-off hardy in place so I can understand their concern. But when trying to do one-heat nails, stopping to put in the hardy doesn't work for me. Do you leave the cutoff tool in as you are making nails, or do you find you can pull it in and out while working? Or do use some other approach like using a sharp anvil edge for making nicks instead of a cutoff tool?
My understanding was that for nail production back in the day, they made special nail-making stations that had a number of features to automate and speed up the process - but I don't fully understand how that was done.
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Curt Welch http://CurtWelch.Com /
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Curt Welch wrote: <snip>

I usually put the cutoff hardy into my vise and leave it there when I am making nails. I don't usually bring a post vise with me when I have to take a whole blacksmith setup. Instead, I have a steel topped table that supports a mid sized machinists type vise. The vise is at the corner closest to the forge, so I only need to turn slightly from the anvil to use it.

Good point! Go back to the webpage and look again.
http://www.spaco.org/Blacksmithing/Nails/Nailmaking.htm
I just added a couple of pix of an Austrian Nail Maker's setup.
Pete Stanaitis ------------------------
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Yeah, that sounds safer than working around the hardy on the anvil as long as the vise is set up near enough to the anvil.

Not exactly sure what I'm seeing in that picture. Seems to be an odd high and narrow anvil piece in the middle for drawing out the nail, with the nail header located on the edge. Does the header move at all once it's wedged in? It looks like it doesn't so I guess you stick the nail in from the top and twist it off? Then when it cools, tap it out from the bottom?
One setup I heard described seemed to have a spring (or maybe a lever?) that somehow made it easy to pop out the previous nail. So I think you would notch and taper a nail, put it in the header and finish it. Then start on the next nail, and when it was time to put it in the header, you would tap the spring (or lever) which would pop out the (now cooled) previous nail before inserting the next one. Or maybe the cutoff hardy was someone associated with the lever so as you notch the nail head, it pops out the previous nail from the header at the same time?
I've heard described a notched cutoff hardy that was dull on the top edge but sharp in the notch. This eliminates the need to carefully notch the head - you place it there and give it one good blow to notch it. You can't hit it too hard because the notch limits how much of the head you can cut.
I've also heard described a stepped anvil surface for shouldering the nail. Again, the step is just the right offset to help correctly establish the shoulder depth so you don't need to be as careful and accurate with your hammer blows as you would be when you shoulder on the edge of the anvil. I would think another step to act as a depth gauge stop would be useful there to make sure you were placing the shoulder in exactly the same place for every nail as well.
Do you prefer to make nails from round or square stock? I've just always used square because that's what I was first shown.

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Curt Welch wrote:

No. It looks like it doesn't so I guess you stick the nail in from

Yes, and Yes.

We used to head nails and bolts this way: http://www.steinfels-kg.de/maschinen3_M08I6105_M08_en.html

I usually use 1/4" square stock. I used to have to buy it in cold rolled form because suppliers didn't stock it hot rolled. Of course, cold rolled is twice as expensive. So, to keep the cost down, I went to my favorite fab shop/local stock supplier and asked them to shear 6 foot wide sheets of 1/4" A36 to 1/4" wide. That worked out real well. I did not care that there's a little twist in the pieces, or that there was a "shear" edge. I do't remember the cost, but I think they only charged me the going rate for selling steel at the time, 50 cents per pound! But, some years ago, one of our local professional blacksmiths bought a ton or two of hot rolled (what he THOUGHT) was 1/4" square. He needed it to go into one of those German twisting/embossing machines to make baskets. Unfortunately for him, it was 6mm, not 1/4". The dies he had for making 1/2" square basket sets wouldn't handle the 10 thou undersize stock. To make a long story even longer, he decided to sell the stock for $2.00 per twelve foot piece, and guess who now has a lifetime supply. If I even needed any 1/4" square again, I'd go for the sheared stock. At one point, I proudly told a club member who has done significant research on early American blacksmithing, as he said "that's the way they did it back in the early 1800's or so"! "The old is forever new", I guess.
I have seen others use round stock. I think you'd save a couple of blows per nail in a production environment, but other than that, I don't see a real reason not to use it. I just don't do it that way, either. I always have the square stock around for other things, anyway. And, I once heard that one of the blacksmith apprentice's jobs was to make "nail rod" from whatever scrap there was out back, so it would be faster to make it to square and not have to waste heat and labor to round it up.
Pete Stanaitis -------------------
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This sucks I can't access your site. Charles
spaco wrote:

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What, spaco banned in Australia! :)
Both URLs work for me BTW.
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I'm sorry Charles. We had 2 Australian visitors today, and 22 for the month, so I don't know what to suggest. You might try just going to www.spaco.org , clicking the blacksmithing link, then the Nail Making link at the lower right.
Were you able to see the German link to the modern nail headers?
Pete Stanaitis ------------------
Chilla wrote:

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I can see the German site (I have no idea why I included it in my post???).
You site even the index page, I just can't get through. I eve put your address in my host file... still no good :-(
I did a tracert and it craps out at step 11
Do you have the naem of the guy in Australia making nails?
Regards Charles
spaco wrote:

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Maybe you could find out more by going to these guys (you probably know about them, anyway):
AUSTRALIAN BLACKSMITHS ASSOCIATION (VICTORIA)
*
Pres: Stephen Nicoll PO Box 408 Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia (03) 94405686 *
Ed: Paul Mills PO Box 542 Hurstbridge, Victoria 3099 Australia +61(0)397148883 snipped-for-privacy@abavic.org.au *
http://www.abavic.org.au
or: BLACKSMITHS ASSOCIATION of WESTERN AUSTRALIA
*
President / Editor: Brian Keenan 12 Padstow St. Karrinyup, Western Australia, 6018 (08) 9447 9135 snipped-for-privacy@tpg.com.au *
Public Relations: Jo Mazzarol 38 Imperial Circuit Madeley, Western Australia, 6065 ph / fax: (08) 9302 6445 snipped-for-privacy@argo.net.au
Last month's visitors were from: Sydney, Perth, Nerang,Melbourne and Adelaide
Pete Stanaitis ------------------------------------------------------------------
Chilla wrote: <snip>

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Thanks Dude :-)
spaco wrote:

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Doesnt appear to be your end Charles as I get the same result from Adelaide Bigpond - crosses the Pacific around jump 10 but dies at jump 17 at a provider which appears to be Airstream-Communications. I'm also Ok to the German link though.
trace goes root@Home-desktop:/home/mike# traceroute www.spaco.org traceroute to www.spaco.org (64.33.128.149), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
6 TenGigE0-8-0-0.fli-core1.Adelaide.telstra.net (203.50.120.129)                         19.022 ms 13.184 ms 13.424 ms 7 Pos0-4-1-0.win-core1.Melbourne.telstra.net (203.50.6.185)                          31.779 ms 31.991 ms 32.206 ms 8 Bundle-Pos1.ken-core4.Sydney.telstra.net (203.50.6.21)                          49.915 ms 50.127 ms 50.316 ms 9 Bundle-Ether1.pad-gw2.Sydney.telstra.net (203.50.6.29)                          49.103 ms 49.315 ms 49.525 ms 10 203.50.13.70 (203.50.13.70) 48.169 ms 48.525 ms 48.737 ms
11 i-14-0-0.wil-core02.bx.reach.com (202.84.140.237)                                 230.680 ms 230.941 ms 231.094 ms 12 i-1-1.tlot03.bi.reach.com (202.84.251.234)                                 203.264 ms 187.868 ms 188.073 ms 13 * * * 14 10gigabitethernet2-1.core1.lax1.he.net (72.52.92.121) 198.624 ms 10gigabitethernet1-2.core1.dal1.he.net (72.52.92.58) 222.755 ms 223.062 ms 15 10gigabitethernet1-2.core1.dal1.he.net (72.52.92.58) 222.583 ms 213.785 ms 10gigabitethernet1-4.core1.chi1.he.net (72.52.92.177) 279.548 ms 16 Airstream-Communications-LLC.gigabitethernet3-10.core1.chi1.he.net (216.66.73.38) 292.915 ms 10gigabitethernet1-4.core1.chi1.he.net (72.52.92.177) 276.035 ms 276.251 ms 17 Airstream-Communications-LLC.gigabitethernet3-10.core1.chi1.he.net (216.66.73.38) 282.082 ms 282.328 ms air-camp-sw-cisc-1-2.airstreamcomm.net (64.33.146.181) 282.783 ms 18 * air-camp-sw-cisc-1-2.airstreamcomm.net (64.33.146.181) 282.452 ms * 19 * * *
regards Mike
Chilla wrote:

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It sucks arse, these things usually clear themselves. Regards Charles
mike wrote:

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Sorry, Charles and thanks to Mike. I have asked my internet provider to look into this.
Pete Stanaitis -----------------
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For the other Ozzies.
It seems that Airstream own a server between Australia and Pete's site.
After a little investigation it appears that Airstream have blocked all traffic coming from ".au", due to a lot of spam coming out of the country.
I suspect that the spam is actually faked email addresses, as sending unsolicited spam is an offense in Australia. A smart host would collect names and forward them to the senders ISP, or to the relevant Australian authorities.
I guess I'm a little grumpy.
Options for Pete if the problem is not resolved :-
* Move to another hosting provider. * Mirror www.spaco.org on an Australian server. * Have no further Australian audience.
Hopefully Airstream will grow a brain, and the problem will be sorted out.
Seriously cutting off a whole country is ludicrous, and is bad business, for internet users, customers, and for Airstream itself.
Regards Charles P.S. I need a nice relaxing tea.
spaco wrote:

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I had a friend in Australia try it as well and he couldn't access it from his Telstra account (biggest ISP in AU he says).
Curt

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Curt Welch wrote:

Hopefully something will be worked out.
It's a very arbitrary decision by Airstream, and could see them getting sued for loss of business.
Regards Charles
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Chilla wrote:

Curt I was able to access www.spaco.org today, worth the wait! Thanks Pete and Airstream. Mike
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mike wrote:

Thank God!
I will be burning my eyes out soon. :-)
Regards Charles
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The traceroute dies at Airstream for me as well. But that's Pete's web server provider which probably just means they have a firewall blocking the traceroute packets. I can access the web site with no problem even though the traceroute stops there.

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