Dating square cut nails
Available through is a very active community of date nail collectors and traders. (b) The standard solution of copper sulphate is prepared by dissolving 36 parts of crystallized copper sulphate in 100 parts of water, then adding enough cupric oxide to neutralize any free acid.
A good introduction is through Jeff Oaks' website, Nail Scott Weed maintains a site specializing in pole nails: 1 *USE OF DATING NAILS. The solution is filtered or allowed to settle and decanted, then diluted with water until its specific gravity is 1.186 at 65° F.
(3) In addition to the use of the dating nail, each tie should be stamped with the year, at the treating plant, before treatment, and, preferably, should be stamped on both ends. While a sample is being tested, the temperature of the standard solution shall at no time be less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit nor more than 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Manual of the American Railway Engineering Association. 2 American Railway Engineering Association, Specifications for Dating Nails, 1931.
But because of their smooth shape, modern nails have less holding power than hand-forged or cut nails.
To determine if missing nails were antique or if they have been replaced with modern nails, look closely at the shape of the hole and the color of the wood around it.
Around 1880, a machine was invented that produced a round nail drawn from a piece of steel wire and formed with a perfectly circular, stamped head and a sharp, cut point.
Cabinetmakers continued to use cut nails into the start of the 20th century until stockpiles were used up, so you may find either type of nail in furniture between 18.
Like restorers of historical buildings, you can identify the period by the technology used to create the nails and unlock the past of furniture.
Between the end of the 18th and the end of the 19th centuries, nails were cut into shape.
In the early part of the period, nail-makers cut them by hand from a sheet of iron.
What many of us are unaware of, however, is that those old nails were actually superior in design to modern wire nails.
They have several times the holding power, and are less likely to cause wood to split.