Ewwww! Clinched nails make me curse!!

practise (1 of 1)
I practiced with several nails before attempting to install the battens.

So it was time to attach the battens to the lid using the clinched nail technique.

So I cleaned up the battens, drilled the pilot holes and clamped it in place.  I also ground the nail tips on the bench grinder as described below.  All good to go, right?

curses crack (1 of 1)
The larger nail cracked the top as I tried to insert it.

demo tools (1 of 1)

As I drove the 2 1/2″ nail through the batten and top, a piece of the top cracked and broke.  ARGGGGGH!

I had to get the demo tools out and regroup.

After switching to 2″ inch nails, enlarging the pilot holes and deepening the counter bore ->Success!!!

One other thing I’d do differently  .. make the moulding on the lid bigger, say 1/2″.  That way the nail is in the round over and not at the edge of the round over and in the thick part of the lid.

And heat treating the nails and sharpening the points really seemed to help the clinching procedure.

Some of the tricks I used:

10 thoughts on “Ewwww! Clinched nails make me curse!!”

  1. I understand your frustration and have thus never bothered to use clinched, or even cut nails. That said, the chest is looking great. Well done.

  2. I have done a fair bit of clenching with Tremont cut nails, and it definitely is better with wood softer than poplar. Works best in pine and cedar. It is similar to pounding dowels through a plate in that it is conceptually very satisfying but actually doing it is kind of not great fun.

  3. You’re mixing styles here Marilyn by using high style Mahogany (ish) wood on an average Joe furniture form like a 6 board chest. Hooray for your inclusive attempt to erase the divide between common and aristocratic styles with the lowly clinch nail. Just remember your noble cause every time that African wood cracks.

  4. Hey Marilyn,

    This had to be a disappointing experience. You’ve put a lot of work into this chest. I don’t want to pile on “after the fact” advice here, but I’m with Shannon. I haven’t traveled the museums like Schwarz, but I would bet that most nailing and clinching was done in pine furniture. A chest as beautiful as this, I think I would go with hide glue.

    Don’t let this impact your enthusiasm for the project. We’re all still watching.


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