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Cut nails were one of the important factors in the increase in balloon framing beginning in the 1830s and thus the decline of timber framing with wooden joints.Though still used for historical renovations, and for heavy-duty applications, such as attaching boards to masonry walls, cut nails are much less common today than wire nails.These crafts people used a heated square iron rod that they forged before they hammered the sides which formed a point.After reheating and cutting off, the blacksmith or nailor inserted the hot nail into an opening and hammered it.(Workmen called slitters cut up iron bars to a suitable size for nailers to work on.From the late 16th century, manual slitters disappeared with the rise of the slitting mill, which cut bars of iron into rods with an even cross-section, saving much manual effort.) Families often had small nail-manufacturing setups in their homes; during bad weather and at night, the entire family might work at making nails for their own use and for barter.
For example, the Type A cut nails were sheared from an iron bar type guillotine using early machinery.
In 1913, 90% of manufactured nails were wire nails.
Nails went from being rare and precious to being a cheap mass-produced commodity.
Nails are made in a great variety of forms for specialized purposes. Other types of nails include pins, tacks, brads, spikes, and cleats.
Nails are typically driven into the workpiece by a hammer or pneumatic nail gun.
A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally. The Roman army, for example, left behind seven tons of nails when it evacuated the fortress of Inchtuthil in Perthshire in the United Kingdom in 86 to 87 CE.