Clenching a nail – sometimes spelled “clinching” – is an essential traditional woodworking
skill. But until you are clenching like a pro, there are some baby steps you can take.
In the video above, I show how I clenched the 4d cut headless brads from Tremont Nail Co. that secure the battens to the flat-panel door of the Shaker cabinet I built for the February 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The battens ensure the door will remain flattish during service, and the nails allow you to avoid some kind of nutty joinery backflips, such as a sliding dovetail.
While there are many ways to clench nails (using two hammers, a special bucking block or your superpowers), these two methods are the ones that I prefer.
— Christopher Schwarz
Like Traditional Furniture? I do.
• One of the best ways to train your eye to build nice looking American stuff is to look at old books. For the money, you cannot beat used copies of Wallace Nutting’s “A Furniture Treasury.” Vols. I and II are the most useful. The books are cheap and widely available – check Abebooks.com.
• “Early American Country Furniture”
by Denis Hambucken is a great book with 22 projects to build. Hambucken has a nice eye and the pieces are fairly straightforward to build. And tons and tons of good illustrations.
• Aldren A. Watson’s “Country Furniture” is a book I’ve read many times, not just for the furniture, but because Watson gets into the head of the early American furniture maker and discusses the social and economic factors that influenced him. It’s a mighty fun book to read, and Watson’s illustrations are excellent.