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Cut nail

The only downside to using cut nails is they can split the work, especially when used near the ends of boards. While a properly sized pilot hole will usually prevent splits, there are times when the gnarly grain of the wood wants to split anyway.

Cut nails also will split your work if you use a nail size that is just too big for the boards at hand. And that was my problem today.

I’m building a nailed-together tool chest to create a manual for my students in two upcoming classes. The joints at the corners called for a 4d or 5d nail, but all I had on hand was 6d or 7d. Plus, one section of the pine boards had some crystallized sap, which tends to deflect nails and create splits.

The solution? Bar clamps.

By clamping across the joint you greatly reduce the chance of the boards splitting when you nail them in. If you look at the photo above you will see two different clamping strategies at work.


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