Acrylic? Gel? French Tips? Nope. Square Cut Steel. Never thought I could love them so much.
Back in the era the Handsome Hollow barn was originally built, nails were hand wrought in iron by a blacksmith or, increasingly, made by one of the first nail fabricating machines.
Besides their great look and shape, a square cut nail, I'm told, holds better and is less likely to split wood than the wire nails we typically use. We'll find out if that's true when our siding is installed in a couple weeks.
There's a place in Massachusetts, Tremont Nails, that specializes in steel cut nails. They're still using nail machines that are over 125 years old. Gotta love a factory that looks like this.
Because nail guns aren't designed to work with square cut nails each one is hammer driven. To get everything secured at Handsome Hollow we'll need about 50 pounds, or roughly 8000 nails!
Cut nails do look fantastic. It's too bad most of the nail gets hidden away in the wood.
For more in depth info on the history of these nails there's a great post at Buildingmoxie.com: http://www.buildingmoxie.com/2010/07/old-square-nails/