RWW 121: Adam Cherubini Says Nails Are OK

Nailed Furniture by Adam Cherubini WIA 2011Here is a short audio clip from Adam Cherubini’s seminar on Nailed Furniture at WIA 2011. This was the one seminar that I sat through in it’s entirety and it was worth every second. I plan to dig into this a little further and expect to see some cut nails flying on this podcast in the coming months. Better get your stock of cut nails from the Tremont Nail company now because I think Adam may have just “Schwarz’d” their current inventory.

Enjoy this peek into what was one of the highlights of the entire Woodworking in America weekend. Thanks Adam!

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For more information make sure you read Adam’s blog over at Popular Woodworking.  In particular he has two posts about Boarded Furniture worth reading.

I hope you will join me and encouraging Adam to write more about this topic in the future.  Leave a comment and spur him on.

10 Responses to “RWW 121: Adam Cherubini Says Nails Are OK”

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  1. jmk89 says:

    The audio isn’t playing for me. Anyone else have this problem?

  2. Nails rock! Where can I get more info and find his blog/website. Thanks for this Shannon, really informative.

    • Shannon says:

      Martin, you defnitely need to keep up with Adam Cherubini’s blog then. He has great posts and you will pass a weekend just reading all he has to say. Adam was clear to say that not much has been written on this topic and he can’t imagine writing a book about it any time either. I can see him expounding on it in the future via his blog or possibly in the Arts & Mysteries column in Popular Woodworking. His key takeaway however was that this furniture exists all around us and we just have to look for it and study it when we find it.

  3. Renee (raruss1) says:

    Snobbery still going on here. What is so special about ye olde naile — there are Kreg jigs and brad nailers that put out furniture fast and would be on par to old school nailed furniture. If a cut nail is ok then pneumatic brads and pocket screws are too.
    Same as there is snobbery about tools. Why are fences attached to hand planes or saw guides laughed as training wheels whereas router planes and miter boxes are ok. What is a router plane, but a plane with training wheels to keep you from making a mistake.
    Just had to say it

    • Shannon says:

      Renee, you raise and excellent point. To be fair Adam focused a lot on older style nailed furniture but was clear to say that these styles exist all the way up to today. (Ikea) He made no distinction between his older style or the modern style stating that “if his wife likes it” then he will build it.

      I know I have been guilty of scoffing at the hand tool jig because I feel that training wheels should come off at some point, but considering your perspective I suppose anything other than an axe and chisel is some form of training wheel right. Thanks for sharing this point of view, it is something we should all keep in mind.

  4. Personally I really like what Adam is saying here. In general, I have always believed that people should do the kind of woodworking that makes them happy, be it glued, screwed, or nailed. But what I will have to chuckle at is if all of a sudden, people who previously railed against metal fasteners start using nails in their work. Then I see Renee’s point on the issue of “snobbery”. Whether people start to adopt a “nails or ok, but the Kreg jig is still a 4-letter word” mindset remains to be seen. But it would be awfully hypocritical. Well, unless your primary goal is historical accuracy.

    If you were the type of woodworker who doesn’t like metal fasteners and prefers to make all wooden joinery, then Adam’s talk about nails probably won’t change your perspective much. Nails are still pieces of metal making holes in your projects. And while they are definitely more historically “romantic”, I personally see them as a very close sibling to pocket screws and brads.

    So I say, if you like screws, use screws. If you like nails, use nails. And if you want to avoid metal fasteners, avoid them. You can still make great fine furniture using any of these methods. And if you want to use metal fasteners, you don’t necessarily need to wait for permission from a respected authority to use them.

  5. Jeremiah says:

    Renee makes a good point. However, I still have a hard time dragging out my brad nailer or my kreg jig because it somehow feels ‘cheap’. I know that’s completely in my head because screws hold very well but I seem to have developed some sort of internal bias against anything that isn’t mortise and tenon or box jointed or something more ‘traditional’. Good or bad? I’m not sure,but I feel a lot happier with my own work when the piece is ready and the kreg jig and pneumatic tools are still on the shelf gathering dust. For my part at least, it is a form of snobbery, at least in my attitude because I feel like I’ve graduated beyond those construction techniques and they are somehow beneath me. I think it’s the same reason I refuse to make picture frames anymore. It’s fits though, I’m definitely a snob about cooking. My onions diced with a chef’s knife are infinitely better than my sister’s chopped onions that were done in a food processor :)

  6. Renee (raruss1) says:

    I think the ‘fine’ in fine woodworking is not the joints or tools that are used but the care and craftsmanship that goes into making it the best item for the use it was intended.
    I did not want to denigrate anyone, Adam is talking completely from a historical perspective. His point of view is consistent with what he is doing.
    I just wanted to point out that modern fasteners are perfectly fine for modern stuff.

    I think we sometimes get lost in ‘what we are ‘supposed to do’ when making furniture and lose sight of what we ‘want to do’.

  7. nateswoodworks says:

    I agree with whatever makes you happy. I personaly don’t use any fasteners in my furniture (except hinge screws when needed of course, better than doors falling off!!)but that is what floats my boat and anyone who condems someone for their type of sailing should hit the woodworkers iceburg and be sunk themselves. We are in this for the joy, as long as you are happy driving square nails or kreg screws go for it.

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