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Invisible Nailing Kit

Blind or “sliver” nailing is an old technique of hiding nail heads in finish carpentry. You raise a thin sliver of wood, leaving it attached; drive a nail, and set it in the depression left behind; and glue the sliver back into place — no filler needed. Lee Valley designed a modern tool to help make this antique practice a bit easier.

Made of stainless steel and brass, the specialized plane clamps a 1/4″ high-carbon steel chisel at a 15° angle. The gouge-shaped edges of the hardwood-handled chisel minimize tear-out and leave a clean shaving. To change the thickness of the shaving, just adjust how far the chisel protrudes from the sole of the plane.

Along with the non-marring plane and the chisel, the Veritas Invisible Nailing kit includes a small container of fish glue.  For only $28, this kit’ll help you lend an air of professionalism to your woodworking projects .

Note: Check out page 432 of Woodworking for Beginners: A Manual for Amateurs By Charles Gardner Wheeler at Google Books for a 100-year-old description of “sliver” nailing. While you’re at it, take a look at some of the other great woodworking techniques from 1907 that this great, public-domain book describes.

Invisible Nailing Kit [Veritas]
Invisible Nailing Kit [Lee Valley]


7 Responses to Old-School Finish Nailing

  1. fred says:

    Is this really an antique practice. I’m no expert but did not think that wire brads and wire nails came into production in “antique” times – or that nails were much used in the construction of fine furniture (sure they were OK for rough pieces, casework backs etc.

    The real modern equivalent is the 23 gauge pinner. We use our Grex pinners a great deal and the pins can not be seen – unless you know whre they are and really look – but then again we do not make fine furniture.

  2. Antique – Belonging to, existing, or occurring in times long past.

    Well Fred, if I can find references to it in a 100 year old book, I’d call that antique. You’re probably right about there not being to many wire nails 100 years ago, but all the more reason to hide the heads.

    I’m not sure where you get fine furniture from, unless an earlier version of the post accidentally got out on the RSS feed early (Similar things have happened before). I changed it to finish carpentry in the final version after thinking the same thing you did.

    There’s somewhat of a counter power tool movement I’ve noticed in the back woods of the Internet — to go back to using hand tools. I would think this would be right up those people’s alley.

  3. scubasteve says:

    I think this is pretty dang cool. 🙂

  4. forlerm98022 says:

    i keep one just to look at just {plane} neat

  5. ned.ludd says:

    @Benjamen: FWIW It’s not always just about using the oldest tools, it’s about using the proper tool for the job. Sometimes a hand tool is quicker, easier, and more fun than spending the time setting up a shop full of power tools, especially for just a single cut or hole here or there.

    FWIW, nails have their place in finely crafted goods. I suggest those that don’t feel the same way take a look at what Chris Schwarz over at Pop Woodworking has to say about it. I believe there are some excerpts from his videos on woodworkingchannel.com

  6. ned.ludd:
    I meant no disrespect when I said back roads of the internet. I have nothing but respect for guys who either use hand tools exclusively or in combination with power tools. I was a little hurried when I wrote the comment.

    What I meant was that some of the really good sites are hard to find. I had this great site where this guy built woodworkers benches by hand and taught his 10 year old son to build his own bench. I lost the bookmark and can’t find it. A few years ago I was really gung-ho about hand tools and tried to copy one of his bench designs but gave up about a 1/10th of the way through and finished it with power tools.

    I guess that my experience is that I’ve found it’s cheaper to buy and use the power tools then to purchase hand tools good enough to actually use on a regular basis. Have you seen what a good plane or set of chisels go for? Give me a router and a good set of bits.

  7. fred says:

    Re Benjamen Johnson Says:

    In today’s marketplace there are some distinctions typically made between classes and types of woodworking. Based on the craftsmanship that we deliver and the commensurate pricing structure that I use, we do both mid-market and some pretty up-market cabinetry, plumbing and other rennovation work. I think that I’m associated with a very fine custom cabinet and millwork shop (that works only with installation firms that they know and trust). In this professional regard – we use both power and hand tools and (as an example) my carpenters all carry a well-honed first-class (Lie-Nielsen or Veritas) block plane in their kits. We like to think that we do not need to take out a router – using a chisel and a mallet to cut a single strike-plate mortise. All this being said – when we are installing (as an example) 50 feet of rope trim – we think that a pneumatic pinner is the way to go.

    While I know of no one who does plumbing as a hobby, on our own time – some of us are weekend woodworkers (you would think we had enough!).
    Over the 40 or so years that I’ve tried my hand at woodworking and furniture making with increasing success – I’ve moved more and more to the use of hand tools. Some of this is beacuse new quality hand tools have once again become available from companies like Lie-Nielsen, Veritas, Wenzloff, Ray Isles etc. Some of this is also because of the Internet – which has allowed us to gain access to sources for these premium products – and has probably encouraged manufacturers by providing the needed market. But- a lot of my hand tool use is a result of the good feeling that I get from working the wood in a closely-connected way. Sure, not every dovetail I chop with a Ray Isle chisel comes out uniform – and I may need to do a lot of fitting – but I find this fun and rewarding.

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