To make a wrought-iron nail, iron ore is heated with carbon (to create wrought iron) and shaped into square rods.To make a nail, a blacksmith heats the rod in a forge and tapers the end of the bar while keeping the cross section square.In woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped object of metal (or wood, called a treenail or "trunnel") which is used as a fastener, as a peg to hang something, or sometimes as a decoration.Generally nails have a sharp point on one end and a flattened head on the other, but headless nails are available.Next, the smith cuts off the taper, and inserts it into a nail heading tool with a square hole.
A nail holds materials together by friction in the axial direction and shear strength laterally.The point of the nail is also sometimes bent over or clinched after driving to prevent pulling out.Until around 1800 artisans known as nailers or nailors made nails by hand – note the surname Naylor.(Workmen called slitters cut up iron bars to a suitable size for nailers to work on.
Nails date back at least to Ancient Egypt — bronze nails found in Egypt have been dated 3400 BC. The term "penny", as it refers to nails, probably originated in medieval England to describe the price of a hundred nails.Nails themselves were sufficiently valuable and standardized to be used as an informal medium of exchange.