How do you clench copper nails with a Clenching Iron?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by newboaty, Jan 9, 2007.

  1. newboaty
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    newboaty Junior Member

    Hi,

    Can somebody please expain how nails are clenched we are replacing some of the planked nails.I have read that you can use a clenching iron,the new nails are 90mm by 3.66mm,will the clenching iron work on nails this size?

    Newboaty
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The clench is inserted into a pre-drilled hole (often made with an awl on particularly thin stock), which is slightly smaller then the diameter of the nail. The iron is firmly held on the pointy end side of the planking (inside the boat) and the clench is driven into the face of the iron with a hammer from outside the boat. This causes the clench to bend over, forming a curling "U" shape, who's point re-enters the wood on the iron side. This quick description doesn't teach you how difficult (at first) it is to control the urge to "rebound" the iron when you hit the clench. It takes some practice and I strongly recommend you do so on some scrap planking stock. There are many little tricks that professionals enjoy that make the task easier. You'll learn how to "talk" the clench into turning the direction you want, which often depends on the material you're fastening, when to bend with the grain or across it (to prevent splitting), how hard to drive the clench, etc. as you practice on some scraps. This practice is quite important, because it's easy to screw up a clench job and a quite difficult job to repair (one of the most difficult).
     
  3. newboaty
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    newboaty Junior Member

    Par,

    Many Thanks for your reply

    When you say "The clench is inserted into a pre-drilled hole (often made with an awl on particularly thin stock), which is slightly smaller then the diameter of the nail."

    Is the clench the nail?

    Newboaty
     
  4. byankee
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    byankee Junior Member

  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Most difficulties with beginners trying to clench a plank are: the wrong size clench (a clench is the nail looking thingie) for the thicknesses being worked with, bending over the point in the wrong direction, turning the point too soon, which leads to a sloppy fit or a deformed clench (bends inside the planking), striking with too big a hammer (you'll want a upholstery size hammer for the job you have in mind) and using too heavy a blow with the hammer. Quick, easy taps and practice with the correct length nail and weight hammer. A deformed nail can't be seen, because it buckles inside the planking. Heavy hammer blows will fatigue the clench point, making it very weak, with little holding power. Practice, trust me, practice. Use the same size planking stock to practice on. Did I mention you need to practice?
     

  6. newboaty
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: Queensland

    newboaty Junior Member

    Par,
    I practiced on some timber similar to the planking today and the nails (clenches)where going every way except the way I wanted them to,However I will stick with it.

    Byankee,


    Many thanks for the link.

    Newboaty
     
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