Wood, hammer, nails.

Like the video series above shows, a nice cabin can be put up with basically just a hammer and some nails.

A lot can be done with a hammer and some nails. Screws, ‘battens’ are all the rage these days, but nails are still really good too. There are construction nails and they are often stainless steel, or galvanised.
Both are rust resistant, but stainless is extra rust resistant and so is useful for coastal locations, for example, but stainless costs more.

There are different nail lengths and different weight hammers and also the length of the hammer can vary. Basically different sized hammers are suited to different nail sizes. Good thing about this age-old method is that it doesnt require electricity.

There is soft wood and hard wood. Also there’s moisture content of the wood in the same way a sponge can be bloated and water logged or dry hard and a bit brittle and shrunken, wood has these characteristics. In my opinion hammering a nail into very dry hardwood is possible, but more likely to cause the wood to crack and more likely for the nail to bend. Sometimes pre-drilling is needed. Moist hardwoods – like straight from the saw mill, can often be hammered into without any problems. I reckon also when the moist hardwood dries it shrinks and further grips the nail all the more.

Wood’s moisture content will affect the finished result. For example a fence build with ‘wet’ treated pine fence palings fixed side by side: After six months the palings have dried out, there will be almost 1cm gaps in between. Overlapping the palings solves the shrinkage problem.

TLDR: moisture content changes can result in changed dimensions. softwood such as pine or hardwood such as (here in Australia) red gum can be used. Softwoods are a bit less sturdy than hardwoods, so more material is required for the same application, but both will work very well.

Older pre-1970 building methods often used hardwood and nails. One trick is to pay close attention to a/ what species of wood was used and b/ what nail type did they use. Stainless and galvanised nails were popular, or iron nails if its really old work, like 1800’s and usually with a certain head type and a certain length. Nails may be in metric or imperial length, for example equivalent lengths might be 75mm or 3 inch.

Also the consideration of how well a species goes in the ground if its a post. Some species such as Cyprus pine, can make good posts, because they are able to survive well in the ground. Red gum is a hardwood used for house posts, because its so strong and because it performs well in the ground over time.

Wood, hammer, nails.

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