I am attempting to drill through some vintage square cut nails I
have been collecting.
These nails have been hardened and need to be annealed before you
drill them. There are several ways to anneal them.
If you have a kiln, or access to a kiln, heat the nail to
approximately 1400 degrees Farenheidt, then let it cool at the rate
of 36 F per hour. It will be annealed and will drill easily. This
will take approximately 40 hours, but it will give the greatest
If you don’t have a kiln, use a bucket of kitty litter, or a bucket
of sand, heat the nail to cherry red, then put it in the sand to
cool. It helps if you have the sand hot before putting the nail in
it. The annealing process is better the longer it takes the steel to
If you plan on using the nail later as a nail, harden it by heating
it red hot, then drop it in water. It will be brittle, but hard.
After you have hardened it, it will be necessary to temper it.
To temper it, buff a portion of the nail so you can see the shiny
steel. Put the nail in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour, it
should turn straw color where it was buffed. The colors go from
light yellow to brown to blue as you raise the temperature. I make
Native American stamps, and my oven turns them yellow at 400
degrees, and blue at 475 degrees. You will have to experiment for
your oven settings.
Love and God Bless