Tiny angled saw cuts were followed by careful cutting by a sharpened chisel on both sides to avoid splintering.

One board had tiny tails, and the other had the larger pins, carefully measured to match and fit together exactly.

Iron ore and carbon heated together and then cooled created wrought iron, from which a nail length piece was cut and hammered on four sides to create a point.

Hand-wrought nails have tapered but irregular and crooked square shafts.

Note the flat spot on the shaft, the irregular threads, blunt tip and the off center slot.

The screw in the center is machine made around 1830.

The type of dovetailed joint, especially in drawers, reveals much about furniture construction and dating.

With just a little study of these examples, it is easy to spot true hand made construction vs. The name dovetail comes from the appearance of the joint, resembling the triangle shape of a bird's tail.

When dating a piece of antique furniture, one of the most important clues to its history is often overlooked.

A nail may not be a noticeable style feature, but looking at them carefully can help you authenticate the age of a primitive or antique furniture piece before you buy.

These nails have heads known as rose heads, a faceted and shallow pyramid-shaped design created from four blows of an ironsmith's hammer.