Bristol Carpenters’ Nails 1492–1586

By W. L. Goodman, published November 1973


There were seventeen types of handmade nails named in the Bristol Mayors’ accounts.  Unfortunately, the length is not given but can be inferred from the price.  The most common nail was the cawfote, cawfott, calfatte or calfot nail.  Calfatting means caulking but the name may refer to the large nails used to batten the hatches, or possibly the cow’s foot shape.  Pompnaill  may refer to large headed nails for pump leather, overloppe nayles are probably clenched nails and a five-stroke nayl would, unless these carpenters were very strong, require a pilot hole bored.

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Filed under: Tudors | English Channel
Subjects include: Leisure & Small Craft | Shipbuilding & Design

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