FAQ

Do you have a catalog?
What forms of payment do you accept?

How do you measure the length of a cut tack?
How do you measure the length of a cut nail?
Where do you measure from?
Why are tack sizes listed in ounces?
What are penny nails?
What are the features of cut tacks and nails?
Why are the smaller tacks more expensive than the larger ones?
What do the terms “blued” and “sterilized” mean for Upholstery Tacks?
Beware of Imitators. 
A Special Thank You!

Do you have a catalog?

Sorry, no.  We have never produced a catalog.

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What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover.

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How do you measure the length of a cut tack?

Tacks are measured in 1/16".  If you are looking for a ½” tack we will send you one that measures 8/16"

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How do you measure the length of a cut nail?

Nails are measured in 1/8".  If you are looking for a ½” nail we will send you one that measures 4/8". 

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Where do you measure from?

The size of the head would determine if it is included in the measurement.  If the tack or nail has a small head the measurement would be overall, head included.  If it has a large head the measurement would begin under the head. 

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Why are tack sizes listed in ounces?

The ounce is a form of measurement that refers to the thickness of leather the tack is used to clinch.  Please do not confuse the size of the tack with the weight of the box. 

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What are penny nails?

The term “penny” is an old English term based on how many pennies were required to purchase 100 nails.  Today, some tradesmen used it as a form of measurement of length.  It does not take into consideration the gauge of steel or wire used, style of head, shank, or type of point.

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What are the features of cut tacks and nails?

Our cut tacks and nails are made from flat stock and manufactured on machinery dating back to the 1800’s.  The flat stock and cutting process gives the tack or nail a square shank and a tapered point.  Traditionally cut tacks had sharp points, and cut nails had blunt points, with the exception of clinching & soling nails.

Cut tacks produce an extremely sharp point.  This is where the term “sharp as a tack” came from.  The style of point is designed to “J clinch”.  The point of cut tacks, when hit against a hard surface, will curl back in the shape of a J, increasing the holding power. 

Cut nails with a blunt point are less likely to split wood because it cuts through the wood instead of separating the wood fibers.  Some people try to replicate the effect on a wire nail by tapping the point to make it blunt.  Please note that the head style on cut tacks and nails will not be perfectly round.  It is very difficult to produce a round head out of square stock.  Also, due to the cutting process of the raw material there may be a slight variation in length and head diameter. 

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Why are the smaller tacks more expensive than the larger ones?

Pricing is based upon the speed of the machine and the number of hours it takes to produce 100 pounds.  The smaller sizes require a larger number of pieces to make one pound.  When sold by the pound, the smaller sizes are more expensive, but when you divide the price by the number of pieces in a pound the smaller sizes are cheaper per piece.

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What do the terms “blued” and “sterilized” mean for Upholstery Tacks?

The term “blued” refers to a process in which the tacks are heat-treated after cleaning them, changing the color to a bluish tint.  The color is permanent.  The thought was that by bluing the tacks it darkens, and dulls the finish so that it could not be seen through the upholstery.  The process also helps open the pours of the steel, allowing the tacks to grab better.  It does not inhibit rust.  Some companies chemically blue their tacks, but ours is done the same way it was done over 185 years ago.


The term “sterilized” is exactly what it says; the heat treatment uses such a high temperature that it burns off any residue from processing, leaving a clean product. 

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Beware of Imitators. 

Long ago there were many well-known tack factories across the United States.  Over the past several decades we  have watched them all, one by one, close there doors.  Looking on the World Wide Web you would not know this.  Atlas Tack Company formerly of Fairhaven, MA stopped producing cut tacks and nails in the 1960s.  W.W. Cross Company formerly of Jaffrey, NH stopped production in 1993.  Holland Manufacturing formerly of Baltimore, MD closed in approximately 2002.  If you are purchasing tacks from these companies they are either really old or imported tacks repacked and passed off as domestic.  D. B. Gurney Company is the only remaining cut tack and nail manufacturer in the United States still producing products for a variety of specialty trades such as Upholstery, Shoe Repair, Canoe Builders, Basketry, etc.  

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A Special Thank You!

Thank you to David at Vallancourt Studios for all your efforts on this tremendous photography project.

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