Why do carpenters use nails AND glue to fasten stuff?

For example, on “The New Yankee Workshop”, Norm will invariably glue two pieces of wood together and put some nails into them. What’s the point of this? Is there some reason the glue or nails alone aren’t enough?

Norm has said it any number of times- He uses the nails to hold the thing together long enough for the glue to set. That is, the nails are a temporary solution to the final solution, the glue.

Don’t forget that Norm is somewhat oobligated to show off the plethora of tools made by his sponsors, Delta and Porter Cable, hence the ever present brad nailer. Norm is a very competent woodworker but more a carpenter than a cabinetmaker and that sometimes shows in how he approaches joinery. Clamps are the proper way to hold something together when gluing but Jorgensen hand screws aren’t as sexy and videogenic as the “punka-ffft” of a nail gun.

Glue is the final solution? <shudder>

Heh, Norm Abrams is a decent carpenter and his stuff would be fine in the context of site built casework, but a cabinetmaker he is not!
Hell, the first two years of my apprenticship, I did not use a power tool at all!! Admittedly, I worked for a real oldtimer, but it was worht it. I dont know how guys can work on wood with power tools when they dont know the basics like how to read a board, determine the rain structure/direction, etc. I have seen guys try to plane against the grain and not know why their work is all screwed up !!!

As for the OP, the reasons given are valid. Usually when there is no mechanical fastener like a mortise and tenon, dovetail, or even a lap, you need a fastener to provide a bit of strength till the glue sets. Also, the nail or screw or dowel also provides a great deal of resistance to shear and torque loads which is the one area where glue can fail.

I was only responding with what Norm has said himself- You use the nails as a temporary hold to allow time for the glue to set and do the main job of holding it all together. Me, personally? I don’t know dick about carpentry and assume he knows what he’s talking about. I couldn’t begin to say whether that’s right or wrong. What do you think the final solution is?

padeye, I think Cnote was amikng an oblique reference to the phrase “Final Solution” and its…connotations as it were.

That said, a good glue join is a fantastically strong method of joining two pieces of wood. In fact, a failure in a glued up piece will almost invariably be at a stress or weak spot in the wood itself, not the joint. For instance, one of my DR chairs just had a split in the top rail. the rail din’t fail at the glue joint, instead, it cracked at the point where the tenon and shoulder met. This gives me a good surface to glue up and the joint will be as strong if not stronger than before!

OK, must preview from now on…that should be- in order of error: worht=worth, rain=grain, and amiking=making.

As a wife of a serious woodworker, I must also chime in that if you’re gluing endgrain, that’d be a situation where you’d probably want the fastener. End grain isn’t a good gluing surface. Otherwise, it’s like the fellers have said: glue is strong (stronger than the wood itself) and brads/nails aren’t necessary. Norm’s just doing it in lieu of clamps.

You can never, ever have too many clamps.

And Mr. Cranky agrees with Mike G–except he’d argue that some of his stuff is fairly nice cabinetry work. He made a mission-style bookcase that is very good workmanship. That said, Norm is a good teacher and he’s done a lot to make interesting woodworking projects accessible to people. But the man overuses power tools to an embarrassing degree. It’s a shame because not only are they not necessary, they’re also beyond the reach of many of his viewers. Hand planes are probably the most versatile tool in the workshop, and Norm confines himself a block plane most of the time! We once saw him use a shoulder plane for something and my husband about dropped dead in delighted shock.

We use nails & glue to give more strength to our garage frame. Glue is cheap. Its more like called Liquid Nails.

We use glue and nails or screws because nails by themselves are strong.And glue is strong but together they are the strongest.

In framing, the nails hold the structure together; the glue stops squeaks. Apart from engineered lumber, I’d be very wary of using glue as a structural member in a building and I doubt any building code will allow it.

The above isn’t in contradiction to what has already been said. I’m sure that those who use glue in framing still use the required nailing.

FWIW the nailer Norm uses most often is an 18ga brad nailer. They are extremely popular but the thin brads don’t add much strength and the chisel tips cause then to often blow out the sides of the workpiece if they aren’t perpendicular to the grain. IMO he uses them far too often but it’s in his interest to encourage folks to buy a $70 brad nailer (that his sponsor makes) than the several hundred dollars worth of clamps (which his sponsor doesn’t make) required in a well equipped shop.

Hey, my mom has one of those brad nailers and I’ll admit it’s fun to use but I’ve never used it in any of my own projects. I guess I just don’t get the endorphin rush from the punka-ffft. Jorgensen hand screws and pipe clamps aren’t as sexy but far more important to my shop. I have tons of power tools so I’m not a luddite or complete neanderthal (a compliment in the woodworking world BTW) but I don’t see getting an air nailer until I have to do a lot of finish carptentry in a house. Then I’ll get a serious 15ga angle finish nailer, not a light 18ga brad nailer.

I know what CnoteChris meant but I always take the double meaning. Ja, it vas the final solution but ve vas only following orders.