Full Chisel Blog

May 3, 2010

Got Hobnails?

Filed under: Hardware,Historical Material,Of Interest,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:33 pm


Well, I do. Just bought a pound of steel hobnails about 220 count per pound, 3/8” square and 5/8” long.  I had some of these years ago, but my source dried up until today.  I have two pair of Jefferson Booties and a pair of boots that need heel protection.  My other shoes and boots have iron heel plates, held on with one inch brads with about a 1/4:” cut off the end.  They hold up well and protect the leather heels from excessive wear.  These are all reproduction leather foot ware based on traditional design.  I even have a pair of straight last shoes, neither left nor right foot. These were easier to make and were common until the nineteenth century.  The rest of the shoes and boots are left and right footed. I will only be using them in the heels and it will take about a dozen nails per heel.

And what does this have to do with woodworking? Well I do woodworking in these shoes, I use a brad awl to make the holes in the thick leather heels and use a hammer to drive them home.   I also use wooden shoe pegs to attach and repair the soles or heels.  I can also still buy wooden shoe pegs from a local supplier, along with fine linen thread [albeit expensive], nice traditional pegging awl handles in American and French patterns [great for brad awls], cut steel shoe nails, round leather belting in various diameters, for sewing and other machines.

Because of the rugged nature of these nails, I will have to avoid those establishments with signs that say ‘NO Hobnails or Heel Plates’.  I do traditional woodworking from the ground up.



  1. It will be difficult to hobnob with you in such establishments.

    “One’s shoes must be strong and heavy, and have pointed hobnails in them.”
    A Tramp Abroad by Twain, Mark

    Comment by Tico Vogt — May 4, 2010 @ 7:21 am

  2. Tico,

    Thanks for the Twain quote.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 5, 2010 @ 8:02 am

  3. After much effort, I have a new pair of shoes. Well I have had them for a while but haven’t worn them until they had heel protection. I made the holes with two different sizes of brad awls and used a countersink in the leather to relieve the area around the hole, so the tack would seat easier. I also put a drop of fish glue on the tack to hold it in place.

    hob nail boots


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 6, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  4. Hello Stephen! I have been looking for that style hobnails and have not been able to find them. Can you please help me? The guys in the 25th NC Infantry like that style and I have not had any luck. I am 2nd Sgt. with this group and would much appreciate any information you could give me.
    Thanks very much!
    Dave Patterson

    Comment by David Patterson — August 21, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  5. Dave,

    I have a large quantity of these in their original boxes. Send me an email if you are interested. I sold a couple of pounds to a guy who makes Roman Sandals.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — August 21, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  6. Hi Stephen, I have searching everywhere for hobnails. Could you send me a list of hobnails and the price of the stock you might part with….. Regards

    Comment by Richard Fowler — September 28, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

  7. Richard,
    Those are the only size I have and I do have them, send me an email stephen@fullchisel.com


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — September 29, 2011 @ 7:01 am

  8. Seeking purchase of hobnails like those shown here. Listing not new; pls contact if any remain that we might buy. Thanks much.

    Comment by Brad Blackson — November 1, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

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