These are just a few of the wonderful old hand-forged nails that I've dug up or found over the years. The middle one is almost 9 ins long. The top one I dug up yesterday.
It wasn't so long ago that all nails were hand made in small village smithy's. A helluva task if one was building a house, or barn, etc.
One easily forgets what 'craftsmanship' really means. When I look around me at what people built with just the raw materials around them (stone and wood), I am amazed by not only their skills, but also their exquisite sense of design. That same village blacksmith who made the nails was probably also responsible for the mason's, and carpenter's, tools as well.
Each individual wall stone had to be 'finished' with a reasonably flat surface, and the corner stones, or window/door opening stones, quarried and shaped by hand; as an ex-stone cutter myself I know what this involves. Each piece of wood for either the beams, doors, or flooring started as a felled tree, and had to be sawn and 'adzed' into shape. The work involved was huge; there was no handy DIY store.
I always look at early vernacular architecture with some awe; you can imagine what I think when faced with the magnificence of medieval cathedrals.