Nail Notes--March-April, 2000

Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 10:25:39 -0600
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

I have a lot of things to report, but some will have to wait until I get more info.

First, Steve McCue ( wrote this to me:

Jeff - Do you know of anyone who might have the book  'Date Nails Complete'
for sale ?  Also, I'm going to an old rr stop out in the desert to sift the
dump tomorrow. Do any of the other guys do this that I might correspond with
? Thanks, Steve Mc Cue / Tucson

He sent me this note a couple weeks ago, so don't take 'tomorrow' literally.  I'm sure Steve
would like to hear from you if you are in his area.

An error in my book

Wes Leatherock pointed out that Bliss, OK was renamed Marland, OK.  They are the same town.
I have the Santa Fe test section from this town listed twice, page 298 of Volume II.  From
my references, it seems that the name was changed sometime 1921-1925.

This affects the number of bullseye 4R's which were used.  I wrote an article in Nailer News
a while back in which I proposed that the 'R' on the bullseye 4R stands for Rueping
treatment.  My evidence is really solid, and the nail would have been used in ties in these
1904 tests of Rueping treated ties.  Now the list is smaller:

Bliss, OK 275 ties; Clements, KS, 165 ties; Perry, OK, 393 ties; Ponca City, OK, 190 ties.
The total is now 1,023 ties.  The bullseye 4R is VERY rare, and is so named because of the
raised ring around the date.

I need input!!

I want to know your opinions about this comment I made on pricing nails on my website:  "Nice, properly attributed
nails from your favorite line might be worth a dollar each, but don't offer much more unless you know you are bidding
on rare nails."

One person tells me that if common nails in nice condition are properly cleaned and attributed, they
are worth more than a buck apiece.  "Properly cleaned" means they have been cleaned to the point of being shiny, like
in a vinegar bath, and they are then given some transparent protective coating.  (This person is not Larry Fister---I
mention this because he submits nails to a similar process which I described in an earlier "Nail Notes".)

In general, is it helpful or misleading that I include general comments on price?  And is my rough number of $1.00
each on the mark, too low, or too high?  As you might guess, someone out there does not like what I wrote, and sees it
as a means of controlling prices.  What do you think?

Some of my website comments about lots of nails on eBay ( are out of
date.  Since December there have been some gradual changes in the nature of
lots of date nails on eBay.
     (1) I HAVE seen some rare nails,
     (2) it is no longer true that about half the lots are misidentified.  Most lots ARE properly identified these
days, which is a good sign!
     (3) common lots no longer sell for a lot of money.  I guess the supply has come in line with demand.  I will make
appropriate changes soon.

Subject: Nail Notes 4-7-00
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 14:11:43 -0500
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

Hi folks,
     First, I apologize if you had to scroll down through 200+ addresses
to read the last note.  I forgot to click the "Bcc" selection.

Rob Sidio has a nice website called, and he asked that I
write an article about nails for the site.  I agreed, but instead of
sending him something I wrote, I submitted an article on a nail hunt by
Steve Worboys (with his permission, of course).  Steve, Rossella (my
wife) and I took a trip to southwest Virginia and Kentucky in 1988, and
Steve wrote a nice account of the trip which was published in a 1989
issue of Nailer News.  You can see his article, with some photos from
the trip, at

I have been making minor changes to the date nail website.  The links
have been improved, and I added a photo of a nail in a tie.  From now on
you can read the date I last changed the site at the top of the initial
page.  The site is located at

I received this yesterday from Allen Stanley (

I was an engineer on the AST&SF in the 70's
I have a collection of nails I pulled during that time.
I am looking forward to comunicating with others that share my interest
in date nails. Specifically AT&SF.

I have AT&SF diamond head, square head, round raised, round indented,
and pentagon raised head nails.

I have personally pulled these nails myself.

I also have date nails and RR memorabilia from other railroads I would
like to trade for AT&SF nails.

Regards,  Allen Stanley

Regarding my "survey" on my comments on price, I received responses from
about four people.  It is true that pricing "common" nails is a messy
business, and though I have edited the comments on my webpage, I might
work them over again.  Still, a dollar each is what nails commonly sell
for at nail shows, so I will stick to that round number.  Some think
common nails are worth less, some more.


Subject: Nail Notes 4-24-00
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 10:11:47 -0500
From: Jeff Oaks <>
Organization: University of Indianapolis

Hello fellow nailers,

I have updated the date nail website:

   (1) I have added errata for my book.  No matter who you are, the
errata sheet I mailed with your copy of _Date Nails and Railroad Tie
Preservation_ is outdated.  For the latest corections (all of them
minor, of course!), go to:

   (2) I have added info on the summer nail show.  Here it is for those
of you too lazy to consult the page:

The next TDNCA sponsored show will be held in Concordia, KS, July 28 and
29, 2000.
Location:  VFW Hall, 105 W. 7th, Concordia, KS, 66901.
Motels:  Best Wester-Thunderbird (785) 243-4545;  Super 8:  (785)
Show organizer:  Lee Doyen, (785) 243-2789

Paul Zeiner's date nail discussion forum is poorly attended!  No one has
posted a note since mine of February 25!  Let's get some dialogue going!
 Go here:

Last week I mailed in 8 1/2 pages of articles for the Nailer News, the
newsletter of the Texas Date Nail Collectors' Association.  If you join
the TDNCA you will get to read articles on these fascinating topics:

   (1) After nineteen years, I have finally solved the mystery of the
stubby shadow set.  See pages 349-350 of Volume II of my book to find
out what I am talking about.  It is NOT the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern.

   (2) I have found out what company made the type (60) date nails, and
I have some very interesting photocopies of original Maryland &
Pennsylvania documents related to date nails.

   (3) I have new info on when the Great Northern stopped using three
corner ties.  These ties have a triangular cross section, and were used
because they got more ties out of a tree that way.

Of course I cannot spill the beans here.  I'll reveal short answers to
these nail mysteries to Nail Notes only AFTER the Nailer News comes out.

If you want to join the TDNCA and receive the Nailer News, go here:

That's all for now...


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