In 2002, I had the opportunity to help restore an old tenant house in Thorndale, Chester County, PA. This tenant house was built in the 1850s and was part of a mill complex that made jeans and beaver cloth.
Affectionally called “Beaver Valley Mills” by those involved.
It was during this project that I was introduced to the craft side of home building and restoration. Integrating modern construction techniques and standards while preserving the “antique” architecture and design was quite an education.
I had the chance to work with reclaimed materials, historically restored finish and mill work. Transforming old, very old, barn siding into beautifully finished floor boards.
It was the installation of this flooring that taught me about cut nails.
The beauty is in the detail. A simple cut nail. A basic piece of forged iron, imperfect and no two matching, used to preserve historical accuracy. Each cut nail was hammered carefully, a finishing tap or two with a nail punch drove the nail slightly below the wood surface.
A seemingly trivial task, of which I didn’t understand it’s importance until the project was complete.
The image above displays an additional highlight being a hammered piece of copper covering what was a hole for the old barn’s coal stove chimney. I cannot take credit for the patina, although I wish I had the skill!
Among the many rooms in the home, the Master Bathroom is where my affinity for hardware developed. This bathroom… sparing you all the details of what it took to create it. Well, not really. It involved a tag team sledge hammer session and a long time standing at the tile cutter.
This wrought iron towel rack was one of a few finishing pieces installed to complete the decor and perform the necessary functions required for daily bathroom use. Just a beautiful piece of hardware! Handmade, hammered, bent, welded. Admiring the finished piece, my thoughts trailed to the process.
The raw handiwork. The steps it took to create it. Form following function?
I lack the skills to grab a raw piece of metal and craft it to my desired end, which influences my appreciation of the blacksmith trade and the desire to be involved in any way that I can.
I have fond memories of this restoration project. Martell Hardware was started because I grew to love the little details. I am hoping that this site helps you find that detail.
Much of the hardware available on this site require lead times, this is indicated on individual items. Finishes require time, more time if the finish is linseed oil or beeswax.
You will receive proper notification of shipping date and tracking numbers for confirmation. I will be as communicable as possible for orders that happen to require any lead time, have an unforseen delay, partial shipments or specific requirements from you.
If at anytime I happen to stumble or make a mistake. Please, contact me and whatever needs to be done to correct it, will be done.
I hope you enjoy the site!