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do the amish use nails

Do the Amish Use Nails?

The Amish rely on joinery techniques they have perfected over generations and may often skip using nails when making Amish furniture. 

But do the Amish use nails?

Amish furniture makers tend to forgo nails and screws in favor of more traditional joinery techniques like dovetails and rabbets.

But even though the Amish are known for their traditional techniques of woodworking and building, it’s not uncommon for them to use nails in their construction as well.

What this article covers:

Do the Amish Build With Nails?

Amish carpentry favors joinery techniques that they’ve perfected for generations. These time-honoured methods render their furniture sturdy and durable while limiting the need for nails and power tools. Here are more reasons why the Amish may have the least preference for nails.


You must remember that in the heart of the Amish motherland, self-reliance and independence from industry are values embraced and cherished. It’s rare to see the Amish using cell phones or power tools.

do amish use nails

They craft by hand, build things brick by brick, and live off mother earth. They have hand-made baskets for laundry and use traditional Amish weapons for hunting.


If you lived among the Amish for a week, you’d have to say goodbye to plastic and embrace hand-woven wicker laundry baskets and wooden picnic baskets.

Who knows? You may discover new joys of eco-friendly living, like using wicker pie carriers in various sizes and styles and even rustic wooden boxes to keep your bread fresh.

Ancient Joinery Techniques

The Amish use nails in carpentry and architecture. No Amish creed or code explicitly forbids using nails in such applications. However, when Amish carpenters forgo nails, they use the joinery techniques below.

amish use nails 

Lap Joints

Lap joints are some of the simplest types of joinery, where one piece of wood is laid on top of another and fastened. A tongue and groove join the components' overlapping edges.

Mortise and Tenon

Mortise-and-tenon joints are techniques used to fuse wood pieces without nails or screws seamlessly. A mortise is a recess cut into the end of a piece of wood or timber, while a tenon is a corresponding projection on the other piece that fits into it.


The dovetail joint comprises two parts: a tail and a pin. The pins fit into the tails like fingers into hands. Dovetail joinery is a well-known furniture-making technique that eliminates the need for Amish power tools.

amish people use nails

Why Do People Think the Amish Don't Use Nails?

The Amish have a reputation for rejecting technology. They don’t use nails to make everyday items such as sewing baskets. They’re excellent weavers and sewers.

They can construct entire barns without the assistance of modern machines. They may have a secret technique devoid of nails. This can make you speculate whether they also build furniture entirely by hand without using nails.  

Here are more possible reasons for the misconception.

1. Quality Over Speed

The Amish may be more concerned with quality than speed when building their homes. Using nails might not be worth the extra time to hammer them into place perfectly straight and level with each other. This is a misconception. Amish use technology sparingly if it helps improve the quality of their lives, so nails, hammers, or Amish solar panels aren’t considered evil.

amish nails

2. Seclusion From the World

Some people think that the Amish don’t use nails due to their seclusion and isolation from the rest of the world. If Amish don’t use electricity and live in a world cut off from modern influences, it may be reasonable to assume that they may use old carpentry techniques that don't require nails. This assumption is not entirely accurate.

3. Limited Furniture Styles

The Amish are known for their simple and functional furniture. They don’t, however, limit themselves to making only basic tables, chairs, and chests of drawers.

4. Strict Religious Beliefs

Since ancient times, religious people have used to construct churches and temples, and the Amish way of life doesn’t prohibit them. The Amish use nails but can make many things, including furniture, without overreliance on nails.

amish and nails

Some Amish furniture makers believe using nails is more expensive than other methods of attaching parts because they aren’t reusable and must be bought new each time a piece needs assembling. Others believe using nails doesn’t allow as much flexibility when making the piece because nails must be hammered into place.

5. Amish Don't Sell Furniture to the Outside World

This is a misconception. The Amish sell their furniture and other products outside their community, and you can visit Amish internet shops.

Since they sell furniture to the non-Amish communities near them, their carpentry often uses nails to meet their customers' needs.

nails use amish

Do the Amish use tractors on their farms? A few Amish communities permit using tractors in farms where horse-drawn ploughs aren’t feasible.


Amish woodworkers have a reputation for making fine-quality furniture at a fair price. They’re known for their reliable products and high standards of quality craft.

Their approach to woodworking and construction is a testament to the idea that traditional techniques can be helpful today. 

They’ve made an art out of creating durable and aesthetically pleasing furniture by combining their freedom to use nails and creative joinery techniques.

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