Hammer it in with one swipe.
First off, you don't actually use a hammer, but don't let on.
What you need.
Start one of the nails in the timber, with your hammer, nice and firm and plumb, ("just so youse mob don't catch yer thumbs, yer can start it easy") and let em have a go at it. When they bend the nails, be generous and let them have another go. Let em all make fools of themselves. Even top tradesmen will bend nails through trying too hard. Nailing needs a nice easy swinging rhythm, not series of huge hits
When it's time for you to "put up or shut up". Set a nail firm and pick up the lump of 100x50 on the side. Use it like a club and swing it over your head and give the nail a good old whack. Like chopping wood with an axe.
What happens is the impact drives the nail head into the club just a few mm and grips it so that there is no skidding or bending. Straight in in one swipe. Ladies, you might like to use a good pair of leather gloves for this one, but give it a try.
So go away now and try it on the sly, get some practice, then ambush them.
On a similar line, the last timber frame house I built, I had a young Kiwi guy working for me. When we were getting ready to knock up the wall frames, "Right Bill" he says, "get some 4 inch nails and we'll have this lot up in no time". Now Keith had done heaps of framing in NZ and was a bit of a gun, but he hadn't had any experience with our Malaysian hardwoods. Selangan Batu is tremendously strong and tough, but it can be as hard a the hobs of hell sometimes.
We used 3 inch nails and the young guy went at it like it was softwood. The first half hour he bent more nails than he put in, and there was me bobbing em in nice and steady, because I had my secret weapon in my nail bag.
A piece of soap. I gave every nail a bit of a rub with soap to lubricate it. (without him seeing of course). Made it a lot easier. A similar thing, if I get some hard timber and no soap about, a bit of sweat from the back of my neck does the same trick.
NOTE. The 3 inch nails where only used to hold the framing members in position, until we got the structural clips, straps, shear ply and HD bolts finished.
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