This paper about a new way to make hardened wood really caught my attention, not for the potential of the material to make wooden knives that actually work, but for the potential to make nails out of hardened wood.

If the nails made that way were easy to obtain and to use, then the potential to use them as non-corroding fasteners in boatbuilding is intriguing. Of course boatbuilding has used wood trunnels for eons, but there might be a possibility that hardened-wood nails could be substituted directly for metal nails.

The link only gives access to the abstract of the paper, not the full thing, so the details on how they go about hardening the wood are lacking. The abstract does include a graphic, though, which I have included.

One image in the graphic shows the Brinell hardness of the hardened wood nail to be about 31. That is considerably lower than, say, mild steel, which averages about 120, but it is in the neighbourhood of copper, which averages about 35. And of course copper nails and rivets are used all the time.

This is something to keep an eye on.