Like most folks who build, I am interested in how tools and materials are made, so before my last trip to the Midwest I arranged to visit the factory in Cincinnati where Senco makes nails. When I arrived at the plant I was surprised by how big it was compared to some others I have been to. It covers a huge area of ground, 500,000 square feet, with offices, a design center, and test lab in front and a giant production area and warehouse in back.

Tools and fasteners are designed and tested at the plant but only fasteners are made there. The only Senco fasteners I know of that do not come out of the Cincinnati plant are DuraSpin screws (Taiwan) and some of the company's micro pins (Europe). Tools are made at a company-owned factory in China and shipped to Cincinnati for warehousing and U.S. distribution. Tools and fasteners are sent to satellite facilities in other countries for distribution there.

My tour might not have happened a few years back. The company went bankrupt in 2009 and could have disappeared. But it was purchased by a private equity group that recapitalized the business and changed the name of the company to Senco Brands. Senco Brands is privately held so there is no way to know if it's making money, but the fact that it has been introducing new tools and running three shifts in the nail factory suggests it's doing better than before.

I enjoyed touring the plant because I always wondered how collated fasteners were made. It turned out to be a fascinating process. Check out the slideshow to the left and you'll see what I mean. And be sure to look for the video links in the captions. I did my best to describe what's going on in the photos but nothing beats video for showing how a machine or process actually works.