Nails, claws and talons are a product of some animals when butchered. They are stored in a stockpile that accepts body parts, and have no known use.
Civilized creatures may occasionally wear jewelry made out of nails, despite it being uncraftable in Fortress mode.
A cat claw nail and a human nail.
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Should not be confused with hardware nails, which currently do not exist in the game. All wooden buildings can be constructed with wood alone. These are fingernails or toenails. Thus, your dwarves will only use their hammers for pounding the latter type of nail. Hopefully not their own thumbs (ouch!).
[IMPACT_YIELD:200000] used bone for all of these but more elastic, no data