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I'm not much for talk, but if it's a nail that needs repair then you've come to the right bug.
-The Nailsmith
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The Nailsmith is a Merchant in Hollow Knight. He provides a service to strengthen the Knight's Nail for Geo and Pale Ore. He will provide the first nail refinement for Geo only, after which he will require Pale Ore and Geo to upgrade further (see Nail for prices).

Lore

The Nailsmith is one of the few bugs that lived through the fall of Hallownest. Driven by his craft and working in seclusion, he barely noticed the world changing around him.[3] Even before that, he hardly paid attention to the Kingdom's Five Great Knights.[4] He spends his time honing his craft, hoping to forge one day a Pure Nail, the apex of his work.[5][6] There are many nails surrounding his hut.

In-game events

Screenshot HK Nailsmith 02

Nailsmith in his hut

The Nailsmith can be found at his smithy in the outskirts of City of Tears, in an isolated hut. He first can provide the Old Nail to Sharpened Nail refinement for a small amount of Geo. After that, he will require both[Pale Ore and Geo to upgrade it further, with the price and the amount of Pale Ore increasing per each succeeding upgrade.

After having him forge the Pure Nail, the Nailsmith will step outside and asks the Knight to cut him down. Obliging him sends him plummeting down to the waters below. His corpse can be randomly found in Godmaster Icon Junk Pit.

Screenshot HK Nailmaster Sheo 03

Nailsmith and Sheo modelling figurines

This will award the 'Purity' achievement. When not granting his request to "cut him down" and leaving the area, he will be found with Nailmaster Sheo in his hut in Greenpath and will award the 'Happy Couple' achievement after listening to him.[7]

He will then remain in Sheo's hut for the rest of the game, engaging in modelling for Sheo and making wooden figurines together.[8] The achievement name, Happy Couple, implies Sheo and the Nailsmith are in a romantic relationship.[9]

Exclamation Mark
The Nailsmith will not move to Sheo's hut if the Knight has not acquired Great Slash. He will disappear after being spared and only appear in Sheo's hut after the Knight has gained the ability and rested on a bench afterward.

Dialogue

First Encounter Have you brought me another nail to be honed? Leave it on the ground and return later, if you're still breathing.

Hmm?
Oh. I thought you were someone else.
After a Nailsmith are you? Well you've found one. I'm not much for talk, but if it's a nail that needs repair then you've come to the right bug.
Your own nail is in quite a sorry state. It's obviously not one of mine. Still, anything can be refined with enough effort and skill, even that broken blade.

Pale Ore in inventory I see you have some Pale Ore. A rare, fine metal, that. Give me the ore and some Geo for my efforts, and I'll reforge your nail to make it stronger.
Offering service If you'd like, I can reforge your nail. It'll make the blade far more deadly.
Declining service You're not interested, then? Suit yourself.
Not enough Geo Ah, you don't have the Geo? Come and see me when you do.
Accepting service As you wish. I'll get to work then.
Listening again Hmm? You're still here. Is there something else you want?
Greeting Hmm? Oh, you've returned.
Dream Nailed ...To forge the perfect Nail...

Sharpened Nail complete There we go. The reforging is complete.

I've honed your nail's edge. You'll find it much stronger than it used to be.
Head out there and test its strength against your foes.
If you bring me a piece of Pale Ore, I can forge it into your nail and make it stronger still.

Channelled Nail complete There we go. The reforging is complete.

I've added a channel to your nail. It should cut much more efficiently. You'll find it stronger than it used to be.
Head out there and test its blade against your foes.
If you bring me two pieces of Pale Ore, I can forge it into your nail and make it stronger still.

Coiled Nail complete Here we are. The reforging is complete.

I've modified the nail to spiral form. A very tricky task it was. You'll find it stronger than ever before.
Off you go now. Cut your way forward.
If you bring me three pieces of Pale Ore, I can forge it into your nail and make it stronger still.

Pure Nail complete It's done. The reforging is done.

Your nail is much stronger than it used to be. As strong as it could ever be.
In only your weapon have I seen such potential. Finally, I behold the majesty of a Pure Nail.
To think this moment has come upon me so soon...
...I... I must step outside a moment...

Listening outside With a Pure Nail forged, my work in this lifetime comes to an end. My only remaining desire is to see and feel the nail strike true!

I beg you, cut me down. As my final moment in life, I want to taste the blade's exquisite edge.
After all this time, all this toil... haven't I earned it?
Do not hesitate. I beg you. Cut me down! I want to taste that blade's exquisite edge.

Dream Nailed My life's work achieved... What more is left...?

Meeting at Sheo's Hut Hmm? Oh, hello traveller. How strange that we should meet again in a world as vast as this.

I must thank you for not killing me when I asked you to. I was irritated at first, but I had some time to think up there and I soon saw the wisdom in your decision.
The world is made of more than metal and weapons. I set out exploring, and soon found my way here.
Sheo is a master of many arts, and has promised to teach me what he can. I think I'll be quite happy here.

Being painted I'm afraid I can't speak at length. If I move too much, Sheo's masterwork will be ruined and I'd hate to see him upset.

Though he may seem imposing, in truth he's a delicate sort.
In all the dark of Hallownest, who'd have thought I'd meet such an inspiring soul.

Modelling We're building a full suite of the Kingdom's Knights. In their time, I barely ever paid them attention, but Sheo keenly remembers each.

It's so refreshing. Nothing like the crude practice of Nailwork. I just love all the intricate details.
This is fabulous. I'd never have believed my claws capable of such deft construction.

Dream Nailed ....An age spent toiling alone... this is much nicer...

Godmaster Icon Corpse Dream Nailed at the Junk Pit Pure...​

Location

The Nailsmith is initially located in the west part of the City of Tears. Later on, he moves to Sheo's hut in Greenpath if he is spared.

Gallery

Achievements

Achievement Purity {S} Purity
Slay the Nailsmith with the Pure Nail
Achievement Happy Couple {S} Happy Couple
Allow the Nailsmith to find a new calling

Trivia

  • The Nailsmith's quest to forge the perfect nail was a Kickstarter stretch goal at $44,000 was the addition of four new quests to the game:
A Nailsmiths Obsession
A Nailsmith's Obsession

When his job is done; when the perfect blade is forged; what meaning remains for the Nailsmith? Is there something more the Hollow Knight can provide?[10]

  • The Nailsmith was first revealed in a Kickstarter update, although that information is no longer canonical:
"Follow a twisting path from the outskirts of the drowning city. Cross a broken bridge and you'll hear it close, the ring of metal and the roar of flame. A craftsman obsessed.
Within his forge the Nailsmith is searching, on an endless quest to create a flawless nail.
Past failures pile outside his door, exposed to the rains and left to rust. He spares no thought for imperfect things. Nor does he pause to take notice of the countless beings that take their pick of his refuse.
But his neglect has impact. His discarded nails have spread wide through Hallownest, clutched tight in the hands of creatures possessed.
Only in the Hollow Knight's broken nail does he at last see true potential. Distant and difficult to achieve, but it is in there, waiting - a blade to be honed beyond all others, to be forged into a form so brilliant it transcends its metal and becomes myth."[11]
Npc nailsmith

Early promotional art

  • Early promotional art of the Nailsmith featured in the official Hollow Knight Press Kit shows him with an additional pair of legs, and a hammer larger than the one he is seen using in the final release of the game.
  • It is possible to kill the Nailsmith with any attack when he asks, including Spells.
  • Godmaster Icon Similarly to the Nailsmith's Corpse's Dream Nail dialogue of "Pure...", "...Pure..." is also the Dream Nail dialogue of the corpse of the Ancient Nailsmith found in Kingdom's Edge.
  • Upgrading the nail will respawn enemies that normally only respawn after sitting on a bench.

References

  1. Relic Seeker Lemm: "I've little interest in weapons myself, but it may be an idea to hunt down that old Nailsmith. His hut's on the outskirts of the city. Not that far from here. He might help add some sting to your weapon, provided he's feeling generous."
  2. Reddit comment by Matthew Griffin.
  3. Nailsmith: "Have you brought me another nail to be honed? Leave it on the ground and return later, if you're still breathing. Hmm? Oh. I thought you were someone else."
  4. Nailsmith: "We're building a full suite of the Kingdom's Knights. In their time, I barely ever paid them attention, but Sheo keenly remembers each."
  5. Nailsmith: "With a Pure Nail forged, my work in this lifetime comes to an end."
  6. Wanderer's Journal, p.71.
  7. Nailsmith: "The world is made of more than metal and weapons. I set out exploring, and soon found my way here."
  8. Nailsmith: "Sheo is a master of many arts, and has promised to teach me what he can. I think I'll be quite happy here." "Though he may seem imposing, in truth he's a delicate sort. In all the dark of Hallownest, who'd have thought I'd meet such an inspiring soul."
  9. Definition of happy couple, Oxford's Dictionary
  10. Kickstarter update of December 15th, 2014.
  11. Kickstarter update of November 27th, 2014.
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