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So this weekend I have a Blacksmithing Demonstration at an Antique Tractor pull. It is a 2 day event and I am there for both days. This works well with a Blacksmith, I get to educate, demo, and even sell a thing or two.

One thing I have been doing this summer is making leaf bookmarks out of horse shoe nails.post-9523-0-69010700-1315010368_thumb.jppost-9523-0-42702900-1315012737_thumb.jp
To get ready for the show I was making a few bookmarks when an idea popped into my head, (insert bing sound here) why not try to make something other than leaves with the head part of the nail. So, with this little idea in mind I went to work.

Flattened and elongated the nail head. When this was done I took my hacksaw and put a few cuts. post-9523-0-24634600-1315011141_thumb.jp Then I flatten out the edges more with the ball peen, bend a 90deg and wrap the elongated strip around it's self to make it look like a flower / rose.

I wire wheel them to clean them up, coat them, blacken, or even a slight brassing and then I have a bookmark made from a horse shoe nail. Unfortunately since I just started making them this week, they take a little time, about 45 min., but hey maybe by the time this weekend is over I will be down to 20 min.

I will post next week and let you all know how popular they are. Have a fun and safe long weekend.

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Hi Dennis, Good job, here's a few more ideas we used to do years ago. No forging, just a bit of silver soldering, these were chromesd as a prototype job, and never got to the big wide world as I didn't like the finish.

You can build up all kinds of item using nails,

post-816-0-28695900-1315024668_thumb.jpg post-816-0-12723500-1315024247_thumb.jpg post-816-0-32014800-1315024279_thumb.jpg post-816-0-12819100-1315024325_thumb.jpg

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nice idea dennis! :) also yours john, really like picture number 3, although i tend to agree about the finish i only really mean the color - might be the photo, but i like the shape would look good rounded too although actually the squares might be what give it its unusual appearance...

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Thanks folks for the kind words.

JohnB very nice work with nails....gave ideas.

Sam, a box of 100 of these large nails is under 20$, bookmarks go for 3$, I have been told the roses should be 8$.

A neighbor asked if I lengthened the stem part and made it a hair pin instead, an idea.

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Dennis, I really like the bookmarks and the roses. One thing about using the horseshoe nails is that during the demo you can have the different stages of the nails on display alongside of the finished product. People are more inclined to show interest and purchase a rose or bookmark if they see that it was something in its former life.
"Look honey! A rose made from a horsehoe nail! Much more interesting than a rose made from a piece of bar stock." Just sayin.

I have a demo to do next month and I think I'll try to make up a bunch to sell from horseshoe nails also. Lots of people around here have horses and love anything that can remotely tie in.

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Hey folks back from weekend demo at the antique tractor pull. Had a blast, taught alot of people the history and past of blacksmiths. I got to meet ALOT of older folks who remember having to turn the blower and seem to reminisce when they smelled the fire.

The rose bookmarks were a hit. Sold out each day, though I only had 3 for day one, made another right there. Since I was camping over night I made 3 that night for today. Sold 2 before opening. Made 4 more and sold them, so total of 11 gone. Since Alberta is a western province people have a connection with horses and such, seeing an ordinary nail becoming something like a rose made all the difference.

Sam, you are right, I could get small round for a way cheaper price, but then I would just be making a rose. Boring, everyday, run of the mill rose. Talking with the people who are interested in the rose, and that it came from this nail with no welds, they find impressive and unique.

SoCal Dave, the nails are R14's

Marksnagle, since I had to make them during the show alot of people got to see the stages, and that may have helped sales.

Thanks for the replies folks.

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  • 1 month later...


Love these projects! I just found this project:


Which of course made me order a bunch of iron nails! I already have some horseshoe nails, so I'm going to try your projects, too.

Tell me- did you have to anneal the nail in between steps??

-Dana Evans

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Hey folks, been busy but now able to step in for a few min.

Dana, the nails I use are right out of the box, no annealing needed, but then again, they are horse shoe nails and not "lumber" nails. I do like that link alot, gonna try it with a HS nail. I will try to take progression pics for you. Do share your adventure in making them.

pics to follow if all works out.

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Hi Dennis,

Would LOVE to see photos. I tried hammering my nails today and they are large- 4-1/2" long and I don't have a heavy enough hammer- have to raid my husband's side of the storage room for an appropriate hammer- what do YOU use and what would you suggest I get to pound the heck out of iron and steel??


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Dennis, these look really cool. Dana thanks for posting the link, I have made a lot of stuff out of old nails but never thought of doing it cold. You both gave me a lot of ideas, something I can do when I feel the need to pound metal but don't have enough time to fire the forge.
I made a letter opener in about 10-15 min out of a 20 penny nail this evening. Not bad for a first try. It won't let me post pics, I keep getting error 500. No heating or annealing, did everything cold, including twisting.

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