Randy

Sick of Horseshoes! & RR Spikes!

Recommended Posts

If this is a rant, may I add Antique stores to the rant. >.<
Why is it collectable? It should be merely usable!

(In an antique store, I was quoted $200 for a small leg vice. Saw one twice as large for $80 at a gun show.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was much younger I did some farrier work. Enough to know that at a dollar a shoe I could make better money as a machinist and would not have to put up with animal related issues. Anyone that makes a living shoeing horses as my admeration and I will send him all the shoeing work I can.
But it does get old putting up with the Hollyweird misconseption.

No spell check in the drop down box.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Great-Grandfather was a BLACKSMITH!

Picture circa about 1920's or so.

The picture is near 4 megs in size, hope that isn't too great of an issue.

Caleb Ramsby

post-4922-0-88017700-1331778681_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should also mention that he trained Pacers and Trotters for the local race track.

He also had a pet ram. The local bar would only let him in with his ram if he used the back door. . . likewise he was one of the first in the town to get an internal combustion powered vehicle. . . so maybe he wasn't the "usual" blacksmith.

Caleb Ramsby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My Great-Grandfather was a BLACKSMITH!


Mine was too !

And your picture, with the old spoke wheel car in the background, pushes ALL my ancestral buttons. :D

You see, ... my Great Grandfather was a Blacksmith, in Quarryville, Pennsylvania, ... and from about 1913, my Grandfather operated the first Auto Repair Shop in Quarryville, ... from his Dads Blacksmith Shop.

And my Great Grandfather owned a spoke wheel REO Touring Car .....

What a great photo ! :)



.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am pretty new to this but I have had the horse shoeing comment when you say the word blacksmith. This is actually a great time to educate folks a bit. You introduce them to the word Farrier. Then give them a very short history lesson about how everything made of metal 120 years ago or something like that was all made be a blacksmith. And yes as the modern age began to reduce the need for the blacksmith and so many got into shoeing horses as well. The profession of a Farrier still exists and is needed today. But there are also many groups of Blacksmiths across the country and so on.... So if nothig else they learn a new word. You can even let them know that some blacksmiths are a little touchy about the whole horse shoeing comment. People kind of think that if you do blacksmithing that this is somehow like a funny joke. Give them some knowledge, let them know just how important the blacksmith was and start putting a positive spin on the whole thing. Then bring them a steak turner or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find it funny that its is a movie mentality. everyone I talk to about anvils says " You shoe horses?" its like the whole of the world has seen every western ever made at that point. one guy even suggested going to the local horse track to make extra cash. I haven't hardly begun with this smithing stuff and people act dumb towards it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i kind of like RR spikes to be honest... and rebar. but i hate the farrier comments. yes, i am a smith, no i dont shoe horses. my dad and i pulled into the grocery and right next to us a guy pulled in who was a farrier and part of the missouri farriers association. i was wearing my ifi tshirt. and he goes: oh do you smith too? "yes." "ahh how many horses have you shoed in your time little guy?" that just kinda ticked me off. i dont SHOE HORSES!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to say that I am proud to call myself a "blacksmith". I believe that blacksmiths helped shape this great country. They were then and they still are today innovators, inventors and do'ers. I think of the blacksmith as a self-reliant get’r done kind of person. The general public just needs to be educated about the history of the blacksmith and there importance to the early settlements and towns and industry………………just my 2 cents…………..ken

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My Great-Grandfather was a BLACKSMITH! Picture circa about 1920's or so. The picture is near 4 megs in size, hope that isn't too great of an issue. Caleb Ramsby


That's a great picture.....thanks for sharing. What is that vise (?) in the center, just to the right of the anvil? (& his left)
I see what looks to be a good sized post vise over to the far left.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of the above is fine except resentment for" My grandfather was a blacksmith". Does that mean you don't want YOUR grandkids to remember you as a blacksmith???
I'd kind of like mine to remember me as such. I prefer that to "my grandfather was an old time computer programmer". Time comes soon enough when we are only dust and completely forgotten. Let the kid cherish the memory of grandpa when he/she watches your demo.

I do not object to the fact that everyone had a relative that was a blacksmith I just wish I had a dime for every time I heard it. I too had a great uncle it looks like that was a smith, I do not have a picture but I do have this record from the family bible
post-10376-0-88056700-1331821010_thumb.j

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part of the issue lies in the fact that America was very much a frontier culture in many places and when you are the *only* blacksmith for a couple days ride you did *EVERYTHING*! Combined with the (as previously mentioned) tendency of old smiths riding the craft down towards their death or retirement to do *anything* to turn a dollar. Combined with Hollywood/popular culture. (Just read a book recently that had a medieval lady take her sword to be sharpened by the farrier's apprentice who rehammers it to improve it's balance WITH THE HANDLE ON and in just a few minutes as she it escaping...ARGHHHHHHHHH!)

Now in the *old* westerns---say black and white ones----you often see that the town has both a Blacksmith's shop and a forge set up at the Livery stable. They were still close enough to the "day" that they got it right!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a shoe repair for my day job and I also sell my metal and leatherwork in my downtown shop.My sign advertises shoe repair and blacksmith.When asked if I shoe horses I answer...No just people!...Sometimes it doesn't click right away but it is usually good for a laugh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Likewise I don't object to having relatives that were really smiths, but how many times do we have to hear it? If it was true what they are saying there would have been millions of them. Hey, I got my start due to some great wagonsmiths, yea, I'm that old, so I have a great appreciation for all of the smiths before us and with us. I know my smithing history and the importance of the smith, I'm not the one that needs to be educated. But every time we make something from a shoe or a rr spike then that just keeps this problem in the forefront and it will never cease.

B S Pete, I say, shouldn't that be upside down? :D (he's from Australia)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no blacksmith ties in my family...other than my mentor/teacher/boss is my father in law. I also hear too often the horseshoe comment and carry a irritation on rr spikes. At the end of the day there are two things that fight back my "Lewis Black" rant.

1. Teachable moments. I suppose my day job of being a teacher is staining this one up quite bad, but ignorance is a curable disease. Stupidity is terminal...Those that ask me if I shoe horses are the same ones that I can expose to the work of a blacksmith. I guess my glass is half full too. If they are asking/commenting then they have some level of curiosity or want to talk about it.

2. Sellability...I have seen that items easily recognized as other things fascinate and draw in the windo shopper customers. Seeing it is a rr spike or horseshoe used/forged into something useful or artistic might be exactly what is needed to make them stop and buy something. They are more likely to stop and look if something recognizable catches their eye. From there the fun starts at being a salesman of your own wares.

The example I can share here is my leaf key fobs. I use 3/8" square...forge the taper, fuller on my guillotine tool and make the leaf. I step back behind the fuller and drill a hole for the key ring. Customers like to see what the material started out as I think...it helps the imagination. I tell them that the square is the original size the metal started out before it became a leaf. I have sold a few with this idea...

For the record, I have been doing this less than 10 years and only as a hobby. I think I would be right there with you, Randy, if I had been doing this as long as you!

My .02
Peyton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peyton, et all, I've done the same thing over the years. (Educating the public) Even forged out big a fly with a 3-1/2" long body and put nikes on him so that he was my shoe-fly. Later I forged a big cow paddy for him to stand in. Then if they asked "the" question I could just point to him.

Actually the thing that has helped for students and the public to understand forging the best is the blacksmiths' challenge in the back of my book. Ten pieces all from the same size and length material and nine of them forged into different items. That really shows what forging is and does.

And that's why I wrote my book and teach classes and do demos around the globe. It educates more than our own kind, as those follks have families and kids, etc....and hopefully they'll tell others and so forth. Since the 1990's I have seen a change. It's been the kids. They come up and know more than the parents about smithing. Now it seems like it's taken a step back as now they all want to know if you can make a sword. Over 600,000 have seen my titanium sword video on Youtube, so the interest is there. Oh, well.

I wonder if Joe Paterno will still be known as a great football coach or only associated with the scandal at Penn State. Seems people focus on the lesser of two things. I don't know.

Oh, and the movies! That hasn't stopped today either. We won't mention the cheese blacksmith. And in that jousting movie the lady smith is working on their armour, (at least not a horseshoe), on an anvil that was higher than her head! All the research these people do for the movies but somehow they think they know what's right for a blacksmith?!

and the band played on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My standard reply to "do you shoe horses?" Is "No, Horses are bigger than I am and Dumber than I am and that combination is just to scary for me!---I like forging damascus knives!"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Atta Boy Gerald!

And Randy your challenge in the back of your book IS neat! Something I have always wanted to do as well. I believe that would be a wonderful place to start a discussion with a potential customer. Thanks for the reminder.

P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Smoothbore,

Glad that you got a kick out of the photo!

I am not sure, but I believe the vehicle was supposed to be a Model T type truck. I have attached a close up crop from a higher resolution scan of the vehicle. Can you identify what it could be? For a while after this was taken, he had his own small trucking company, which operated up until the 40's or 50's I believe.

I have a feeling that you would get a big kick out of reading, "Excuse My Dust" by Bellamy Partridge.

Hey Montana7,

I have also included a close up "lever type vise" . I have been told it is used especially for rapidly clamping and pounding out the calk on the shoes. I also included a closeup of one of the other vises in the "anvil and vise" photo. There is yet another vise that can be seen in the "shoe hammer" photo. That shoe hammer I believe is called a "cats eye" hammer.

It appears that he had two seperate work stations setup. One on the left of the photo for general smithing, then the other with the shoers anvil and vise for shoeing.

Of note is that he also had a buisness partner, whom he eventually bought out, as well as at least one full time striker.

Hey Seldom,

Yes, there is a great deal of other stuff that one can see has been produced in the photo. My Grandfather had donated his fathers "books" from the blacksmith shop to the local library/museum. In it were records of exactly what items he made, services he provided and what prices they were made and done for. Unfortunattly there was a flood in their basement and the books were destroyed! It is really a shame.

Does anyone have a clue as to what the strange curved shapes are as seen in the "strange curves closeup" file? There is what appears to be a horseshoe with the curve of it smashed flat.

It is wild, looking closely at the higher resolution scan there are horseshoes and boxs of horseshoe nails absolutly everywhere!

To return this to the original post, I believe that at the time most smiths bought their shoes in bulk, in different sizes then simply adjusted them to the horse. Maybe some smiths in the middle of nowhere who only shoed a few horses a year made their shoes from scratch, but mostly I believe they were bought in bulk.

Now here is a question, has anyone here ever made a "sword" out of a horseshoe? HA!!!

I must admit that what agrevates me more then anything else is people wondering if I make swords! I just don't get the whole sword obsession.

Caleb Ramsby

post-4922-0-02978100-1331854085_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-27585600-1331854100_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-90208900-1331854181_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-73873700-1331854210_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-77410700-1331854225_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-96914200-1331854236_thumb.jp

post-4922-0-82835600-1331854456_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those strange curly things are believe it or not horse hoof walls. Think finger nails on a human. It's where the nails are driven thru to hold the shoe on. Most likely a horse died and as it decomposed the walls come off the bone. Just a conversation piece. As they dry out they curl up like that

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

G-Day Caleb

they actuauly look like horses hoofs and it looks like peacock has just beaten me to saying that
yes they do exactly hat I have some in the shed with the horseshoe still underneath and it curled up at the heels just like the pic

B S Peter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Say, thanks BSPeter and Peacock! In 100 years I don't think I would have guessed that one!

I am curious about something. Do you fellas know if they used special racing shoes for horses back then? As I stated before, my Great-Grandpa trained pacers and trotters and I am wondering if his apparent horseshoeing expertise could have come from or been usefull in his race horse training buisness.

Caleb Ramsby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.