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I Forge Iron

I make horse shoes,,,,, kinda


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When I punch the holes in shoe stock (5/16 thick stock) I have some trouble. I have to start with a large pritchel and work my way to a smaller and smaller pritchel. I had read on a you tube demmo to lube and cool the tip with bees wax.................??? NOT water! I use water and that seems like that would work, but how am I going to cool a pritchel tip with bees wax?? Melt the wax and pour it into the bottom of an old can?

Oh, yeah, the video(s) show guys making the hole of a shoe with the shoe stock at black heat. Black heat. How on Earth you going to punch through steel with a very fine pritchel tip with steel at black heat? They must use a pritchel to make the hole 99.9% through, then use the small pritchel for the last bit of hole???

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It takes three tools to make a nail hole in 5/16 material.
Stamp, Drift Pritchel.
The stamp is driven in first and creates the portion of the hole for the nailhead.
Two to three hits are enough.
Run the frog eye over the horn then restamp lightly to clean hole up.
The drift forms the portion of the hole for the nail shank.
Lightly bottom the drift in the hole.
This will reduce the slug that will be sheared by the pritchel to 1/16.
Pritchel at a black heat.
Hope this helps!

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On beeswax, just have a block or a glob in a tin can and when the tool is hot stab it into the solid wax to cool it down.

Also wax vs water: part of using wax is to leave a thin carbon film on the tool to provide lubrication when punching with it making it easier and a nicer job.

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In the olden days before the British came over and told us we didn't know how to shoe [kidding! sort of!], we countersunk the nail head with a forepunch (now usually called a stamp). I did not use a drift except on thick shoes; i.e., I made moderate toe weights of 3/8" x 1". We called the drift a "stem punch." Same thing. The forepunch business end is made in the shape of a nail head. If the frog eyes persist, you can hot-file.I didn't often make creased shoes; they seemed to be time consuming. If you do crease the shoe, you must first "hem" the outside rim of the shoe. If you don't understand hemming, you'd better stick with the forepunched shoe.

On the old, forged shoeing anvils, there was often a handling hole in the waist under the horn. I would tip my anvil up on its heel and melt beeswax or pariffin into the hole. When on the job, I could quickly quench the pritchel.

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Ok and may thanks on the bees wax. I will try that, but would pariffin wax work ok? I have tons of that I can swipe from my wife when she isn't home. Bees wax is more costly, but I have it here if I have to use it for the pritchels.

I don't have a forepunch/stamp, but plan to get one. I use three different sized pritchels for the job. Is the forepunch and stamp the same thing?

I don't have a creaser, but would like to try that sometime.My shoes are made just for fun/kicks. I work in public for the historical society and EVERYONE thinks a blacksmith is a ferrier and always asking me how did they used to make shoes. So I show them and make the holes best I can.


What is the "frog eye" and what do I do with that, again?

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The forepunch and stamp are the same. When used and driven fairly deep, you sometimes get a side swelling at the edge of the shoe called a frog eye. This swelling can be got rid of by hammering and/or hot filing. Paraffin is what I used to cool the pritchel.

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A bit of a tutorial for you, if you don't mind. The hoof wall is thicker at the toe area than the heel area, so the nail hole placement is important. I've depicted a front riding horse shoe, 5/16" x 3/4". Every hoof is different in nail hole placement, but I've given you a rough average. Horseshoes are not round and "doughnutty." There is slight straightening in the quarters (each side of the shoe). The heels kick inward. Hind shoes are not as rounding at the toe as are front shoes. They are normally a bit "pointier" at the toe.

post-74-0-50719000-1336698258_thumb.jpg

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Started shoeing in1965. don't need three tools. Forepunch at high heat. Finish holes at black heat with SHARP pritchel from same side. Sharp tool at black heat just pops the nail hole nice and clean.I have a pritchel that Sgt. R.L. Richmond of the US Cavalry gave me in 1968.Still use it. If foot is very sloped I turn shoe over and pop a notch out of hole on the inside to allow for sloped nail driving. Like Frank,I have great respect for the English shoers,and have learned some nice tricks from them,but we did have a fine bunch of Cavalry shoers at Fort Riley that did quite an acceptable job of keeping our cavalry horses as sound as anybodys!! Shoe a horse from it's first shoeing job and keep it sound through 20+ years of shoeing and you are doing something right.
Always enjoy posting same time as other "old timer",Frank. His skill level is better than mine,but we have both paid our dues!!!

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One of our most experiance people was a farier until he blew out his back. He always made his own shoes and used 1 punch to make his holes. One of our favorite demoes is Tim shoeing a mule. He still does a few for select people.

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Frank, you may not know who this is, but I am going back to my roots,sorta was a farrier for a long time,'67 or so. Took your class about '80. Never looked back and been working straight up ever since. Latest project is custom made and fitted oxbow stirrups for the local cowboys. Puts these up about waist high, same theory,sorta to fit stirrup to boot to riding style. Still a step up, I guess. ;)

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Frank,
I'm probably wrong but I could have sworn Tim used his pritchel alone and didn't use a punch. I could have missed the switch like I said earlier. He does move really fast.
I will add he does finish his holes at a black heat. That's one thing he showed if you let it cool a little you can see the dark spot from the back.
Sorry if I caused any confusion

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Travis it is possible that he was using concave stock rather than flat bar to make the shoes from, most would still prefer to use a stem punch, but you could just use a pritchel and get the job done. If you just use a pritchel on flat bar the nail head would not fit or the hole would be much to large for the nail shank. I used to swedge round stock to concave for making some of my shoes from and I just pricheled them, but that was not what the original post was talking about.

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That's the problem with having to answer questions about everything else while the demo is going on. I don't get to see as much as I would like.
He does use flat bar. But I know there is a step he does before punching. I just missed what it was. Seams like he groves the shoe or creaseses if that makes any sense.

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That makes lots of sense, if he put in a deep groove he would not need to use a forepunch, the groove would accept the nail heads and then the pritchel for the shank. This would be a different system than the original post though, as I think that was a plain stamped shoe. Mark

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