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I have had a customer request a stressed metal horse shoe. As I understand she is looking for the dark scale hammer marks and for the metal to be weathered. So far what I have done is take a ballpein to the shoe to texture it, and then heated the whole thing as hot as my propane Forge could go and quenched it. From there I used a wire wheel to clean off the loose scale. I sent a picture to the customer and they want it to look even more weathered. What method am I missing to give the shoe a more stressed and weathered look? Acid bath perhaps?


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I assume they meant "distressed" metal horseshoe.  That one still looks like a new horse show that has been hammered on.  Can you source a worn out one that was used on rocky ground?  The best would be an old worn out shoe made from wrought iron and then acid etched, one from the bottom of the scrap pile in a damp location?  You are trying to duplicate one that was "ridden hard and put away wet"

You might look at how "distressed wood" looks or the worn wood from https://www.oldglobewood.com/grain-polished-reclaimed-wood.html


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I'm with Thomas, find a local farrier and get some worn shoes. Failing that you could try dragging one down a gravel road behind your car but that's sort of . . . . high school solution silly?

If you have a tumbler you could use an aggressive media, say crushed gravel and tumble it. I'd attach two, back to back so only the wear surface (bottom) got worn.

An aggressive flap sander would do it too.

In general the wear side should be rounded, thin and the edges sharp. We had our horses shod when the shoes started getting sharp. Eyeballing the shoes was part of cleaning their hooves.

You wouldn't see dents like the hammer marks in yours, dings would be cuts and dings from sharp objects, horses are heavy but shoes don't really get dented up, they get cut and abraded.

Frosty The Lucky.

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SurIely they ride horses in Montana......

Short of that, how many does your client want?

And is this stressed enough?


Go to the farrier supply a make acquaintances. Be humble. You might be buried in shoes in no time.

Robert Taylor

Edited by Anachronist58
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Thank you all for your responses. I will score the face up a bit more and try heating it up and giving it a scotchbright treatment.

As for Ferriers I have to wait for a couple weeks for when our horses get their hooves taken care of (never been shoed so that's why I don't have naturally stressed ones).

Thank you all again for your suggestions and I will be sure to give them a try to find the best method that works for me for future orders.

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Nate, here is an example of old, worn horseshoes.  I originally took these as a comparison of derusting and cleaning with vinegar followed by a wire wheel brushing.  You can see the smooth surface resulting from the shoes wearing on soil/rocks and the thinning toe edge (if you are able to zoom in on the photo).  Hope this helps some.





Horseshoe clean comparison.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

Acualy if you look on the other side you will also see the wear pattern from the hives heals. 

For sure, and often the toe has worn so sharp that it'll cut yer hand!

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  • 7 months later...

HI THERE. im not sure if some one mentioned this but leave it in the fire for a goood loooooooong soak so it gets lots of scale built up, nice deep scale. when allowed to really penetrate the material it leaves a fantastic texture on the metal that really ads a lot in the line of texture, especially stressed texture,also when i think of stressed metal rust comes to mind. urinating on it a few times a day for a few days does a good job, then give it a real quick rub with a sanding foam pad to knock the loose stuff off then maybe a lil sealant to protect it and blamo you got a distressed item done in a controlled manner.

maaybe dont tell the customer that u peed on it.... unless there into that kind of thing.



well i wish you the best and hope the customer is happy as can be with your piece.




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