Forging Ahead II.

Photos by Gary Smart

How to Form a Horse Head

Anything you forge out of a horseshoe can have the added flair of a horse head forged into the heel.

Set the horse’s nose down over the near side of the anvil. Depending on the thickness of the shoe, you only need ¹/³?–?½ of the length of the finished nose, as it will lengthen before finished. Don’t set it down to the finished dimensions, only to where you want the chin to end.
Set the horse’s nose down over the near side of the anvil. Depending on the thickness of the shoe, you only need ¹/³?–?½ of the length of the finished nose, as it will lengthen before finished. Don’t set it down to the finished dimensions, only to where you want the chin to end.
Define the chin and jaw line by angling the shoe over the far side of the anvil. Make sure to hang the chin portion of the muzzle over the edge of the far side of the anvil to isolate it.
Define the chin and jaw line by angling the shoe over the far side of the anvil. Make sure to hang the chin portion of the muzzle over the edge of the far side of the anvil to isolate it.
Chamfer the jaw line by holding it at an angle over the far side of the anvil with the chin hanging over the edge.
Chamfer the jaw line by holding it at an angle over the far side of the anvil with the chin hanging over the edge.
Repeat the steps in #3, on the opposite side of the jaw.
Repeat the steps in #3, on the opposite side of the jaw.
Set down the neck and define the jowl over the far side of the anvil. The mass for the jowl should be approximately ¼?–?¹/³ less than the final dimensions.
Set down the neck and define the jowl over the far side of the anvil. The mass for the jowl should be approximately ¼?–?¹/³ less than the final dimensions.
Chamfer the neck the same as you did for the jaws.
Chamfer the neck the same as you did for the jaws.
The head ready for punching.
The head ready for punching.
Spread and round the jowls with the peen of a ball-peen hammer. You can dish the face slightly if you wish by holding the face over the far edge of the anvil and using hammer blows that miss the edge of the anvil.
Spread and round the jowls with the peen of a ball-peen hammer. You can dish the face slightly if you wish by holding the face over the far edge of the anvil and using hammer blows that miss the edge of the anvil.
Using your special punches, create the eye and nose. With a straight blade chisel, define the mouth. Begin to spread the mane with your cross-peen hammer parallel to the length of the neck and then switch your peen angle to slightly off perpendicular to create the mane’s texture. You can speed this step up by using your anvil horn as shown, along with your cross-peen slightly off perpendicular, to combine the spreading and texturing steps.
Using your special punches, create the eye and nose. With a straight blade chisel, define the mouth. Begin to spread the mane with your cross-peen hammer parallel to the length of the neck and then switch your peen angle to slightly off perpendicular to create the mane’s texture. You can speed this step up by using your anvil horn as shown, along with your cross-peen slightly off perpendicular, to combine the spreading and texturing steps.
Heat the mane and neck transition to a yellow heat, and cool the nose and face in water to prevent distorting the face while you arch the neck. Begin by bending the neck over the far side to the anvil and finish by holding the shoe so that the nose is pointing straight up and hammering it back towards yourself.
Heat the mane and neck transition to a yellow heat, and cool the nose and face in water to prevent distorting the face while you arch the neck. Begin by bending the neck over the far side to the anvil and finish by holding the shoe so that the nose is pointing straight up and hammering it back towards yourself.
A hook with a forged horse head for decoration
A hook with a forged horse head for decoration

 

 

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