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How to Make a Horseshoe Nail Notcher

By James C. Keffer

Horseshoe nails are used by Knappers to create the notches in points.  Horseshoe nails are made of mild steel and used for their gripping ability.  The one drawback is that the relatively soft steel tends to wear so the best design for a notcher provides for a way to replace the nails.  Here is one method of making a horseshoe nail notcher at minimum cost.
Basic tools required:
1. Carving knife or wood lathe
2. Small saw (Coping saw or scroll saw)
3. Exacto knife and/or Dremel
4. ¾” round anvil and small hammer or ¾” doming punch
Material list:
1. 6” piece of wood at least 1” in diameter (wood dowel works)

2. ¾” copper cap
3. Horseshoe nail

1. Start out with a handle.  Turn or carve one end to receive and ¾ inch copper cap.

2. Take a ¾” copper plumbing cap and hammer or dome it to form a retaining sleeve.

3. Split the tip end of the handle and then carved out the end to receive the horseshoe nail. The split end and cap are shaped so that when reassembled they create a very tight and secure fit preventing the nail from moving or the handle from splitting.


4. Carve out a recess to hold the nail.  I use an Exacto knife and a Dremel tool with a wood cutting bit.



5. Drill a small hole in the center of the cap’s dome. Next drive the horseshoe nail about half way through the cap.

6. Place the nail in the handle and place the split end over the nail and slide on the copper cap.  The Cap should fit very snugly.

7. Apply a wood finish and you have a finished Horseshoe Nail Notcher

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©2010 J Keffer