How to Fit and Re-Calk Old Shoes

It is a fact that re-calking old shoes is a more difficult job than to fit new shoes, because the old shoe has either been worn out on the toe, making a beveled web where the toe-calk is to be welded on, or the root of the old calk is left, and it is hard to weld a new calk on the top of the old root.  If the old calk is over a quarter of an inch long, pull it off.  To pull the old toe-calk off you will find is quite a job sometimes.  The old calk can be pulled off in two different ways:  First, heat the calk to a high red heat, then put the shoe in the vise.

Wood Worker's Vise

Illustration, Fig. 21, shows a vise that can be used for this work as well as for woodwork, and many horseshoers in the country towns are doing woodwork also.  But if you are doing general blacksmithing and horseshoeing only, then the vise illustrated in Fig. 22 is the best.

Iron Worker's Vise

These vises are not of the common kinds as the illustrations indicate, but I cannot here go into detail in describing these tools, and would advise every mechanic to Pincersstudy the illustrations closely.  The manufacturers will explain these novel tools if you will write to them for information.  Now take hold of the toe-calk in that end where there is no tit, for that end is always the most solidly welded end.  A solid jerk will start the calk, and once started it will come off easily, but if it cannot be started with the pincers for want of a good grip, then take an old rasp and place the end of the rasp at the edge of the vise, with the other end lift up, catching the calk at the titles end, and the calk will come off, provided the shoe is held fast in the vise.  Next proceed to weld on a new calk.  If the old calk is well worn off, it is best to hammer it down to a level with the web, and weld a new calk on top of it.  This is not so easy if the shoer is not a good smith.  To do it the shoer must be a good smith, knowing how to weld steel.  He must have a good fire and plenty of blast; no that so much blast is needed for this work, but with a good blower the minute cinders, always present in an old fire, can be blown out of the fire, by stirring in the fire and at the same time blowing with force.

For welding steel of all kinds no compound is better than Boraxette.  This compound, as well as the blower, is for sale by all jobbers in blacksmiths’ supplies.

The Anvil

The anvil of today is as it was when some of us learned the trade from thirty to fifty years ago.  There is not an anvil made practical for all-round blacksmithing and horseshoeing.  We have seen some special anvils made for some special kinds of work, but the face of such anvil is generally so mutilated that it makes the anvil useless for common blacksmithing.  The author has made arrangements with Fisher & Norris, Trenton, N. J., manufacturers of the “Eagle” anvils, to make an anvil more suitable for all-round blacksmithing and horseshoeing.  This anvil is intended to answer the requirements of the smith doing all kinds of work.  The extreme edges, which are of no use, but which will be knocked off the first week, are taken off to make the anvil suitable for plow work, such as shaping plow lays and cornplow shovels.  The inner side of the tail end (butt end) is rounded for 2 1/2 inches.  This is for pointing the toe of horseshoes.  As the anvil is now, this pointing has to be done over the horn of the anvil, with the heel of the shoe resting over the horn, and the toe held in the tongs, with no other rest than the grip of the tongs.  This will straighten the shoe but not point it much, or, it must be done with the inner web of the shoe resting over the horn, battering the web of the shoe, which should be done by no one.  These inconveniences are done away with in my anvil.

Eagle Anvil - Holmstrom Pattern

Ask your jobber for an “Eagle” anvil, and the “Holmstrom Pattern,” and you will get an anvil that will please you.  These anvils are made with or without the toe clip horn.