How to Solder Horseshoe Nails

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(Image: soldering image by Bube from Fotolia.com)

Horseshoe nail jewelry is popular with rodeo, country/western and barrel racing fans and participants. Horseshoe nails can be heated and bent into elaborate shapes and soldered into place, making rings, pendants and bracelets. Soldering requires a heat source, lead-free solder and flux.

Things You'll Need

  • Black permanent marker
  • Sketch pad
  • Fine-tip jewelers' propane or butane torch
  • 0 and 00 fine steel wool
  • Vise grips or pliers
  • Alligator clips, wire soldering clamps or hemostats
  • Low-temp silver bearing solder and compatible flux
  • Flux brush
  • Spray bottle of water

Make a sketch of your chosen design with a black permanent marker. Heat nails with a torch until they are bright orange as seen in dull light. Use vise grips or other pliers to bend each nail to the shapes needed to construct your design.

Clamp all the pieces of the design together using alligator clips, wire soldering clamps or hemostats.

Apply low-temp silver bearing solder-compatible flux to the areas of the nails that need to be soldered.

Preheat the area to be soldered with a fine-tip jewelers', butane or propane torch until the solder flows. Electronics Club.com owner, John Hewes, prefers to, "...hold the soldering iron like a pen, near the base of the handle. Imagine you are going to write your name...(the soldered area) should look shiny and have a 'volcano' shape. If not, you will need to reheat it and feed in a little more solder." Use a flux brush to remove any excess solder.

Spritz the entire soldered item with water to cool it. Apply slight pressure to the soldered joints to test them. Resolder if any break or seem loose.

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