Modern Blacksmithing Rational Horse Shoeing and Wagon Making

with rules, tables, recipes, etc., useful to manufactures, blacksmiths, machinists, well-drillers, engineers, liverymen, horse-shoers, farmers, wagon-makers, mechanics, amateurs and all others who have occasion to perform the work for which this book is primarily intended. by J.G. Homstrom 1901


True religion is also an uplifting factor, and must, if accepted, elevate the man. I cannot too strongly emphasize this truth. Every smith should connect himself with some branch of the church and be punctual in attendance to the same. There is a great deal of difference between families that enjoy the Christianizing, civilizing and uplifting influence of the church and those outside of these influences.

The smith outside of the church, or he who is not a member thereof will, in many cases, be found on Sundays in his shop or loafing about in his everyday clothes, his wife and children very much like him. The church member his wife and children, are different. Sunday is a great day to them. The smith puts on his best clothes, wife and children the same. Everything in and about the house has a holiday appearance and the effect on them of good music and singing, eloquent preaching, and the meeting of friends is manifested in their language, in their lofty aims, and benevolent acts. Sunday is rest and strength to them. Brother smiths, six days a week are enough for work. Keep the Sabbath and you will live longer and better.

Another reason the smith of to-day is not respected is his in competency. When a young man has worked a few months in a shop, he will succeed in welding a toe calk on a horseshoe that sometimes will stay, and at once he begins to think he knows it all. There will always be some fool ready to flatter him, and the young man believes that he is now competent to start on his own hook. The result is, he hangs out his shingle, begins to practice horse-shoeing and general blacksmithing, and he knows nothing about either. Let me state here that horse-shoeing is a trade by itself, and so is blacksmithing. In the large cities there are blacksmiths who know nothing about horse-shoeing, as well as horse-shoers who know nothing about blacksmithing, except welding on toe calks, and in many instances even that is very poorly done. In small places it is different. There the blacksmith is both blacksmith and horse-shoer.

Sometimes you will find a blacksmith that is a good horse-shoer, but you will never find a horse-shoer that is a good blacksmith. This is not generally understood. To many blacksmithing seems to mean only horse-shoeing, and our trade journals are not much better posted. Whenever a blacksmith is alluded to, or pictured you will always find a horse-shoe in connection with it. Yet there are thousands of blacksmiths that never made a horse-shoe in all their lives. Horse-shoeing has developed to be quite a trade, and if a man can learn it in a few years he will do well. I would not advise any young man to start out for himself with less than three or four years' experience. Every horse-shoer should make an effort to learn blacksmithing. He will be expected to know it, people don't know the difference; besides this, it will, in smaller cities, be hard to succeed with horseshoeing alone. On the other hand, every blacksmith should learn horse-shoeing, for the same reasons. Therefore, seven or even ten years is a short time to learn it in. But, who has patience and good sense enough to persevere for such a course, in our times, when everybody wants to get to the front at once? Let every young man remember that the reputation you get in the start will stick to you. Therefore be careful not to start before you know your business, and the years spent in learning it will not be lost, but a foundation for your success. Remember, that if a thing is not worth being well done it is not worth being done at all. It is better to be a first-class bootblack or chimney sweep, than be a third-class of anything else. Don't be satisfied by simply being able to do the work so as to pass, let it be first class. Thousands of mechanics are turning out work just as others are doing it, but you should not be satisfied to do the work as others are doing it, but do it right.