How do you clean & preserve a horseshoe?

macthayerJanuary 28, 2008

Hi Everyone! Maybe I'm not even on the right forum, and if not, perhaps someone would kindly point me in the right direction. My DH and I built our dream home on 21 acres of what used to border a farm. While building, the builder found an old horse shoe right where our home now sits. He says it's good luck. Now I know you're supposed to display these with the ends up (so the luck doesn't fall out) but I need to get it to "display quality" first. It's in pretty good shape but as you can imagine, rather rusty. Should I clean the rust off? Using what? Should I paint it so it doesn't rust again? Help! I'd love to preserve my little treasure.


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Everybody should have a quart of Oshpo around. Paint it a couple times with that before painting it fire engine red. Tell eveybody it must have came off some pretty female horse with red toenails.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 5:03PM
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First let me say that I love the fire engine red that Mikie suggested! But what kind of look are you going for? If you want it to be rustic then just clean it up with steel wool and then use a spray varnish on it.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 6:02PM
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Well, I'm not so sure about the "Fire Engine Red" part -- kind of clashes with my decor. But I do want to at least STOP the rust. Then if it looks pretty good, I can varnish it. Or if it doesn't, I'll have to think of a color to paint it. But you shouldn't paint over rust, Right? I mean, at least I think I know better than to do that!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 7:41PM
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You can just brush off any loose rust with a wire brush and spray paint it with rust paint. It's available in many colors at all hardware stores. Names like Rustoleum, Tremco, the spray paint section.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2008 at 4:07AM
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I experienced a similar situation when living in MD. They were excavating the grounds around a 1780 Methodist Meeting house on Edgwood Arsenal and dug up an old horseshoe. It was in pretty bad shape, but I steel brushed it and cleaned it with mineral spirits. Let it dry and than sprayed it with three coats of clear epoxy spray from HD. It sealed it well and it hangs proudly on my house today.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 4:08PM
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Lots of antique dealers use Pam on old iron after brushing off the rust.
BUT...I think the rust looks good, and it won't get any rustier if it's kept least not in the time you are likely to care about.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 11:48AM
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Personally, I wouldn't want to wash off the positive luck so I would mount it to continue aging naturally, planning ahead is drip streaking might be a factor. If a fresh look is preferable, buy a new shoe, maybe one for each side of your house for good luck in every direction.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 12:26AM
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I'm with the previous poster, bodica. I wouldn't change it. Display it the way you found it. Do you ever watch the Antique Roadshow? They usually scold people who remove the "pantina." Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 6:26PM
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I have some old railroad nails I found in my yard while gardening. They are rusty, I left them "as is" and display them in a glass bottle. I think it's cool. By the way, a real railroad (Long Island RR) is about a quarter mile away. I assume that's where the nails came from.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 8:42PM
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I would sand the metal to get rid of rust build-up and then coat it in some grease (crisco or all-purpose oil). If it's not going to get weathered or be outside in the elements, the oil should hold up for a very long time. I would think if it's going to be outside & it's just going to get rained on & sun, the oil should be just fine. Maybe just check on it a couple times a year.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:12AM
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I agree about "what look are you going for?." There is an upscale Garden Center near us that always has a large assortment of expensive rusty home and garden things for sale. And I see it at the Spring Garden Shows too.

First thing I'd want to do is clean it up, but lots of people seem to like it.

Sister-in-law laughs remembering all the time she spent painting fences, etc. for MOM so they wouldn't get that way. Sandy

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:54PM
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