Last Christmas, my Nana asked me what Garrett and I would like, and the only thing we could think of was a horseshoe to hang up in our home for some good luck.
We were expecting just a regular horseshoe, but Nana really surprised us when we unwrapped not just any horseshoe, but one that seemed to be pretty old! Judging by similar ones we found online, it is at least 100 years old. We were stoked!
In the end, after some intense sniffing from Whiskey, we decided to keep it and see if we could clean it up a bit. I was curious to see what was under all the layers of rust and petrified dirt. It would affect any value it might have, but we couldn’t resist having this hanging up like we’d planned.
I started by doing some research on how to remove rust from other iron antique tools, like shovels and hammers. There were plenty of chemical suggestions, but I also saw some people mentioning how effective undiluted white vinegar can be. I’ve had great experience using it to clean mineral deposits around our faucets, so I thought why not give it a try.
I placed the horseshoe in a flat bucket, and submerged it in white vinegar. I let it soak for 24 hours and then gave it a scrub with an old toothbrush (a stiff brush would have been better). I replaced the vinegar and let it soak for another 24 hours.
Then using a combination of the toothbrush/stiff brush, toothpicks, an old flathead screwdriver and some old fashioned elbow grease, I was able to get most of the rust off. I was shocked by how quickly it started to look like iron again!
Here is a little before and after. I thought that the rust and gunk in the grooves and holes was stuck there for good, but I was eventually able to dislodge it with some poking and scrubbing.
The back came up much cleaner. We’re planning to try and snip off the majority of the nails in the back. This will make it easier to hang up and prevent scratches. (I’ve already stabbed myself…twice.)
Now that we have it clean, it is just a matter of how we refinish it. It can be coated in a protective oil and left au natural, or we can paint it.
We made a trip to a local hardware store for some advice and they suggested that we use a spray paint that is a paint and primer combo, like Rustoleum.
We have a choice of two different finishes that can produce different results:
1) Eggshell or flat finish to highlight all the imperfections (bumps, scratches, remaining rust deposits)
2) Glossy or satin finish to blend most of it together, but still highlighting the main details (nails, ridges, grooves)
I would love to have your input on this. What do you think we should do? Leave it au natural, or chose one of the spray painted finishes?
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Milk and Cuddles
How will you hang it? Up or down? Some say up catches luck, others say down and luck flows through your house. Either way I think you will be lucky!
sew sweet vintage says
So glad you posted this. I bought a pair of antique ice skates and was womdering how to remove some of the rust!!!!! Pinning:)
Stop by, i posted:
Just lkke in humans, brushing cats teeth is important to track.
Our bodies are actually designed to help with bad breath often have dental
problems. Good dental care does not require you to make an appointment.
Nonetheless, due to topth infections rather than a synthetic form.
I didn’t use the CLR. I used this stuff called The Works rust and stain remover. I put the horseshoe in a bucket with this stuff set it outside a few minutes and wa-la. No scrubbing or grinding or anything. Give it a try. I hope this helps. Wait until you see the results.
Kimberly A Hale says
Bring luck always up & in a threshold ( not a metal one) of some kind is even better because alot more friends, family, etc will most likely at some point pass under it. Therefore sharing & spreading the luck. Just saying.
Yvonne Young says
You can also clean the rust off with a water and citric acid (for canning tomatoes in the canning jar area).
Basin with approx 1 gallon water and couple tablespoons of citric acid…leave overnight. Scrub with wire brush (doesn’t take a lot of scrubbing) then rub a little oil on them to keep rust away.