mule14.jpg
Mule Head
Demonstration by Bill Epps.
http://www.besmithy.com
May 26, 1999

Special Thanks to Glenn Conner(Ntech) for compiling the pictures.

Bill-Epps :
20:29:04

Good Evening Gentlemen. This is Sharon Epps speaking live and in person via SlackTubPub Live Chat. I look forward to spending a very entertaining evening with all of you as I do Bill's Typing and Biding. As soon as I can get him off the "!@# telephone we will begin the demonstratiostration.

Bill-Epps :
20:32:18

This is a Mule head, I've had a lot of fun with it on fire place pokers, barbeque sets Letter Openers, etc.

mule14.jpg

Bill-Epps :
20:34:02

These are the tools (the punches that you need). Eye punch, Center punch, , a side set or butcher's punch, and a Hot Cutter.

mule01.jpg (4399 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:35:58

This is 1/2" stock. Start out by setting down the end on the edge of the anvil about 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the stock.If you taper this set down part slightly, it makes it easier to the make the split in the center of the bar.

mule02.jpg (2522 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:37:12

Make a split in the center. This is what we will make the ears out of. Draw the ends down a little bit to a point.

mule03.jpg (1982 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:37:21

mule04.jpg (2831 bytes)

Jock-D :
20:38:11

Bill, Are you using one of those special thin hot cutters?

Bill-Epps :
20:38:57

With our side set or butcher's punch (Farrier's shoe creaser works well too) we will spread and flatten out the ears. Yes I use one of the little Pettinghhouse Hot Cutters from Centar Forge Supply.

Bill-Epps :
20:42:05

Shape the ears to suit (whatever you think a mule's ears look like). After making the split with the hot cutter, use a dull punch to put a radius at the bottom of the split to avoid a cold shunt.. Now, close the ears back to gether so that they will be out of the way when you bend the head over and shape the face.

mule05.jpg (2140 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:43:39

Bend the head over as short as possible and draw out the face. Do most of your hammering on the back side to avoid getting the face too thin.

mule06.jpg (1291 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:43:49

mule07.jpg (1566 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:44:56

Draw the face down to sort of a short blunt point.

mule08.jpg (2066 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:48:12

Now we are ready to put the detail on the face. Make a line with your side set tool from the nose up just off the center, do the same the other side. You are raising the center of the nose up, and making a divot for the eyes. Hammer the corners of the nose at a 45 degree angle slightly and center punch the nostrils. Cut mouth . Alright take another heat!

Bill-Epps :
20:48:53

Then you sink the eye punch on each side.

mule09.jpg (2919 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:49:59

If your mule should be a little gotch-eyed, don't worry about it, it gives him personality:)

Jock-D :
20:51:00

Bill, Did we miss something between 7 & 8? (Tapering the face, then the front view?).

Bill-Epps :
20:52:12

At this point, hammer the bottom jaw lightly to round it up and give him that knot under his jaw. Then take a long heat, and round up round up the corners behind the head about 3 inches. After you bend the crook you won't be able to get at this.

Bill-Epps :
20:54:54

This is drawing #7, you draw from the back side to leave a mass for the face, so you will have enough thickness when you start the eyes and put the bevel down the center of the face and raise the nose.

mule07.jpg (1566 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:56:57

This picture is upside down. Take a long heat and I quench the nose. Bend it over the edge of the anvil, then turn back over the horn hammer on the nose to make the crook of the neck center up, and also this allows the ears to stand up.

mule10.jpg (1887 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:58:07

I kick the ears forward just a little for personality.

mule11.jpg (2665 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
20:58:47

Let me back up just a little, I forgot to say back two pictures ago, when you do the face, you also spread the ears back out.

Bill-Epps :
20:59:25

mule12.jpg (1885 bytes)

mule14.jpg (1352 bytes)

Bill-Epps :
21:01:44

It should end up looking something like this. Try it just for the fun of it.

Bill-Epps :
21:03:07

This same technique will also make a longhorn, rams head, it just depends upon how you do the ears, whether you make the ears into horns and how you shape them.  

kiwi :
21:03:41

A couple of vairiations of the mule head that were made by C. R. Becker blacksmith in Mich.horse01.jpg (3410 bytes)ram01.jpg (1659 bytes)

dimag :
21:07:18

Bill when you do that on a shoe ,do you step it down to begin or just do the split and fold for the face?

Bill-Epps :
21:08:38

just split and fold

Bill-Epps :
21:09:27

No just split and fold, the only reason for setting it down is just to make it a little easier to split. It is easier to split through 1/4 inch than 1/2.

Bill-Epps :
21:09:53

On a shoe I start with 1/4 x 3/4 x 14 inches.

Bill-Epps :
21:10:40

Paw-Paw, have you ever tried welding the horns on for a rams head?

Paw-Paw :
21:11:59

Bill, No, always stepped down the end of a 1/2" square bar, split, draw out, twist and curl after makeing th face.

Jock-D :
21:12:50

Here's Bill's horseshoe horse. newsp607.htm

dimag :
21:12:58

There will be lots of meat on those shoes Jim,you might have to step them down a little.

Paw-Paw :
21:13:44

I also do a horses head, but I'm not satisfied with the ones I've been doing lately. Something doesn't look right to me. I'll remember that Dimag, thanks for the tip!

Jock-D :
21:15:00

I've welded rams horns and made them from 1/4" brazing rod the same way. Use a similar eye punch on rams heads.

Bill-Epps :
21:15:37

Paw-Paw, see the rams head that Kiwi put up? That is done by taking a piece of 1/4 inch square about 18 to 20" long pointing the ends and folding it in q/w and jump welding it onto the end of a 1/2" square bar. Draw out the face from the back side , spread the horns out and twist them. You can put a whole lot of curl on each side.

kid :
21:15:38

The late Paul Hubler (Iron menagerie) made horses on shoes like that also. I've seen him put a cat on a shoe also.

Paw-Paw :
21:15:38

Bill, I just took a look at that horse you did from a shoe! Darn that's nice!

Paw-Paw :
21:16:24

I've got a couple of eye punches. One I made from an old center punch, and one that was sent to me by Jerry Carrol.

Paw-Paw :
21:17:23

I may have to Play with a horseshoe horse at the Percheron Association. Should be a good seller. Bill, what do you charge for that piece?

Bill-Epps :
21:17:56

I do mine a little different from what Paul did. I met him in Colorado about 5 years ago. I showed him how I did my horse head, and he liked it a lot. (It was a great loss when we lost Paul.

Bill-Epps :
21:18:44

I charge $20 for them. It takes me about 20 minutes to make one.

Copyright 1999 Bill Epps
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