Introduction: No-Weld Horseshoe Puzzle

About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first to…
Very recently I published an Instructable on solving the Horseshoe and Ring Puzzle. I made my own puzzle and it involved welding. Here is a way to make a horseshoe puzzle without any welding.

I used some 1 x 2 firing strip and 1/2 inch dowel rod to make the horseshoes. This works, but the puzzle would be a little easier to use if horseshoe shapes were cut from 1 x 6 wood or from plywood.

  • 1 x 2 firing strips
  • 1/2 inch dowel rod
  • Six links of chain
  • Steel wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Glue
  • Side cutter pliers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Saw
  • Drill and bit

Step 1: Cut 1 X 2 Wood

I sawed 1 x 2 to make two pieces 4 1/2 inches long.

Step 2: Drill

I drilled a 1/2 inch hole in both ends of the 1 x 2 pieces. I drilled them at a 15 degree angle. The holes nearly went through the 1 x 2, but not quite. Although I used a drill press, a hand-held drill would work very well, too.

Step 3: Next Steps

I put the dowel pieces into the holes drilled in the 1 x 2. I drilled a small hole through the end of each dowel. Cut two pieces of chain with three links in each piece. The links should not be any shorter than what you see here. Longer might be a little better. This is what I had in my leftover materials.

Step 4: Attach Chain

I cut four pieces of steel wire about 4 to 5 inches long each. I bent them as you can see in the photo. Both ends go through the dowel in the holes from the previous step. Slip the wire through the chain before finishing with the attachment of the wire to the dowel ends. I used a pair of pliers to crimp the wire tightly around the dowel ends and covered the ends of the dowels with electrical tape. 

Step 5: How It Should Look

When finished attaching the chain to the dowel ends, this is what you should have. I did make one mistake you can see. The chain nearer the camera has a 1/2 twist in it. Later I had to disconnect the chain at one end and remove the twist.

Step 6: The Ring

I cut two feet of steel wire and made a coil. I covered the coil with electrical tape. The diameter of the coil needs to be large enough to pass over two pieces of 1 x 2 next to each other so both can slip through the ring at the same time, but smaller than 4 1/2 inches, which is the length of the 1 x 2 piece. (This is why horseshoe forms made from 1 x 6 or from plywood would be easier to use.)

Step 7: Using the Puzzle

The first photo shows the puzzle ready to solve with the ring on the chains. 

The second photo shows the puzzle in the process of being solved. Notice how a puzzle made with 1 x 2 requires a ring large enough to fit over two pieces of 1 x 2 at the same time.

The third photo shows the puzzle solved so that the ring can be lifted of of the wooden facsimile horseshoes.