Funny nails

Have you ever wanted to make your own coin or thought that there’s just not enough funny hats and beards on coins. If you have you came to the right place. In this instructable I will show how to make a traditional hobo nickel. I came across hobo nickels about funny nails year ago and decided to try my hand at creating my own.

My initial searching reveled that tooling can cost into the thousands of dollars. For something that I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with that’s a bit much. After more searching I found out that old-time engravers would use nails, old files, drills and whatever else they had lying around. Now that was something I could handle, so I tried it and it worked. You can probably do it for almost nothing if you are good at scrounging. I’ll be straight with you, I am a complete hack at best. If you want to see what can really be done search “hobo nickel” in your favorite search engine and see what comes up.

If I haven’t scared you away yet keep reading. Step 1: What’s a Hobo Nickel? The term hobo nickel is used generically for any engraved or carved coin. Nickels are commonly used but just about every coin has been carved at some point or another.

1 a day for unskilled labor. To make this last longer hobos would take coins, usually nickels and modify them by adding funny faces or designs. These could then be traded for a meal of a place to stay. In this way the hobo could stretch his dollar to last a week or more.

I don’t know if this is true but it makes for a good story. Hobo nickels have since become an art in their own right. Nickels were used because of their somewhat large size and low relative value. Quarters offer a much larger area but are five times the face value. For a hobo trying to stretch is money this is a lot. Modern day carvers use any and all coins usually based on personal preference. Step 2: But Isn’t That Illegal?