Early versions of propane forges improved efficiency, but weren’t as reliable as new models. 

Education and Entertainment When Lighting a Forge

The never-ending push for farriers to improve efficiency in their practice

Sometime in the early ’80s, Scott Simpson was running the farrier education program at Walla Walla Community College. I knew him well from taking an individual studies class during the previous winter. I wanted to improve my forging skills and Scott let me sign up for the class, but, having had 8 years in the field at that time, I worked apart from the regular class at the anvil rather than under horses

Scott loved educating anyone earnest in their desire to acquire more or improve on their knowledge and skills in the art and science of farriery. His willingness to allow me to pursue a course of study apart from the rest of the class was one example of that. 

Scott sponsored a clinic and competition at the school one weekend and several of those attending were staying at his, “Last Chance Ranch” a few miles west of the school. During the clinic, someone brought up the fact that the propane forges we used were a pain to light. There weren’t any spark plug igniters that are ubiquitous today, and each farrier had to come up with the method of ignition that worked best for them. 

Some farriers would hold a piece of lit material up to the opening where the Venturi burner entered the forge box, and then turn the gas on. This didn’t always work and sometimes the gas would blow out the paper or whatever you had and continue to fill the box with gas. I…

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David hazlett

David Hazlett CJF

David Hazlett is a certified journeyman farrier based in Ellensburg, Wash. He has been shoeing for nearly 50 years.

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