1. “You want tongs that give you a great grip, work smoothly and are sized right for the job. If your tongs don’t grip properly, the steel you’re working on will waffle in the grip.”

— John McNerney, Platteville, Colo., 2008 

2. “There are only five basic marks that can be made with a hammer while forging. They are a flat hammer mark or a straight down hit; a left mark or the hammer tilted to the left; a right mark or tilted to the right; a tilted forward or toe mark; and a tilted back or heel mark. Everything is a combination of these five marks.”
— Michael Chisham, Petaluma, Calif., 2008

3. “When you’re pulling clips, you don’t want a really light hammer, and you don’t need a big, heavy hammer because you have to have control. My preference is to use a hammer that’s about the same weight as my rounding hammer. That way you develop a sixth sense about swinging your hammer and you have more control.”
— Chip Hunt, Brazil, Ind., 2007

4. “If you punch your toe nail hole a little way back from the end of your crease, it’s easier to get hold of the nail head with your nail pullers later.”
— Bill Poor, Houston, Texas, 2006 

5. “You have to be able to hit the same spot on the shoe each time when pulling a clip. Being able to do this depends on having proper hammer control.”
— Travis Koons, Romoland, Calif., 2006

6. “Drilling stud holes instead of punching them takes more metal out of the shoes. Punching leaves more steel and strength in the shoe.”
— Dave Willis, Beavercreek, Ore., 2006

7. “When drawing a clip, remember the top will go to whichever side your hammer handle is going.”
— Bruce Daniels, Mullica Hill, N.J., 2005

8. “Since you only have one pair of eyes, always wear safety glasses when doing forging work. Ear protection is also essential.”
— Lee Green,Yucaipa, Calif., 2004

9. “Learn to use your anvil horn efficiently. The horn is underrated and not understood well by a lot of farriers.”
— Chris Gregory, Lamar, Mo., 2004

10. “There are three things you can do with a mistake. Fix it with a couple of hammer blows, fix it on the next heat or throw it out. Teach yourself not to accept a mistake. If you don’t, the method of forging you develop will be to fix mistakes.” 
— Bob Marshall, Mission, British Columbia, 2003

11. “Even good steel anvils can crack or chip. When the temperature is below freezing, preheat your anvil before striking on it and always have hot or mild steel between hammer and anvil.”
— Ken Mankel, Cannonsburg, Mich., 2002 

12. “The optimum temperature for punching nail holes is when the shoe is just red from the forge.”
— Billy Crothers, Wales, 2003 

13. “When I’m modifying a keg shoe and there are clips on the shoe, I back punch to clean up the nail holes. When there are no clips, I like to clean my holes out from the groundside down. I call it front punching.”
— Danny Ward, Martinsville, Va. 2002

14. “Forging is the essence of horseshoeing. If you can’t do this effectively, you can’t balance horses.”
— Richard Duggan, Ramsey, Minn., 2001

15. “Heat the steel evenly. If will bend easiest where it is hottest. Beginners often struggle because they heat the steel unevenly.”
— Chris Gregory, Lamar, Mo., 2001

16. “I used to make shoes wider because then they were easier to modify at the shoeing site. But I found it was harder to see the foot that way. Now I make them tighter and actually make fewer trips to the anvil.”
— Myron McLane, Somserset, Mass., 2001

17. “Once you learn the basics of shoe making, it’s much easier to make modifications. Making the shoes makes you learn the shapes that you are going to need and helps you get to where you can bang a keg shoe into the shape you need on the first or second try.”
— Neal Poort, Sedalia, Mo., 2001

18. “Since your pritchel is a cutting tool, it’s not just used to displace metal. If the back of a shoe looks like someone shot out the holes with a .45, then you’re displacing metal and not cutting it.”
— Jim Keith, Tucumcari, N.M., 2001

19. “The lighter the weight of your anvil, the more it steals energy from your arms and wrists. Since the weight of your anvil makes a big difference in the way that you do your work, the heavier the anvil, the better.”
— Jim Poor, Midland Texas, 2000

20. “Don’t ‘chase’ the shoe while working at the anvil. Pick a spot close to the anvil to strike and use the tongs to roll or rotate the shoe through the spot toward the anvil.”
— Danny Ward, Martinsville, Va., 2000

21. “I thought I’d done a real good job on a draft horse shoe, but he (the judge, David Wilson, Sr.,) didn’t like it at all. I’ll always remember him telling me a farrier can build the prettiest shoe in the world, but what counts is how it helps the horse. I’d built this shoe to impress him, not the horse.”
— Marshall Iles, Calgary, Alberta, 2000

22. “Always pritchel at a black heat. This will allow you to shear the material and avoid heat buildup. You’ll enjoy a much longer pritchel life and better nail holes.”
— Roy Bloom, Drummond, Wis., 1999

23. “When you take aluminum out of the forge, run the butt end of your hammer handle across the stock. If the hammer slides, the aluminum is ready to be worked. If it sticks, you need more heat.”
— Fred Cleveland, Marshall, Va., 1998

24. “Hold a hammer loosely in your hand. If you hold a hammer too tight, you’ll injure your arm or your shoulder.”
— Hank McEwan, Langley, British Columbia, 1998

25. “Punches, pritchels, fore punches, fullers, hand punches — all of these tools are extremely vulnerable to wear because they are hit with a hammer. Pay close attention for signs of mushrooming, as any tool repetitively hit with a hammer can mushroom.”
— Dan Bradley, Lucedale, Miss., 1998

26. “Always use heavy bar stock when shoeing draft horses. Even among lighter or young draft horses, 1 1/4-by-1/2-inch is standard.”
— Edward Martin, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, 1997 

27. “Work your material hot, so that the tongs can hold it easily. Steel moving in the tongs indicates either a bad fit or that you’re working the steel while it’s too cold.”
— Charley Orlando, Belmont, N.Y., 1996

28. “If you want to add a little traction on the toe of a hind shoe, crease across the toes by the nail holes. Extend it from where the crease stops right to the end of the heel.”
—John Voigt, Carbondale, Ill., 1996

29. “The reason a lot of people have weld failures is they let the bar stock cool off too much before they put the flux on it.”
— Eddie Watson, Keswick, Va., 1995

30. “A poorly dressed creaser can displace metal in the wrong places.”
— Matt Taimuty, Federalsburg, Md., 1995

31. “If a clip you’ve drawn looks ‘pig-eared,’ file it from the back to shape it. It only takes a few seconds and no one will see that you filed it from the back. But if you do it from the front, they’ll see you are dressing your clips.”
— Bob Skradzio, Ambler, Pa., 1994

32. “You want to work with the thinnest part of your stock first because it will lose its heat first. You only have a limited amount of time to work with hot steel, so you want to have a plan on how to work it. Remember to rotate the heat away from your body and work from cold to hot and from thin to thicker steel.”
— Bob Schantz, Foristell, Mo., 1993

33. “To maintain the proper width and thickness of metal at the heel bend and bar when forging a bar shoe, bump up the ends of the bar slightly. This can be done before or after turning the heels. I prefer to bump up the ends of the bar slightly. This lets me put more definition into the heels and still maintain the thickness and width of the stock in one heat.”
— Laurie Fiesler, Olmsted Falls, Ohio, 1993

34. “When using a turning hammer to concave the inside of a shoe to relieve sole pressure, turn the hammer head to the round side before striking. This will leave your arm and wrist straight while keeping your arm closer to the body in a more natural position.”
— Bob Peacock, Hamilton, Ohio, 1992

35. “Cross-tonging affords excellent control of a horseshoe while drawing a clip. Cross-tonging is reaching across the horseshoe’s branch nearest to the tong hand and picking up the horseshoe by the opposite branch. One of the tong reins rests against the branch nearest the tong hand, making for a more controlled grip.”
— Dennis Manning, Roosevelt, Utah, 1988

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