With your hoof knives, it is only an issue of sharpening and care, not rebuilding. A sharp knife performs more effectively and safely than a dull one. If your blade operates at a top level, that means less time for you working under the horse.

In addition, a sharp knife eases the pressure placed on a farrier’s hand, wrist and elbow. It may not be noticeable at first, but the wear adds up over time. Frank Ringel of Ringel Custom Knives says with a sharp blade, you will get a cleaner cut, resulting in a good job.

“You don’t have to fight the hoof,” says Ringel. “When you are working on an animal you can’t get under, like a pony, you are probably using your other hand to grip the foot. When you have to force the blade, it could slip across the hoof instead of into it.”

No matter what steps you take or whether your nippers are top of the line, they are going to become dull from normal use. This leads to the need for sharpening the blades. However, improper sharpening can ruin a set of nippers.

Donald Jones, owner of NC Tool Co. in Pleasant Garden, N.C., says it is fine to “touch up” the blades with a light sharpening from the inside. But if you lack the experience to sharpen, let someone else do it.

“More nippers are messed up by people filing the tools themselves,” believes the Hall Of Fame shoer. “When they send them in to be rebuilt, the person rebuilding them needs to take off more than what’s usually necessary. They sharpen from the outside or get them too steep.

“By the time the guy who rebuilds it gets to them, they are so bad that there’s probably only one or two rebuilds left, when you could have had four.”

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