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These three hoof knives look very similar, but a closer look reveals subtle differences in length, handle shape and blade style.
This tool comes in all different shapes and sizes because no two customers seem to want exactly the same thing
Trying to pin down exactly which hoof knife is right for which use is easy — so long as you’re talking about only one farrier.
As with most tools, farriers are particular about their hoof knives. Look over the displays in a farrier supply shop, at a trade show or on a manufacturer’s website and you’ll see straight blades, curved blades, hooked blades and belly blades.
And that’s just the start. The blades come in a variety of lengths and widths. Handles come in at least as much variety.
“I’ve been making hoof knives for years and I’ve been baffled about what people want,” says Frank Ringel of Ringel Custom Knives. “You’ll see a bunch of different kinds of curved blades, a million different sizes and lengths of handles and widths of blades.”
Ringel, of Florence, Mont., says he always preferred a fairly straight blade for his own shoeing, but says that may be in part due to his own way of wielding the knife around the hoof.
“So much of it (knife preference) comes down to how it is used. If you watch people work, you’ll see one person hold the knife one way and another guy in a completely different manner.”