There are several things to consider when choosing a hoof knife, but have you thought about how much of the blade engages the foot?

“Different blades are going to touch in different places,” says Danny Anderson, a Collinsville, Texas, farrier and owner of Indian Creek Forge. “If you want to see where a knife truly cuts — which part of the knife touches the hoof first — set it against a flat surface, such as a wall, where you can look down the sharp edge of the blade.

“Then just pick it up like you are moving your hand up toward the sole. Where the blade touches the wall or surface, that’s where it’s going to touch the hoof first.”

Regardless of your choice in hoof knives, Anderson believes that a farrier armed with this knowledge has a better idea about how much you are paring from the foot.

“You’ll see how much of that blade engages that surface,” he says. “Then you’ll understand the harder and deeper you go into that surface, the more length of blade you engage.”

Check out more hoof-knife wisdom in the November 2014 issue of American Farriers Journal, in which farriers and knife craftsmen Danny Anderson, Frank Ringel, Neal Baggett and Robbie Hunziker offer their tips.

Do you have a helpful tip that you would like to share with your fellow farriers? Please send it to Jeff Cota at If we use your tip, we’ll send you a free shirt.