Quality of Hoof Knives Not Easy to Determine

Packaging labels and ads don’t necessarily give you the information needed to select a knife that will meet your expectations for sharpness and durability

Farriers probably reach for their hoof knives more than any other tool, but it’s a good bet that many don’t give much thought to buying this seemingly simple piece of basic equipment. It’s usually just a matter of finding a style that fits your hand, does the job and sells at a reasonable price, then replacing it when it’s worn away from too many resharpenings.

That approach could be costing you time, effort and money through the use of hoof knives that aren’t truly sharp, according to Lyle Brunckhorst, a master bladesmith. He recommends switching to a genuinely sharp hoof knife for several reasons:

  • If the knife cuts better, it will save you time while trimming. Time equals money.
  • A better-cutting knife will reduce arm fatigue, allowing you to work longer at full strength.
  • If it stays sharp longer, it will increase the first two benefits and it will result in less time spent resharpening the hoof knife.

Where To Start

So how can you tell if your knife is as sharp as a knife can be, or capable of taking a good edge? “You can’t just look at a hoof knife and tell,” Brunckorst says, and the packaging on new knives doesn’t offer reliable clues, either. “Absolutely none,” he says.

But one sure sign that your knife is not truly sharp, and doesn’t even have the potential to be, is if it can be sharpened with a file. “A farrier who’s used to sharpening a hoof knife with a…

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Ron perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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