Round Pritchel Won't Make Square Holes

But a quick fix-it can keep farriers working efficiently

A misshapen pritchel that won’t punch clean nail holes can cause problems, such as holes that seize the nails being driven into a hoof wall. And then there’s the extra work needed to clean up the holes and remove the small, hanging shards of metal around them.

The problems are easily avoided with a quick rehabbing of a pritchel to restore its effectiveness. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is recognizing the need to maintain this tool.

“Your pritchel gets messed up often when you’re working hot, and it has to be reshaped to do the job right,” says Donald Jones, an International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame Farrier and the owner of NC Tool Company, which serves the farrier industry.

Jones provided a demonstration of pritchel maintenance in his Pleasant Garden, N.C., shop and offers the following advice, noting that the pritchel must be heated to a red heat during this procedure:

  • First, blunt the working end of the pritchel by standing it perpendicular to the face of your anvil and giving it acouple of light raps with a hammer. (See Photo 1.)
  • Hold the pritchel horizontally, with the few bottom inches of the tip laying on the anvil. Rotate the pritchel onto each of its narrow and broad faces, using hammer blows to flatten each face while squaring the point. (See Photos 2 and 3.)
ROUND PRITCHEL

ROTATE. Rotate the pritchel so each of the four faces can be flattened. Be sure that the process squares the corners of the tip of the…

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