Improve Your Tool Efficiency

Proper care and use will make your job easier and boost your bottom line

The earliest evidence of human cultural behavior is the manufacture of tools.

Early man was developing tools to make tasks easier for at least 2.6 million years. Oldowan tools — the oldest-known stone tool industry — have been unearthed throughout Africa with the oldest found in Gona, Ethiopia.

Ever since, humans have been seek­ing new ways to improve tools. Al­though tools have improved efficiency, they are not always used in the most efficient manner. Tapping into the minds of the best farriers and toolmakers in the country, here are some tips to improve your efficiency with tools.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the tools in the Oldowan tool kit were cutting and hammering instruments.

“The hammer has gone through a tremendous evolution,” says Hall Of Fame farrier Jim Keith of Tucumcari, N.M. “It probably started out as a flat rock. A stick with a knobby end on it was probably added eventually. Virtually any tool made by man can be used as a hammer. I know I use my computer mouse sometimes as a hammer when it doesn’t work right.”

Farrier Takeaways

A tight grip on the hammer handle will dampen rebound, resulting in you working harder and encouraging muscle fatigue.

Resting the hammer at the heel of the anvil will keep the heat where you’re working and avoid drying out your hammer handle.

Going over your work by using a smaller fuller and switching to the opposite direction will help you clean up your lines.


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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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