Getting A Handle On Hammers

Selecting, maintaining and using one of the most important tools in your box

Pictured Above: Swinging a hammer through the centerline of your body helps you maintain accuracy and power.

What do a hammer handle and a wooden spoke from an Amish buggy have in common?

For Hall Of Fame farrier Roy Bloom, both represent quality and durability.

“In order for a piece of wood to be correct in a hammer, the grain of your hammer handle needs to run straight up and down,” the owner of Bloom Forge told attendees at Centaur Forge’s annual fall clinic in Burlington, Wis. “If that grain line goes off to one side or another, that handle is going to break. So, it’s important to get that right piece of work.”

Those same specifications are necessary for a quality buggy spoke.

“One of the best sources for good handle wood is a buggy spoke,” Bloom says. “A buggy spoke has to have that very same characteristic. If the grain isn’t perfectly straight in a buggy spoke, it will shatter.”

To ensure that his hammer handles withstand the rigors of forging and modifying horseshoes and tools, Bloom turned to a buggy spoke company in New Holland, Pa.

“I spend a lot of time on hammer handles,” says the Drummond, Wis., farrier. “This is not something to shirk on. The company is able to get me a pretty good, straight handle on every hammer I sell. That’s pretty important to me.”

Farrier Takeaways

A grain line that moves to one side or another will result in a broken wooden…

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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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