Does your clinch gouge need regular maintenance? There’s a good chance you’re using it incorrectly.

“The edge does not need to be sharp,” says Hall Of Fame farrier Roy Bloom. “You’re hitting it into a hoof with a hammer, for heaven’s sake. If you sharpen it to where you have a really nice razor edge to it, it’ll flatten out for you anyway almost after the first lick with the hammer. There’s no sense in that.”

The owner of Bloom Forge in Drummond, Wis., suggests finding an alternative to using your driving hammer on the clinch gouge.

“Those are just as expensive as a pair of nippers,” Bloom says. “I’ve seen guys whack it with the side of their driving hammer or miss and knock a claw off.”

A plastic or nylon hammer works best.

“The clinch gouge will last forever with a plastic hammer,” he says. “You’ll never have to buy another one. In all the years I’ve had the gouge and used it with a plastic hammer, I’ve never had to touch it up.”

It also makes the horse more comfortable.

“It’s a little bit softer than when you’re banging with your driving hammer,” Bloom says. “There’s less clanging and vibration.”


For more hammer tips from Roy Bloom, read “Getting A Handle On Hammers” in the November issue of American Farriers Journal.