Attention is often paid to forging temperatures, hammer blows and anvils, and rightly so. There are other aspects of forging that are equally important, yet don’t get as much consideration.
“A lot of people have problems because they’re just all over the place,” Sacramento, Calif., farrier John Williams told attendees at a late summer forging clinic at The Horseshoe Barn. “They’re just spread out all over their anvil. They throw their stock up there, any old place, and then they just take their hammer to the stock.”
When working at the anvil, it’s critical to understand how body position influences every blow of your hammer. Williams suggests assuming a working triangle position with your feet shoulder-width apart and even with one another, while your knees are slightly bent and relaxed.
“One side of my body is a working triangle, my tongs are another and my hammer is the third,” explains the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School forging instructor. “It’s always staying with that same body positioning.”
It’s critical to keep your arms close to your sides.
“When you bring your arms away from your body, your shoulder comes into play,” Williams says. “Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. You have a lot of movement…