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“The hoof knife is at the top of the list of hardest-working knives.” That’s what Frank Ringel told those attending his clinic on sharpening hoof knives at the 2009 International Hoof-Care Summit (IHCS) in Cincinnati, Ohio. As owner of Ringel Custom Knives in Florence, Mont., he should know.
Besides handcrafting every blade he sells, Ringel has worked as a farrier, so he understands the beating that a horse’s foot can put on a knife. “The hoof is not a friendly environment for keeping a knife sharp,” says Ringel. Pulling from his expertise as a craftsman and hoof-care professional, he shared his insight on knife sharpening with IHCS attendees.
A sharp knife benefits the farrier in several ways. Most noticeably, the sharper the knife, the better it performs. If your blade operates at a top level, that means less time for you working under the horse.
In addition, a sharp knife eases the pressure placed on a farrier’s hand, wrist and elbow. It may not be noticeable at first, but the wear adds up over time, claims Ringel.
With a sharp blade, you will get a cleaner cut, resulting in a good job. Your clients may notice the difference.
A sharper knife is a safer knife. “You don’t have to fight the hoof,” says Ringel. “When you are working on an animal you can’t get under, like a pony, you are probably using…