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As a farrier, there aren’t many tools you use more frequently than your hoof knife. No matter what kind of horse you work on and no matter how many you trim in a day, that knife gets dull. This repeated wear can render it an ineffective, and dangerous, instrument. Finding your best timing and method for keeping knives sharp is through trial and error. Just like all other topics in hoof care, the opinions of farriers about keeping a blade sharp during its duration come in a wide variety.
Shoeing in West Pawlet, Vt., Ken Norman uses a buffer to sharpen his knives. “Often just a little touch up in the morning and they are good for the day.” He also advises you to put some of the work of keeping a hoof clean onto the owners. “I also try to get my clients to keep the horses out of the mud before I come,” he explains.
Bob Thies of St. Louis, Mo., enlists two tools for the duty. “I sharpen two knives on a belt sander in my shop every morning before I leave for work. During the day I touch up each knife with a diamond sharpener as needed,” he says.
Palmer, Alaska, farrier Heidi Larrabee relies on a saw file to do the trick. “A couple of strokes and you’re ready to go. I might dress it a little more, but that is it,” she explains. “Sometimes I can go a…