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Forging The Daily Grind The Silver Bullet Project

Double sided clips exercise.

This exercise is a way to practice drawing as many clips as we can from a single used horse shoe.

The idea came to me while I was apprenticing with Dave Farley back in the mid ’90s.

I had asked him to help me, and so he did. But, it all came down to the fact that I needed to practice a ton more than I had.

After I spent about three solid days in my parents driveway doing this, I can say that my clip drawing problems had been solved.

How to:

This exercise is really all about hammer control. The most important thing to keep in mind is to focus on good forging mechanics. The end result will come, but if you don’t focus on proper basics and form, then you are really wasting the benefits of this exercise.

To do this, we pull clips all the way around the outside of the shoe.

Then we turn the shoe inside out and pull them all the way around the new outside.

Straighten the shoe, starting on the horn to get the majority of the bend out of the branch.

With most of the bend out of the branch, we can use the face of the anvil to finish straightening and iron out the wrinkles and waves.

It is very important to re-establish good dimensions to the material before we reshape the shoe inside out. If we don’t, the end result will suffer a lot in quality, and may even become progressively more unmanageable to forge.

Once the shoe is straightened nicely, we can then start reshaping the shoe with the original inner web on the outside. This process is basically the same as shaping a fresh handmade shoe, but with the added challenge of a lot of distortion from the clips.

When the shape is satisfactory, we just do the same thing we did at first – pull clips all around the shoe again.


Will and I started working on a video, which is where these pictures came from, but we are going to have to redo. Neither of us are happy with our performance.

When we get it done, of course it will be added to this page.

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The Daily Grind

Introducing: The Daily Grind

My son Will and I have decided on doing an occasional blog/ vlog featuring the daily goings on in the business and lifestyle of being a farrier in Cincinnati.

I expect this to be a light sprinkling of articles and videos of daily shoeing and some ramblings of mine as I go. I do love to create content and would love to do a lot more of this, but I know myself better than to actually expect anything close to a daily release like some people manage to do.

Today:

It’s my typical Monday off.

I have been taking Mondays off since the days when I was the show farrier and show producer at Paxton Farm, working pretty much every weekend. I had to have a recovery day to get some other life things done and it is so convenient that I still do it today – even though it has been a long time since I have been doing the show farrier thing.

Now I use it for make up days and for doing the behind the scenes things that I like to get done. Of course sometimes – for absolutely nothing in particular.

Anyway, today I’m working on this website and Will and I are going to go out and make some hoof picks to put in our new store and work on some of our forging videos.

We have so many ideas and we are getting things done.

It will be a while before we find our groove and get really consistent, but we will get there.

I think I’ll publish this and probably come back this evening and fill it out with what we get done today.