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I Forge Iron


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  • Location
    Western Maryland
  • Interests
    Horseshoeing,forging/smithing,pulling tractors,gardening

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  1. Ferritic,the diamond crease nail pullers have held up good for me with the modification to the jaws. I’ve never felt the need to replace them with GE’s. I have a hard time justifying spending the money on something I rarely use.
  2. Looks like it will serve you well. I’m on my last Yukon Forge knife,I bought 4 of them back 2011 or so,I sharpen my knives on the buffer so knives last me an ungodly amount of time. I have a drawer full of handmade knives in my basement,Neal Baggetts,An original Dow Patterson loop knife from Australia to name a few. I’ll try my hand at forging a hoof knife someday.
  3. When I first started out when I decided I was gonna be a horseshoer,a bunch of the old time union racetrack horseshoers I grew up around all pitched in a tool or 2 and put me together a full shoeing box. Most everything was GE,nippers,pulloffs,clinchers,hand made driving hammer and an old B&O 1lb railroad machine shop ball peen. From there I started my apprenticeship and over about a 7yr period I apprenticed 4 1/2yrs. Took 4yrs off when I finished school and I went to College at Cornell and earned a masters degree in dairy science. Came home and finished my apprenticeship and pretty much shod horses full time on and off the track for 15yrs. I never liked diamond nippers either,to me they always felt too soft. not just the cutting edge but reins and all. I’m still using a lot of the tools I started with. Especially my GE pull offs and a couple pairs of my nippers have to be 50yrs old. Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.
  4. Dimensions of stock,type of stock and just about every other detail will depend on what said horse does for a living what what sort of feet he has. You wouldn’t use 1/4x1/2 to turn a pair of toed and heeled draft shoes no more than you would use 1x3/8 concave to turn a pair of fronts for a 14 hand lead pony. You can get barstock from any of the online suppliers,can’t give you much in regards to something local because I don’t know where you are located at on this ball of dirt
  5. Ferritic, The only two machine made hammers that I’ve ever had and actually liked is a 6oz horsehead and a 6oz Roger Grant,although I do have a vintage Thoro’bred waffle face 6oz kicking around somewhere. The horseheads are probably die forged,but they are very good steel. My horsehead is probably 20yrs old. Still has the factory haft in it too,just thinned out and has a magnet in the end. Hope I never break that handle because whoever’s supplying handles to horsehead now changed the entire handle shape,weight and dimensions. I probably should make a scale drawing of it and split out some hickory billets and have my buddy cut me some blanks on his CNC router. The Roger Grants are milled out of tool steel,Roger is a tool&die maker by trade. I’m curious if you have had your handmade hammers on the scale? Myself,I prefer a 5.5-6oz hammer with a thin squared up handle with a good bit of whip to it. I prefer a longer handle too,about 14” is what most of all my handles are on everything. I only use one driving hammer,I nail every hide with the same hammer. From 4Sp on my track horses to E6&8’s & up on Saddle horses and heavy horses. When I get my new shop up and get both of my hammers painted and rebuilt I’m gonna forge some hammers and tools,I’ve taken on an apprentice and I want to pass on the tool making that I learned from my mentor to my apprentice. I’ve got 4yrs 11mo to get my shop up and running lol Anvil,I’ve used Nicholson magicut rasps for years and years,they have always lasted good for me,cut fast and will finish a foot like glass if you are any good finishing a foot. A lot of guys over the years Have loved diamond tools,I never got along with any of them other than 1/4” diamond tongs and I have a pair of old diamond crease nail pullers that are modified that were given to me many many years ago by Danny Ward. My 4 pairs of hot fit tongs are made out of worn out/broken nippers and clinchers,lop the jaws off,forge out the reigns and shape the ends. Makes pretty darn nice hot fit tongs.
  6. Thomas,growing up I spent a lot of time on my grandparents dairy farm. Us dairy farmers tend to wash hands before and after hitting the head as well so I get the chemical aspect and I’ve dabbled in machine work since high school so I can relate there too,swarf is an evil little bit of refuse lol
  7. I detest the term “farrier”, but a good horseshoer needs to have the ability to convince ones self that it’s normal for one to work with their head lower than their xxxx all day, be able to be secretary, billing department, customer service department and service department all at the same time and finally, be able to read some green broke or unbroke puke. Could be the hide that your nailing or could be the owner/trainer/rider. I can handle a bad horse, I have no tolerance for stupid people lol. My mentor taught me something my first day of my 4yr apprenticeship, he said you wash your hands before and after you hit the head. And it is indeed a fact that I’ve observed over the past 20yrs is that us horseshoers are some of the only people who was their hands before and after hitting the head (bathroom) lol J.m Shrader
  8. George, between the two of us we basically have me talked in to building a rolling mill to roll out swaged & concave bar stock. Also I am definitely gonna be making a couple sets of blocks for the Little Giant and blanks/saddles for swaging under the hand hammer. Whilst swaging under hand hammer is a vital process for an apprentice, he’s also gonna destroy an immense amount of bar stock until he gets in the groove and gets his hands, eyes and xxxx wired together lol Being able to make swaged & concave sections fast and easy will save time and money in the long run. When I get my new shop built my intentions are to take on an apprentice and pass the skills and knowledge that me, yourself was passed to you by the old timers. Us talking about this project had had me thinking a lot about some good friends of ours who sadly are no longer with us. I know Danny, Bruce and Big John would love the ingenuity, but I’m pretty sure those three could have figured out how to make my idea work too. John would have gave me the devil for making something more complicated than it needed to be but he would have still helped me lol I thought about those guys a lot over the past year, there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t use something they taught me, both in shoeing horses and just good old day to day skills. I’m in no way, shape or form ashamed to say that I miss them every day. ps, I’m digging through 14yrs of photos on my iCloud server trying to find photos of my blocks I made as well as my collection of vintage blocks from racetrack shops that are now just a distant memory. J.m Shrader
  9. Found some pics of a few from my collection. I’ve downsized in the last 10yrs or so,at one point I had over 100 driving hammers alone. Now I think I have 50 lol First & second are Rice Bros about 5/5.5oz. Third & fifth are two of my favorite machine made hammers,6oz Horsehead and a 6oz a Roger Grant Journeyman Platers special. The RG is a beautifully machined work of art and a damn fine hammer. Fourth is a Tom Hall hafted on a Jim poor haft. I have an Andy Darden 5/6oz somewhere that has a lot of the characteristics of the Rice Bros hammers. When I sketched out the design and dimensions for the hammer that my buddy Gary forged for me from 4140 I took aspects of my favorites and combined them,looking back now that it’s been in my hands for almost half a year I wish I’d have made the waist about twice as long as it is for nothing more than visual preference. The rice bro style of hammer is special to me because I have a hammer that’s hand forged and styled after the rice bro that was forged in the 60s or early 70s that was given to my mentor when he finished his apprenticeship,and my mentor gave me the twin to his when I finished my apprenticeship. The sixth hammer is a copy of the originals that F.a Bell forged in the 50s-early 70s based on the rice bros with a few differences. Another old timer whom I grew up around up in Pennsylvania,Herb Stradley forged up a dozen or so patterned off of an original F.a Bell and sold them at his shop. I can’t find the pics of my original F.a Bell but I grabbed a photo from Ray Steele’s store when ray had a few for sale. You can see a lot of the same aspects from the Bell hammer in my custom hammer. As I find more of my photos and the actual hammers. I’ll post them and what they are and any history I know on them. I just noticed the second Rice bros photo is from the worthpoint listing for it,that’s how I ended up finding that one on eBay
  10. Nice looking hammers. I’ve always liked a lighter hammer,but then again I did come up shoeing racehorses expanded my custom from there. But always used the same hammer for everything from little tiny #3sp up to the big European head nails I used on my heavy horses to no the books. Always between 5&6oz. Used my Calcinore and an F.a Bell handmade hammers for probably 15yrs untill I won a 6oz Horsehead down at Danny Wards clinic in Va as a door prize one year. I do have a fondness for hammers tho,especially handmade,rare/obscure driving hammers.
  11. Got my hammer from England the other day but with everything that’s been going on I’ve been a bit preoccupied lol I hadn’t trimmed the top of the haft or wedged it yet, but the weight and balance is great.
  12. Thanks George,thanks guys. It was a little sooner than expected,I was actually at the track shoeing some horses when I got the call from my wife. She was born at 16:42/4:42pm for those who aren’t military,Europeans or paramedics lol Doctors said she’s a little frail but doing good over all,my wife is doing good as well. George,my 3yr old has taken an in shoeing horses. Maybe we have our next generation of jhu horseshoer lol
  13. That’s also the greatest thing about being an uncle too,I’m the eldest out,so even before I had kids of my own the kiddos loved comming over to the farm to visit me because I’d let them have all the crap my brothers and sisters wouldn’t let them,and I’d always buy them the most aggregating toys for birthday/Christmas/good grades that I could lol
  14. Personally I’ve never found them useful for pulling clips and much like turning cams on an anvil I’ve never felt the need or wanted “extras” on an anvil. I’ve only ever had one anvil that’s had a clip horn and I’ve never pulled a single clip on it,the placement up on the base of the horn was never comfortable for me. I needed something for in the shop to leave Emerson I had at the time in the truck. I prefer to pull clips at the heel working across the face. I was never very proficient at pulling clips untill I bought my double horn/German pattern from Scott Collier after a clinic at Danny Wards back before I got hurt.
  15. Thomas,Frosty normalcy is a very subjective thing lol I’ll just be happy to see how I end up after my leg finishes healing from the repairs they did on the multiple complete breaks of my left femur.
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