In the pursuit of becoming a better farrier, there are many subjects we must study; anatomy, biomechanics, pathologies, forging, business, and horsemanship are just some of the list. One of the subjects that is often overlooked or misunderstood in the beginning is tool maintenance. Maintaining tools is a skill that may not be listed as a requirement of passing the CJF; however, if your fuller, punches, and pritchels are not tuned properly then it won’t be possible to have correct nail holes or if tongs are out of adjustment then it is difficult to hold onto our work making us inefficient at the anvil. Competing is another area where tool maintenance is paramount. If your tools are not correct there is no way you can produce work that is up to a winning standard. While tool maintenance may not be on the official list it is certainly a necessity.
Hands-on learning is paramount in getting tools setup correctly but it is always nice to have a quick reference guide with quality illustrations and explanations, especially if it has been some time since working on a tool. The Farriers Tools by Simon Gotthold Bodner is hands down the best reference tool I have found for taking care of the tools we use everyday in a simple to understand fashion. Whether this book is being used as a guide for learning to tune tools for the first time or used as a quick reference guide, it should be a mainstay in the shop of every farrier.