If you are just starting out as a farrier or are looking to upgrade or replace your workshop equipment, here is an overview of the equipment we would suggest you need to run your business. Remember, products such as anvils and forges are going to be some of the most used tools of your career and are therefore a long-term investment for your business.
What are Anvils used for?
Anvils have been used by blacksmiths and farriers for centuries. Rather like human feet, each horses’ hoof is different and an anvil is used to shape each horseshoe to custom fit to the horses you are servicing. Another use of an anvil is to make sure the horseshoe is flat so it fits perfectly to the horses hoof, this avoids causing pain to the horse and the horseshoe fitting correctly.
Anvils comprise of a work surface which is flat and smooth and is called the ‘Face’, this is used to shape and to flatten or level the horseshoe. The face is made from hardened steel that has been tempered to resist the blow of the hammer so it does not get damaged. The ‘horn’ is a conical shape that allows the farrier to bend and curve the metal (in shoemaking). Anvils can also have side lugs which gives you more versatility when shaping horseshoes ie aluminium race plates or light shoes.
Most anvils will have ‘hardy’ holes in the face, which is a square hole to hold shoemaking and blacksmithing tools that are used for custom forging techniques.
There are two different types of anvils – a workshop or forging anvil for the shop and a farrier anvil, which is lighter and more mobile which can be kept in your truck. Depending on the location and type of farrier work you will be doing could depend on your choice of anvil, but you may decide to invest in both.
Mustad stocks the popular O’Dwyer anvils which are made from high tensile 4140 steel and come in three sizes : 20 kg. (44lbs), 40 kg. (88 lbs) and 95 kg. (209 lbs). The O’Dwyer anvils are tested to Brinell hardness standards.
Which anvils are best suited to my type of farrier work?
20KG/44lbs (1) is good to use day to day and can be moved around from job to job in the back of your utility.
40kg/88lbs (2) – larger horn and working face, also heavier, you can do some shoe making on this anvil.
95kg/209lbs (3) is a shop anvil – designed for blacksmith and shoe making – it has a larger working face and horn.
All the O’Dwyer anvils have hardy holes and the 20kg and 40kg anvils have the benefit of side lugs which gives you more versatility when shaping your shoes.
O’Dwyer also makes the Centurion, which is an European style anvil, designed with a flat horn and a large working face. It is made from high tensile 4140 steel and comes in one size (38kg) making it ideal for both the forge or truck.
In addition, Mustad stocks the JHM Legend anvils by Anvil brand, which come in 120lb or 200lb. Both anvils are made of ductile iron and are machined and heat treated in the USA. The anvil is very stout and comes with a 1 inch hardy hole.
If you do not want to be carrying heavy anvils around on a job, stall jacks are the perfect solution. They are small, light and portable making them ideal for moving from horse to horse or carrying between stalls or stables when shoeing. They can be used for working on aluminum horseshoes and smaller shoes, as well as for small adjustments.
Mustad stock the Blacksmith Italia Mini Anvil, which serves a dual purpose of being a stall jack and a mini anvil stand. The new design has a tripod stand for extra stability and has concussion pads so takes the shock absorption out of the face.
The Yoder stall jack is made in the US and serves the same purpose as the Italia Blacksmith version, although the faces are slightly different in both so it is a personal preference.
A forge is used to heat a horseshoe or piece of metal to the temperature where it can be shaped and moulded.
Traditionally using coke to heat the furnace, these days most forges are powered by gas and are considered to be easier to work with and maintain and a lot cleaner. They can come with a single or double burner and the heat can be adjusted dependent on the type of metal the farrier is using.
At Mustad we stock the Italia Blacksmith forges, which are available in single burner, which is the most popular forge. It is compact and ideal for everyday work and to be transported in your van.
The double burner forge has two burners that can be regulated separately to each other and desired temperatures can be reached very quickly and maintained. The double burner is ideal for workshops.
Rebuild kits will be available in 2022.
Check out this short video where Mustad Australia sales manager, Liam Ryan explains the different types of anvils and forges stocked at Mustad.
What tools do I need to make horseshoes ?
Now you have the workshop equipment organised, you need to look at the tools needed for when hand making horseshoes or modifying / adapting shoes to fit to individual horses hooves. Mustad stock a range of horseshoe making tools to help you do the job.
Forging Tongs are used to take horseshoes in and out of the forge handling hot shoe or steel. They are made from high quality extreme heat resistant steel. They are available in different thicknesses to fit exactly to the according bar thickness.
Mustad stock the Mustad Black Tongs in 8mm and 10mm.
You will need a good quality forging hammer, such as the GDM Forging hammer or the GDM Ball clipping hammer. We also stock the Mustad forging hammers which come in light (32oz / 950g); heavy (36oz / 1110g) and square head hammer (36oz/ 1110g).
Check out this video where Clint Rolfe from the Mustad sales team, explains the different types of forging hammers and their uses.
Other tools used in shoe making are Impact Stamps or Forepunches, which are used to start nail holes in plain stamped shoes and Master Fullers or Creasers, which are used to make fullering in handmade and shoe modifications. To finish the process, a pritchel is driven into the punched nail hole to knock out the remaining metal. At Mustad we stock the GDM tools, which has a range of stamps and fullers for the professional farriers, as well as the Mustad range of creasers and fore-punches.
We recommend farriers invest in top quality equipment for your workshop or utility, as it makes good business sense for long term investment. Contact Mustad Australia or visit our website www.mustad.com.au for more information.