Getting the Sharper Edge

By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

The following is a method for knife sharpening that I have been using for some years. You may be able to use this method to improve your knife’s cutting ability.

It is important that you maintain a thin blade. The thicker the blade, the larger the bevel at the cutting edge. If the blade is thick, you have to use too much pressure to pull the blade through the cut; the thinner the better. A fine bevel is easier to maintain and offers less resistance, allowing the knife to cut easily. Pay attention to the size of the bevel on a brand new knife and try to maintain that size throughout the life of the knife. As you sharpen and use your knife, the width will decrease and as it decreases the edge will thicken. The blade will need to be thinned.

In the photo to the right, I am thinning the blade. I have taken a belt and cut it about 1/2″ in width. You can do this with any belt. Cut the back with a razor blade about 4″ and carefully

tear the rest. With the edge pointing up, so you can see the bevel and not get too thin, grind the knife to the desired thickness. Don’t let the blade get hot. If you see any color you have gone too far, too hot. Keep the blade cool by dipping in water after every couple passes. Use a new belt if possible, 100 or 120 grit. A new belt will cut quickly and the dipping of the knife in water will not allow the blade to heat up.

If your blade’s width gets down to 1/4″ throw it away. When the blade gets that thin it can break easily and that’s when you find it in your leg or wrist.

Now that I’ve thinned down the blade I need to establish the bevel. Photo (2) shows different makes of diamond hones. You want one that fits the hook size of your knife. Work the bevel into the hook (photo 3) and then the blade (photo 4). Some knives are made of a soft enough material that a small rat tail or triangle file can be used. Using files is good for serious roughing in but it produces a serrated edge, which is not desirable. If you start with a diamond hone you may never need a file.

Now that the bevel is established I go to the Scotchbrite wheel. This is a medium grit Scotchbrite. I have found this to be best for cutting quality. In photo (5) I am cutting a groove in the edge of the wheel. I have braced a rat tail file to cut the groove. The groove will allow me to thin and sharpen the hook. Using the Scotchbrite wheel, I can polish the whole blade and the bevel. You want to maintain the angle of the bevel through all the stages so pay particular attention to how you hold the blade to the wheel. Make sure the edge is down, otherwise your knife may become a permanent fixture in your forehead. Start with the hook (photo 6) and sweep through the blade (photo 7), always maintaining the angle of the bevel.

Now for the final polish. I use a medium felt wheel (photo 8) with the same groove cut in its edge as I put in the Scotchbrite. Apply green rouge to the groove edge and face of the wheel (photo 9). Use the same method as on the Scotchbrite so you can maintain the bevel angle and make as many passes as necessary to polish the edge (photos 10, 11).

Once you have achieved sharpness with the felt wheel the edge should last a long time, assuming you are using your knife carefully and cleaning the hoof. When your knife becomes the least bit dull, touch it up on the felt wheel. You should not have to go through all these steps again until the bevel gets too large. When it does just repeat these steps.

Many of the suppliers carry the various wheels, tools and materials you need for sharpening knives. If your supplier doesn’t carry them have them contact Bloom Forge or FPD for info on where to get them.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 5, Issue 4. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Getting the Sharper Edge

Sheared Heels or Heel Shear?

By Dave Farley, CF APF-I

In this article, I will show you how I shoe a horse with a mild heel shear. In future articles, we will deal with the two severe stages that I call sheared heels. I will not attempt to diagnose the cause of this condition, which is explained in several great textbooks. Instead, I will shoe the horse just as I do in my everyday practice.

Most textbooks describe this condition as one heel being higher than the other, when viewed from the back of the foot. If you are a farrier, you see this condition often and each of us have our own way of dealing with sheared heals. In my business, I try to deal with the heel shear before it becomes a sheared heel. I personally believe that there are three stages of this condition. I approach each stage of this foot fault a little differently.

This case is what I call a mild heel shear. Notice that the inside heel is higher than the outside (see photo above). I consider this mild because the frog is still attached. If you hold the foot with both hands the heels will not separate and move independently. Also, notice that the bulb has little deformity when the foot is bearing weight and viewed from the rear. Most feet with this mild condition will not show any lameness or gait fault. I believe that feet should be as close as possible to the center of the limb above it. Notice that the wall of the high heel is straighter and does not have a normal angle. I take this into consideration when I fit the shoe.

I trim to the highest, widest part of the frog. I use a #2 Kerckhaert Grand Prix shoe. This shoe has a wide outside branch that helps horses with stiff and/or rotating hocks that need more lateral support. Using this shoe, I hammer and/or grind the inside branch. This takes away more medial ground surface of the shoe allowing the affected heel to sink more than the outside or lateral heel.

Notice the inside (medial) fit of the shoe. If you have a horse with this mild condition, and your approach is similar, this heel shear probably will never become a sheared heel. This horse is sound, happy and a ten mover.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 11, Issue 3 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Sheared Heels or Heel Shear?

Clipping Shoes Using the Edge of the Anvil

by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

Let’s start with a few basic ideas on clips.

  1. In order for a clip to be effective it must have a stout base and taper to the tip.
  2. A rule of thumb; the clip should be proportionate to the stock. The width and height of the clip should be approximately the same as the width of the stock. This is not always true or necessary but it is a good target.
  3. The indentation made when producing the material for the clip should not go past the foot surface edge of the shoe.

The first step in drawing any clip is the production of the material for the clip, or making the bubble. There are a lot of different tools and methods to make the bubble, all a matter of personal preference. Ball peins, cross peins, custom ball peins or bobpunches are the most common. I’ve chosen a custom ball pein (clipping hammer) to use for this article.

The area chosen for the clip should be held over the edge of the anvil. There should be a small radius on the edge you choose, 1/8” or less, but be sure it is not a sharp edge. Hold the shoe at an angle over this edge with about 3/16” hanging over. If you hang less, you will not get enough material to draw the clip. If you hang more you will be getting too far into the branch and a lot of distortion to the branch or nail holes will result.

These photos were taken during a demonstration using a lead shoe. The lead is a good teaching device and acts very similar to hot steel.

Aim your hammer at the edge of the anvil and strike the shoe. Don’t glance the blow down the side of the anvil. This pulls the indentation too far down. Try to continue striking into the edge. Hammer control is necessary to achieve a clean indentation. If you hammer like lightning and never strike the same place twice, your shoe and indentation will look like some sort of storm took place. Continue the blows until the desired bubble is created. Your practice will indicate to you how much bubble you need for the clip you’re trying to draw.

Once you have your bubble, place the shoe on the anvil with the foot surface up and put the clip towards you. Hammer around the bubble to flatten the shoe. Having the bubble towards you allows you more control because you are using the area of the hammer face nearest you.

You are now ready to draw the clip, using the edge of the anvil. Position yourself at the heel of the anvil looking towards the horn. Position the shoe parallel with the edge and flat against the side of the anvil. The bubble area should be struck once or twice with the hammer parallel with the anvil face to set the clip. Then hold your hammer at a 45 degree angle so that the face is aiming at the edge. As the clip area is struck, the shoe is rotated away. This method leaves the face of the clip smooth and eliminates time cleaning up the outside surface of the clip.

Place the shoe on the anvil face and flatten. Flip the shoe and place the clip in the hardy hole. Pull the clip into the corner of the hardy hole and strike the shoe flat. Push the clip across to the opposite corner and strike a flat blow again. This sets your clip base.

Moving to the horn for your next step, place the shoe so that the area under the clip is solid against the horn and work the edge of the shoe. Make sure that the area you are working is always solid against the horn so that you don’t change the shape of the shoe. The final step would be to set the clip at the approximate angle of the hoof wall. This will make fitting much easier. You can dress the clip with a file or belt sander if you feel it necessary but your practice and hammer control will eventually minimize the need for any extra dressing of the clip.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

“Drawing Clips Using a Bloom Cross Pein Hammer” with Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

For more videos:
One More Method of Clipping Shoes
Clipping a Draft Shoe
Moving Clip Direction on Anvil

Posted in Tips | Comments Off on Clipping Shoes Using the Edge of the Anvil

Avoid Unnecessary Damage to Your Nail Puller

A significant number of crease nail pullers are returned to suppliers each year because of damage that can be avoided – not as a result of defective material or workmanship.

It is possible for heat treatment or defective metal to be a problem but be sure you used your tool correctly before returning it. Be sure that you cut or rasp the clinches off before trying to pull the nails. Start the tool opened as wide as possible to allow the points to penetrate any dirt or debris in the crease and get under the nail head. The nail puller has to get under the head of the nail to work properly. If you only have contact with the tips of the tool and then squeeze and try to pull the nail without first lifting it you are asking for trouble. (Photo 6 shows damaged tip of nail puller, likely a result of trying to pull the nail before getting the puller tips completely under the nail head. Notice the other puller has no damage and has been used much longer, but more correctly.)

Photo 1 – Start with wide opening.

Once you are under the head, a steady squeezing pressure should pop the nail loose. You can often hear the nail break loose from the crease. You will see that the nail head is fit snugly into the cavity of the pullers if you have used the tool correctly. When the head is in this cavity, the pressure of the rolling motion you use to pull the nail will not cause damage to the tool.

Photo 2 – Puller tips are not under nail head; this method causes damage to tool.

From time to time you may want to touch up the nail puller tips so they can penetrate the debris in the crease and get under the nail head. You should also be sure the tool is not too thick to fit into the crease. If it appears to be too thick you can use a belt sander to dress them to a thickness that works. Be careful not to grind too aggressively or for too long. You don’t want heat to build up and destroy the heat treat. If you can’t hold the tool because of the heat or it develops a blue color– it’s too hot. Quench it occasionally as you go through this grinding process.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 10, Issue 2 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Avoid Unnecessary Damage to Your Nail Puller

Tool Corner: Tips for More Efficient Creasing

by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

Is the shoe creased or fullered? I use the term crease if the bottom of the groove is sharp or V shaped. If the bottom is flat I consider it fullered. Call it what you want, there are two reasons to crease.

1.  To allow access to the nails for easy removal.
2.  To produce an area where dirt can collect and produce traction

A creaser replaces the forepunch that is used for plain stamped shoes. The crease follows the same positioning pattern of the forepunched nail holes (figure 1). The first nail hole is generally in the middle of the stock if you are using 3/4″ stock and gradually moves to the outside of center when it reaches the last nail hole.

There are many details to address when creasing.

The inside angle of the crease is more upright than the outside angle. The width of this crease should match the nail you are creasing for (figure 2). Because of the difference in inside and outside angles and the fact that the crease runs to the outside of center, there is a significant amount of distortion to the branch.

If the creaser is simply driven into the steel there is no way to fix the distortion (figure 3). As the creaser is driven in, the outside angle pushes the material down and away with little resistance. The inside angle is steeper, it cuts down but meets resistance from more stock and pushes material up and in. If you run the hammer down the outside edge to push the distortion in you simply close up the crease. If you run the crease again you end up with the same distortion. You must first put extra material where the crease will be. This is called hemming or knocking up the branch. The edge is hammered at the opposite angle of the outside angle of the creaser (figure 4). The outside angle of your creaser is the angle the edge should be hammered. Angle it all the way across the edge of the branch.

After hemming you will be ready to crease.

Before you start you need to look at your creaser. There should be no sharp edges on the creaser. Sharp edges cause coldshuts and cracking of the bottom of the crease. The creaser needs to flow when you are working it and sharp edges will cause the creaser to stick. Even the bottom edge of the creaser should have a slight radius (figure 5).

Once you’ve hemmed and made certain of your creaser edges you should be ready to crease. Starting from the heel or the toe, depending on the branch you start with, the creaser should be struck in the center of the head. Some have a tendency to lean the creaser away to be able to see better or to produce a straighter angle on the inside. If you do this you still need to make sure you strike the tool in the center. Striking the inside edge of the head will cause the inside edge to mushroom and even break. It can also cause the cutting edge of the tool to curl.

You can begin by making a marking run. You can then start the actual creasing. Once the creaser is struck, pick up the handle, pull and slide to the next position. Overlap your positions, pulling the creaser until the center of the tool is over the end of the previous impression. Continue until the desired length is reached. The depth of the crease will be determined by the nail you will be using.

You should now run your hammer down the back edge of the branch. Then take a good flattening run down the foot surface of the branch. You can now make another run through the crease to clean it up.


1. Prepare your creaser before you begin (no sharp edges).
2. Do your hemming of the branch.
3. Make a quick run to mark your crease.
4. Crease.
5. Lightly hammer back edge.
6. Make flattening run.
7. Do your clean up run through the crease.

This Tool Corner is from The Natural Angle Volume 2, Issue 1 – written by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:10:30 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- crop

Roy Bloom CJF APF-I has been shoeing horses since 1973. He has been a member of the American Farrier’s Team on two different occasions and for many years served as the manager of the team.Roy has always been willing to share the extensive knowledge he’s gained over the years with members of the farrier industry. In addition to his farrier background, he developed a strong interest in blacksmithing and tool making and for many years has been manufacturing a broad range of farrier and blacksmith tools. He also has a fully equipped shop and the ability to do a wide variety of ornamental and artistic work. Roy’s work as a clinician has earned him the Educator of the Year Award from the AFA and a position in the Horseshoer’s Hall of Fame.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tool Corner: Tips for More Efficient Creasing

Fullering Technique: Crossover or Inline?

Roy Bloom talked with us about fullering or creasing styles in forging or modifying shoes. This conversation was precipitated by some steel handled tools that were damaged and returned for inspection. It has also been a topic in Roy’s clinics for many years and it is certainly debatable as to which of the two common fullering techniques may work better for you.


We’re going to use the terms “Crossover” and “Inline” to describe the two most common styles Roy discussed. We termed Crossover to mean the fullering tool is positioned on he branch of the shoe that is furthest from the hammer hand; in effect, crossing over one branch of the shoe to fuller the other. Inline fullering would be the opposite; positioning the fullering tool on the branch nearest the hammer hand. The decision on style used will dictate what fuller you buy – regardless of the marking of left or right on the tools. Keep that in mind when you shop for a fuller – especially steel handled.


We asked a number of top competitors why they worked predominantly with one style or the other. It wasn’t too surprising to hear that it all depended on how they were taught; whether it was in shoeing school or in following mentors or clinicians like so many things we do in work and life in general.

It is also clear, with a lot of practice and development of hand-eye coordination either style can work very well.

We have attended a lot of forging competitions and know that many of the top competitors use a Crossover style rather than the Inline.They have spent thousands of hours working on their skills and hand-eye coordination to reach the top levels and if they had any difficulty in the beginning, hard work and experience obviously got them past it.

Four tools all used in Crossover style. Two tools used by right hander, two by left hander.

If you look carefully you can see all were struck off center.

Left hander used this in Crossover style. Note damage to fuller end.

Roy talked about two key disadvantages of using the Crossover style for someone just starting in forging. The steel handled tools pictured in this article were all used by novice level farriers working in the Crossover style. This style requires an extremely skilled level of hammer control to be certain you are striking the center of the tool. The tendency is to lean the tool away from you and that forces the hammer swing to come from a less balanced position, with the elbow further away from the body. Your swing has to take the hammer in an arc that is not easy to gauge when starting out. Not to say that you won’t learn to compensate as you develop your hand-eye coordination, but in the early stages, this is a complicating factor and the reason why you see the damage to these steel handle tools. They have been struck on one side of the tool, not in the center. And it is always the side of the tool nearest your body. The more serious damage is what then happens to the working end of the tool as you can see with the deformation of the end of the fullers.

ABOVE: Left and Right Hand Crossover Style. Look closely at the position of the elbows in relation to the body.

The reduced control of the hammer swing is probably the primary drawback for using the Crossover style in your early stages of forging. Second to that is the reduction of power or force that occurs when the struck tool is further away from your body and your hammer arm is also not centered with the blow. Note the position of both elbows in the various pictures of the two styles. As a rule, the Inline style keeping the elbows closer to your center will maximize the control and power behind the hammer blow. This is just food for thought. If you are experiencing any difficulties keeping your struck tools in good shape, you may want to consider these ideas.

BELOW: Left and Right Hand Inline Style. Look closely at the position of the elbows in relation to the body.

Check out Roy’s videos on YouTube for more ideas on tool use and maintenance:

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 17, Issue 1 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Tips | Comments Off on Fullering Technique: Crossover or Inline?

Shoeing for Form, Function and No Pressure

by Doug Workman, CJF

This is a show Hunter that has just finished a long show season. He has come into my life for a little light training and to let mind, body and feet have a much needed break. The life of a show horse being what it is, the farriers that work on them during the show season really have their hands full keeping these horses showing and sound. The fact that the horses have limited turnout, two to three baths a day and a variety of footing to deal with makes keeping them sound a tough job. My hat is off to these farriers.

I was very fortunate on this day to have my good friend, Patrick Bone, to help me. Patrick and I have been working together a long time and I consider it a privilege to have him work with me on any horse. Normally we would be in a hurry to get done so we could take the rest of the day to go fishing, but the boat was in the shop for repair. So we pulled out the camera, put on our aprons and dove in.

The first thing we looked at is the overall conformation of the horse and how he is shod. He is not the straightest legged horse we had ever seen, but we both have seen worse. You can also see where he has been nerved in the past. He was shod just as you would expect, a little extra foot and a hunter fit (spot on). Since we had the luxury of a break from show biz we could think in terms of more support and gathering up the feet. We just want to make sure that we put the foot in the center of the leg and the foot and leg in the center of the shoe.


The front feet were shod in aluminum as all hunters are and fit spot on. A very safe job. After removing the shoes and removing the dead sole we trim the frog removing any dirt traps and finding the true apex of the frog (where the frog meets the live sole). We now use the trimmed frog as the foundation to start our trim. My goal is to have the widest part of the foot parallel with each other approximately 1/2” to 3/8” behind the true apex of the frog after the trim. Also, I want to be as equal as possible medially and laterally across this same point (widest part of the foot). The heels should be equal length and back as close to the highest and widest part of the frog as I can get. The main thing that I keep in mind is that these are goals and I do not want to over prep the feet to achieve them.



After I have trimmed the feet as close to this protocol as I can, I will use the shoe choice and placement to compensate for any deviations that I come across. For this horse we decided to go to steel to give a more stable base of support since we are fitting with a little more length and width. To compensate for having more foot medially or laterally, I fit the shoe as if both halves are equal and box and safe the shoe on the narrow side. This is not always possible due to environment or job, but you can generally give a little help. To address anterior/posterior deviations I start at the widest part of the foot again. I want to have equal amount of foot in front of and behind this point. I’m not a big proponent of totally unloading the toe wall of the foot. I generally set my shoes back a little, but I want the toe wall bearing and supporting weight. As you can see on these feet the white line appears stretched or stressed. By using the widest part of a properly trimmed foot as a landmark, I do not have to guess where to put my toe, it gives me a destination.



Once again these are goals that I’m trying to achieve, not hard and fast rules. By having a set foundation to work from, I’m better able to see the successes or failures of my work.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 12, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Shoeing for Form, Function and No Pressure

Tool Tips: Maintaining Your Hammer and Struck Tools

By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

There are a lot of forging hammers in the market and just as many ideas as to how hard they should be. I have always held that the hammer hardness should not be more than the struck tool. The first reason is related to safety. A hammer that has an extremely hard heat treat level is more likely to chip or cause a problem with the struck tool or anvil if there is any kind of miss or errant blow. Secondly, because of the mass of the hammer in relation to the struck tool, damage to the tool is more likely. You will spend more money and time maintaining your struck tools if the hammer is extremely hard. In the end, this will cost you more than the occasional maintenance of your hammer if it is approximately the same hardness as the struck tools.

A hammer requires regular maintenance. If you don’t dress the face and edges regularly, you can end up with “dings” to the face that will mark the material you are working. Any deformation of the edges of the hammer can develop into a mushrooming area that is at risk of chipping or fracturing- creating a safety issue and also making it more difficult to maintain.

Pay close attention to your hammer faces and edges as well as the struck end of your top tools. If you see any indication of marking, mushrooming or other blemishes developing you can dress these using a grinder with a fine grit belt- something in the neighborhood of 100-120 grit will work well. When dressing the hammer or tools be careful not to create enough heat to bring color to the tool. This can destroy the heat treat of the tool and is very difficult to repair.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 14, Issue 4. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tool Tips: Maintaining Your Hammer and Struck Tools

Dave Farley, APF-I CF Demonstrates Modifications Using the Kerckhaert SX-10

Dave Farley visited the FootPro Shop and did a variety of shoe modifications using the Kerckhaert SX-10 unclipped shoes. The SX-10 is a 3/8” thick shoe that allows you to do various modifications without sacrificing the strength of the shoe. You can find videos of these modifications on the FPD YouTube channel.

The heel clean out modification is used to promote the sole to naturally clean out or unload the material that collects or packs into the foot and sometimes snowballs. Open the heels by hammering the inside of each heel, or grinding bevels on each heel. Taper the material from the ground side of the shoe. This shoe modification helps the foot to clean, especially if the horse is working at higher speeds.

The onion modification is done by forging and displacing steel, widening the material to cover or protect an area of the sole, especially at the seat of corn at the juncture of the bar and hoof wall. There are many ways to accomplish this modification. This demonstration was done by placing the shoe on the horn and simply hammering the SX10 material inward to cover the area of the corn. This forging exercise can be forged on any area of the shoe where the foot is compromised by a puncture, bruise or being cut too short.

The double lateral heel modification is done similar to a trailer but we take almost an inch or more of material to forge a longer trailer, forging it more outward or more laterally. Then, using the horn, hammer it back into the heel area of the shoe. This provides more lateral support without as much length as a trailer. It can be forged wider by hammering from the hoof side of the shoe outward. This modification is used for horses with run under bilateral heels or contracted run under heels. For example, the type of hoof conformation that loses traction or support on tight fast turns.

The rolled toe modification is a very simple one. It requires forging the toe of the shoe approximately from the center or middle of the branch from the second nail hole outward to the second nail hole of the opposite branch. This forging of the toe area will widen the width of the branch as it thins the material the direction it’s being hammered. This thinning and widening of the toe encourages the foot to break over easier and sometimes faster. This modification is helpful to take stress off the soft tissues in that limb at the break over of the foot. If you have a horse that naturally breaks over either laterally or medially, you can adjust the roll to allow that breakover in that direction.

The lateral support modification is made by forging the steel at the heel of the shoe from the hoof side. Placing the ground side of the shoe on the edge of the anvil and holding the hammer at approximately 45 degrees, hammer the material outward. This will widen the branch or heel area. This modification is forged to help support a contracted or run under heel. It is very commonly helpful on hind feet but can also be used for fronts.

A trailer modification is made by turning the end of the branch of the shoe to line up with the diagonal toe of the shoe. It can be medial or lateral but most often is used laterally. The trailer modification should extend farther back and outward to alter the landing of the foot. This modification, if used laterally, will widen a horse’s landing. Useful for a horse that rope walks.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 18, Issue 2. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Dave Farley, APF-I CF Demonstrates Modifications Using the Kerckhaert SX-10

Clipping Methods by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

Volume 3, Issue 1 of The Natural Angle featured a story on clipping shoes using the edge of the anvil. In the step by step discussion in that article we used a clipping hammer, which is similar to a ball pein. In this article, the photos show the clipping process with the clipping, rounding and cross pein hammers as well as a handled bob punch. As you can see from the photos, the three hammers are used in an identical manner. The starting of the bubble using the bob punch is different but the drawing of the clip is the same. The point of this article is to illustrate the fact that the clips you end up with can be very similar- making it a matter of personal preference as to which tool you use to start your clips.

The hammers all require good control to produce a consistent bubble. The bob punch is somewhat easier to control but you have to be cautious not to drive the punch too deep as you may pierce the shoe. The bubble is not always as easy to draw but with practice it can provide a very consistent clip and may help avoid distortion to your crease and nail holes if your hammer control is not just right in the bubble step.

No matter how you start the bubble you need good hammer control when you are drawing the clips. Also keep in mind if you don’t use the edges of your hammer or anvil you will end up with clips that look like toe caps.

Photo 1. Use the tool that works best for you.

Photo 2. Establish a good balanced position for starting your clips using the various hammers.

Photos 3, 4. With each of the hammers, you want to drive the hammer at a 45 degree angle,
directly at the edge of the anvil.

Photos 5, 6, 7. No matter which hammer you choose,
you have to have good control to establish a good start to the clip.

Photo 8. The bob-punch requires a different starting method. Start first by setting the point of contact.

Photos 9, 10. You then slide to the edge of the hardy hole to finish producing the bubble.
Be careful not to drive the punch too deep as it can easily pierce the shoe and leave a hole.
As you can see the bubble is slightly different from the one produced by the hammers.

Photo 11. This is the bubble produced by the hammers, you should flatten the area behind the clip
with the clip toward you and using the heel area of the hammer.
This makes it much easier to see your work.

Photos 12, 13, 14. I like to draw the clips working from the same end of the anvil.
This gives me clearance for the tongs as I rotate the shoe during the drawing of the clip.
In this case I am using the flat of the hammer and the edge of the anvil to draw the clip.

Photo 15. Use the corners of the hardy hole to set your clip base.

Photos 16, 17, 18, 19. You can see that you can get similar results no matter which tool you choose.
The key to consistency is practice and hammer control. The method I use for the hammers, working from the end of the anvil, gives me a nicely balanced position where I can get good control of my hammer and the tongs.

Photo 20. The goal is consistently strong clips no matter what method you use.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 5, Issue 2. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Clipping Methods by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I