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.

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