Finding farrier tools can be a great experience, where you learn about different options, talk to interesting and informative people, and end up with tools that will faithfully serve you for decades in the trade. Or it can be a complete gong show that leaves you empty of cash, patience, and everything but deep and abiding frustration. Here is a where-to-look guide that will hopefully steer you in the right direction and improve your chances of finding the tools you need.
Shiny New Tools
Local Farrier Supply Stores
These are in many ways ideal. They have the advantage of being close (or close-ish), of having the tools right there so you can see them and get a feel for them before you buy, having staff who can answer questions, and of not having shipping fees. Other farriers in your area will usually have a good idea of the best ones to visit.
Online Farrier Supply Stores
Online farrier supply sites have their advantages, too, especially if you live in a remote area. You can always find a store that has what you need in stock, you can compare prices easily, there will be a wider selection to choose from, and you can sit on your couch and have a beer while you shop. Shipping is generally same day, although shipping charges will vary. Here are just a few of the larger sites:
A wide selection of supplies, from shoes, forging and welding tools, to boots and supplements. Farrier owned, they have a retail location in Ocala, Fl. Most orders ship within 24 hours.
Tools, forge and welding supplies, hoof care products, supplements and more are available through this western U.S. supplier. They offer free local delivery, free shipping on orders more than $100 and $10 flate rate shipping on orders less than $100.
Family owned (by blacksmiths), Blacksmiths Depot has a section for farrier tools, in addition to smithing supplies. Ships within the U.S. and internationally.
Professional Farrier Supply Inc.
In business for over 30 years, Professional Farrier Supply Inc. in Ontario, Canada, stocks farrier products such as tools, accessories, shoes, hoof care products and supplements, as well as big-ticket items like forges and anvils. Shipping costs depend on the size/weight of the item. They will help calculate shipping costs via email or phone.
A family run business established in 1863, Stockhoff’s offers a wide selection including tools, hoof care products, educational materials, forges and welding supplies. They offer $9.99 flat rate shipping on online orders – see their site for details.
Farrier owned, Marshalton has a big selection of shoes, tools, farrier, forging and horse supplies. Most orders ship within 24 hours and they offer $10 flat rate shipping on some products. Call them to ask which ones.
Feed Stores/ Tack Stores
Some feed and tack stores will carry a selection of farrier supplies, especially in more remote areas. They may be able to order things in for you, or consider stocking items if there’s enough demand for them.
There are pros and cons here. Their selection of farrier tools and supplies is limited, and you may not be able to find what you want in the brand you want it in. That said, they’re often cheap, easy, ship quickly and sometimes offer free shipping.
You don’t need me to tell you all the downsides to spending your money on Amazon. But let me put a word in for local supply stores (whether they sell online or not). They know more about what they’re selling, create more jobs and care more about whether you, your business and your community thrive.
Used Tools. Because We’re Not Made of Money
Farrier Magazine Classifieds
Larger items will often be offered in the classified sections of major farrier magazines. Check out the back pages of publications like American Farriers Journal, or Forge Magazine.
Online Farrier Forums
Farriers downsizing or getting out of the business might have anything from a few tools to whole shops that they need to offload. You could also go the other way, and let people know if you’re looking for something particular. Someone might just have an extra that they’re willing to part with. Some forums to check out include www.horseshoes.com and farriersforum.com.
Keep an eye on sites like kijiji, or on social media sites like Facebook Marketplace. Boxes of things can sit around for years, in perfectly good shape except that their current owners have absolutely no idea what these things are for.
Especially old farm auctions. What you find probably won’t be state of the art, but it will be solidly built, and have already outlasted generations of younger tools. Newspapers and local classifieds will often carry notices for auction events, or you can look at the websites of local auctioneers to see what’s up and coming.
Word of Mouth
Don’t underestimate the value of asking around to see if someone you know has the tool you’re looking for. This could be especially helpful if you think you might just need the tool once or twice.
Happy shopping, and here’s hoping you find what you need!
Feature image: PublicDomainPictures.net; image 1: Pixabay