You’ve given me a question that I can’t give you an exact answer on. Did you just finish farrier school? Did your course come with all the basic farrier tools or will you have to buy everything yourself? Do you live in an area full of prestigious high-end barns or are most of the horses around you backyard lawn mowers? Did you go to farrier school to just learn how to trim your own herd or do you want to make a living out of it?
Only you can answer these questions and hopefully, I can steer you in the right direction accordingly.
Tips for Buying Farrier Tools on a Budget
Do Your Research
I would definitely recommend working with as many different farriers as you can and trying their tools out. This way, you can decide which tools, if any, you want to replace eventually. There are many different brands of every tool, all with different price ranges. You might find a less expensive brand suits you best.
Check with Your School
My school supplied us with a basic set of tools, so I didn’t have to buy any right away. A couple of our class projects were to forge a set of fire tongs and nail hole punches. If you haven’t taken any farrier courses yet, do some research and find a school that supplies at least some of the tools you will need.
Try Your Farrier Supply Store
Being on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be able to afford the tools you need. Talk to your local farrier supply store. They usually know most, if not all, the farriers in your area, and might know of someone who’s wanting to retire or change professions and want to get rid of their tools.
You might also get a bit of a discount if someone returned or exchanged a slightly used tool that didn’t work for them. I got a great deal on my forge because a farrier wanted the newer model. The one he sold me was only a year or two old and in perfect condition.
You could also check your local classified ads. I bought my anvil from a random guy who found it when he was cleaning out his grandparents’ barn. He just wanted it gone and clearly didn’t know what it was worth. Farm auctions are another way to possibly acquire useful tools. Some may not be in the best condition, but knives and nippers can be cleaned up and sharpened.
You don’t need to start out your farrier career with a fancy new truck and the most expensive tools on the market. Take your time, do your research and start to build up a clientele. The clients you pick up will help you determine if you need better tools, and what kind of tools you need.
For example, if you’re shoeing the Budweiser Clydesdales, a heavier hammer and a longer pair of nippers for a little extra leverage will make your job much easier. A friend of mine has a cheap old small rasp and even older nippers to trim her horses. She trims two feet a day until they’re all done. Both do the job, and they save her the money she would’ve been paying me to trim them all.
I hope some of this was useful. Best of luck to you.
Image credit: Lars Mai