We feel that the majority of hoof knives on the market are produced with emphasis on the bottom line and not on quality or edge retention. Your first thought may be that these hoof knives are and so what if they don't last near as long.
We have performed Rockwell tests on many hoof knives and found that most are of a soft nature and are often as low as Rc 46. However, there are some hoof knives that are made on a small scale by farriers who have apparently grown tired of soft hoof knives. These hoof knives are usually harder and consequently will hold a better edge than the standard factory hoof knife.
A one point gain in Rockwell hardness will net about 20% gain in edge retention. So as you can see, a hoof knife with a Rockwell hardness of Rc 58 will have a huge increase of edge holding capabilities over one that tests at Rc 46. This would result in about 240% gain of edge retention and would compute to substantial savings in hoof knife expenditures.
I should point out that a simple gain in hardness will result in better edge retention, but caution should be emphasized here as a blade that is simply harder will be brittle and prone to breakage. This not only renders the hoof knife useless but can prove to be a hazard and result in injuries.
Besides the stated hazards, some other examples are as follows, in order to keep cost down, a company may choose to use a less expensive steel that may not lend itself to high hardness and edge retention. They more than likely use heat treating methods that are common place and easier to accomplish. A company would choose to play it on the safe side and temper the blade back to a hardness that would bend under pressure instead of breaking. The bottom line is this, it is more expensive to make and differential heat treating does not lend itself well to most manufacturing.
The technology has been around for several hundred years. The Japanese were masters at making cutting implements that had very good edge retention and was tough enough to withstand the rigors of battle.
We feel that if we use the tried and proven and pay strict attention to detail, the bottom line will take care of itself and us.
I have been making cutlery for a quarter of a century and am a member of the American Bladesmith Association. The combined requirements of the ABS and the studies made of the Japanese sword, have given me the tools to produce a hoof knife of superior properties that will give you a much better performance with a comfortable degree of safety.
My partner John Lavier has been a farrier for as many years and is highly respected in his field. It is his practical experience in the field that guides us in our quest for the perfect hoof knife. We are always open to suggestions and welcome your comments.
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