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Forging and Dressing a Pritchel

Of all the tools that a farrier uses, the pritchel probably takes the most abuse. Not because the farrier is abusive to it, but because of the work it must perform. Due to the extreme task it performs, the farrier must regularly attend to the condition of the pritchel.

The following steps will show the repair or dressing of the pritchel. REMEMBER that most pritchels are forged from tool steel (generally S-7 or H-13 see the tool steel guide for forging specifications). Forging heats are critical to the well being of the tool.

The heat of the horseshoe and the relatively small tip on the pritchel results a "mushrooming" effect at the tip shown in the photo to the left.

Severe damage can also occur by inappropriate use of the pritchel. Both of these effects require heating and reforging the tool.

There are two (2) distinct angles on a pritchel. One side is more acute than the other, in order to accommodate the shape of the horse nail shank. Working at the far edge of the anvil, angle both the pritchel and your hammer to forge each of the different angles.

Always work at the proper heat. Hammering the pritchel when it is cold will result in stress damage to the tool.

After the desired shape is forged into the pritchel, hit the tip of the pritchel with straight on hammer blows.
This will serve the double purpose of "packing" and squaring the pritchel tip.

With proper forging there should be very little need for grinding the pritchel. Heat treating will depend on the type of steel used in the pritchel. Refer to the tool steel guide for specific information.


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