SENNETT — The sound of hammers bashing against metal was the soundtrack of a toolmaking event in Sennett Saturday.

The event, hosted by the Western New York Farrier's Association, was taught by Riley Kirkpatrick, who flew in from Oregon. Kirkpatrick showed participants how to make their own equipment. The association consists of people who make horseshoes, and many of the participants were association members. The event was held in a barn owned by Claire Affleck, the girlfriend of association member Matt Rice.

Kirkpatrick, who makes horseshoes by trade, began creating tools five years ago when he was "young and broke," and starting his own business. He thought the high-quality tools he needed were too expensive to buy, so he created his own.

The drifts — pointed objects used to make other tools — the event's participants made that morning would cost around $300, Kirkpatrick said, while the metal the drift is made from normally costs around $10. By forging their own tools instead of relying on and paying sellers, the participants are taking the initiative to "own their trade," Kirkpatrick said.

"(The participants) really want to take a hold of their own lives," Kirkpatrick said.

Rice, the association's secretary, praised Kirkpatrick's knowledge, skill and the "tremendous" quality of his tools.

Chris Van Loon swung a hammer several times at a metal piece he and Kirk Smith were making into a drift. At one point, Van Loon set the hammer down, took a moment to catch his breath and said he was "out of shape." Smith, who has made some of his own tools before, said the metal needed for horseshoe-making equipment takes a lot of physical effort to forge.

Kalam Blessing, who worked on a drift with Rice, said Kirkpatrick taught him to make tools more efficiently than he had by himself. Blessing said he adapts his techniques as he learns from others.

"You pick up little pieces from every single person," Blessing said.

Kirkpatrick said he's glad participants won't necessarily have to buy tools from other people, despite that it could cut into his own "bottom line" since they won't have to purchase tools from him.

"I want them to feed their own mouths, make their own money," Kirkpatrick said.

Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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