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Welding an Aluminum Bar Shoe in the Forge

Colombian farrier Ivan Gomez uses aluminum bar stock and a welding rod to make a bar shoe.

There is an abundance of aluminum horseshoes on the market, particularly for therapeutic needs. Ivan Gomez believes farriers need forging skills not only to modify manufactured shoes specific for the horse’s needs, but also have the ability to make an appropriate shoe at the horse if lacking the inventory

Gomez, a farrier and educator based in Bogota, Colombia, showed how he makes a straight bar shoe during a late winter clinic at Anvil Brand in Lexington, Ill. During this demonstration, he shared a few considerations to improve the outcome when working with aluminum, especially when a bar shoe is needed.

A Patient Approach

Before making the shoe, Gomez evaluated and trimmed the horse, stressing that no shoeing option will succeed if the trim fails. He notes the horse’s flares, lack of sole depth and poor frog. 

Having measured the foot with dividers, Gomez cuts the aluminum bar stock and fires up the propane forge. He can’t stress the need for heat management enough. Many farriers rely on the scorch test by rubbing the hammer handle across the aluminum to see if it is at an approriate temperature.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Rubbing the hammer handle against heated aluminum stock will show if it is too cool, appropriate for working or too hot.
  • Regulate a propane forge to control the heat when working with aluminum.

Gomez takes the bar stock out of the forge and notes the lack of color change, but how the hammer handle leaves a light brown streak after rubbing…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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