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We all know shoeing horses is hard work. While tradition has its place, I believe it is important to protect our bodies and use modern innovations to make it as easy as possible. One of the tools that does just that is the electric grinder.
Old timers looked down on the first farriers who used electric grinders. The term “grinder smith” was not a compliment. Happily that mind set is mostly gone now, never to return.
The world of abrasives and stock removal is large and complex. I am going to cover only the narrow range of grinders and abrasives commonly used by farriers on horseshoes in their mobile rigs. We will save the “grinders for the shop” article for another issue.
Grinders have been in use for a long time. The earliest recorded usage goes back to 830 A.D. when a sandstone-grinding wheel with a hand crank was pictured in a Carolingian manuscript. By 1340, the grinder had been upgraded to having two hand cranks. Then in 1480, it was really souped up with a treadle and crank mechanism.
The wheel on these historical grinders was usually about 30 inches in diameter and about 2 inches wide. The bottom portion was submerged in a container of water for lubrication and cooling, and the operator sat…