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Tips For Working With Aluminum

As the demand grows for these light, versatile shoes, it makes sense for farriers to learn the ins and outs of using them


MULTIPLE WAYS TO WELD. Aluminum shoes or aluminum bar stock can be  welded by any of the usual methods. Aluminum can also be forge welded.

If you should one day decide you’d like to carry every aluminum horseshoe on the market, you’d better plan on buying a big shoeing rig.

Once a curiosity seen occasionally at the racetrack, aluminum shoes are now available in more than 6,000 styles and varieties, according to Dan Bradley, the farrier and toolmaker from Lucedale, Miss.

During a presentation at the American Farrier’s Association (AFA) convention in Albuquerque, N.M., in late February, Bradley told his audience that farriers can choose from a multitude of aluminum shoes.

“You’d have to have a 53-foot semi as your shoeing rig to carry all of them,” he said, noting that Victory Racing Plate Co., and Thoro’Bred Inc., — two of the biggest names in aluminum shoes — each offer more than 600 varieties.

David Erb, president of Victory, said in the case of his company, the figure is actually more than 750, when taking into consideration the various sizes and styles.

”We’re working with a world market,” Erb says. “It takes some very creative scheduling and agile manufacturing.”

Victory’s Elite competition shoe, according to Erb, was the industry’s first viable aluminum shoe that could be mass-produced. It was introduced in September of 1988. Since then constant improvements in various aluminum alloys and manufacturing techniques have helped aluminum shoes take a bigger and bigger share of the market.   

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ALUMINUM PRIMER…

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Pat_tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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