Overcoming Your Fears Of Aluminum

Care is needed in working this light and highly useful metal

When it comes to aluminum, a lot of farriers would prefer leaving the making of a horseshoe to the manufacturer. But there are ways to help simplify working aluminum bar stock into a good, useable shoe.

Aluminum will not lie to you while it is being forged. It will let you know about every mistake with a hammer and punch, as they will be easily seen and magnified. This property makes aluminum a very good teacher, since it gives you immediate feedback on your forging skills. I often find that the difference between a good and a bad shoe is the rasp and the brush.

Getting Started

Cut a piece of aluminum bar stock to the desired length,  using a slightly larger cross section since it is a little bit more forgiving while it is being heated.

The shoe for this article is made from 12 inches of 3/8-by-1-inch stock. Mark 1/8 inch off center, with the mark toward the medial side of the shoe. If it is for the left side of the horse, move the center mark toward the left and vice-versa for a shoe being made for the horse’s right side.

Center punch the location for the toe nails (Figure 1), which will be 1 5/16 inches from the center mark of the shoe. Also mark the lateral branch.

Only build one shoe at a time when using aluminum since you can’t leave one in the fire while the other is being worked. This is not a…

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Chris_gregory

Chris Gregory

Chris Gregory is a Hall of Fame farrier and owner of Heartland Horseshoeing School in Lamar, Mo.

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