EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of our long-time Technical Editor Red Renchin, who passed away Aug. 29 at the age of 70, here is a farrier tip to help you save time when cutting pads.

By Red Renchin, Technical Editor

If you use a lot of pads, it will pay to invest in tools that will let you trim and shape them more efficiently, like an inverse-mounted jigsaw (Figure 1) or a stone wheel on a sander (Figure 2).

The cheapest method of cutting pads is to use the tools you already have. A utility knife or a scalpel-sharp hoof knife will work, but the risk of slipping and cutting yourself is always there. A hand-held nipper with one rein secured in the jaws of your foot vise works well, but leaves an uneven surface, which has to be rasped or smoothed with a grinder.

If you are willing to spend some money, there are several pad cutters that use rotary blades. A jigsaw mounted upside down works beautifully, plus it solves the problem of how to cut the inside portion of a rim pad.

Another option for cutting out the inside is to use a rotary cutter. It uses a special cutting rod that cuts through pads easily. The ultimate in cutting machines is a mounted Milwaukee band saw. It has enough power to cut through the heaviest pads or even aluminum for hospital plates.


Figure 1.

Every decision has pros and cons with cost, safety, efficiency and frequency of use. It is up to you to be the judge of what works for your own business.

Cutting a pad to accommodate clips can be done in several ways. I have found that a 3/4-inch-wide stone wheel helps make this easy. Set the shoe on the pad with the clips up. Mark a line on the pad adjacent to the clips. Then grind just inside those marks as wide as the clip. With some practice, you can consistently end up with a pad that fits precisely around the clips.


Figure 2.

When applying rim pads, it is essential to rivet the ends of the pads to the shoe, but with a full pad I don’t think it is necessary. Instead, drive temporary nails in the back nail holes and wring them off flush with the pad. Pull them out if you want to use that nail hole. This also frees you from the labor of replacing the rivet if you reset the package.

It is more difficult nailing a shoe with the pad attached. Pre-drilling the pad with a 1/8-inch drill bit aimed in the same direction as the nail will make nailing much easier and faster.