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Get insight on adding traction to aluminum shoes in the July/August issue of American Farriers Journal.
Aluminum stock remains a popular choice for a variety of horses, primarily due to its lighter weight. Another advantage is that aluminum can be shaped hot or cold. While the typical thinking might be that racing plates and lighter shoes will be shaped cold, and heavier aluminum shoes like those used for hunters and jumpers will be put in the forge, that also proves to be a matter of personal preference.
Most farriers who work with aluminum have a process of checking the stock heat, usually a time count and test the heat by drawing the handle hammer across it. For example, if the resulting mark quickly burns away or is badly smeared, the metal is too hot for shaping.
So experience tends to guide the farrier when it comes to determining when aluminum stock is at an appropriate temperature to work with. However, an old blacksmith trick learned years ago led one farrier to study a more precise way to determine that temperature.
Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 presents a futuristic world in which firemen are enlisted to burn books, which are outlawed. The title of this novel refers to the temperature at which paper supposedly auto ignites. Over the years, varied scientists have determined that Bradbury was slightly off, with their studies revealing that the temperature can actually be higher, depending on the…