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Dan Bradley of Lucedale, Miss, says it’s also important to be aware that aluminum will behave differently than steel if you’re punching or modifying nail holes.
“When you use punches on aluminum, strike the punch crisply and squarely against the metal,” explains the GE Forge & Tool clinician. “And use pritchels with sharp edges.”
Pritchels may cut through the aluminum quickly, so Bradley likes to use old leather pads between his shoe and the anvil when he’s punching or modifying nail holes.
“That will protect both the anvil and the pritchel,” he says.
Bradley also says it’s a good idea to buy an inexpensive stainless steel brush to use on aluminum shoes.
“A regular wire brush may leave marks,” he adds.
If you want to pull clips on an aluminum shoe, Bradley suggests spot heating just the place where you want to pull the clips. He says he typically pulls clips at 600 degrees.
“The more care you take in the pre-work of your shoe, the easier the finishing will be,” he says.
If you use a belt sander to safe or modify aluminum shoes, Bradley says it’s important to realize that aluminum will build up on the belt. He says frequent use of a cleaning stick — there are many different kinds available — will prolong the life of the belt.
Grinding aluminum brings up safety issues that Bradley says you should be aware of. He said breathing aluminum dust that’s in the air as a result of using…