By Roy Bloom
The photos in this article were taken at a hands-on clinic hosted by Jim Smith in New Hampshire. Making a hand held punch involves much the same process but you don't have the complicated process of welding and heat treating that is involved in the steel handle tool. If you decide to make some steel handled punches keep in mind that these basic forging steps are only the beginning. The most critical steps are the welding and heat treatment steps. In a future article I will discuss some of those steps. I like to use S-7 for most of my punches. This is a personal preference but I find S-7 to be a good steel for punches. I use 5/8" round stock for most punches, but would suggest 3/4" for punches used for heavier work, like gaited or draft shoes. [more]
By Mike Wildenstein, CJF, FWCF
When shoeing heavy horses, keep in mind they have a harder time remaining comfortable while standing on three legs. It is best to limit the amount of time you hold the hoof up off the ground; give them plenty of breaks while working on their feet.
Heavy horses, especially those used to wearing shoes, will get uncomfortable when standing barefoot for extended periods of time. With that in mind, when shoeing them, you want to avoid removing all four shoes first. Complete your work on one side or diagonally first (for example, left front and left hind or left front and right hind), then go to the next side or next set of diagonals to complete the job.