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Welding Clips With a Wire-Feed Welder
  2002 Richard Klimesh
www.horsekeeping.com

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Until recently, the only practical way to make clips on horseshoes was to forge them from a hot shoe. For some applications, farriers find forged clips are limited in size, width, and the number that can be made on a single shoe. This is especially apparent when making therapeutic or draft shoes.

A few years ago, when part of my practice was doing therapeutic shoeing for Colorado State University's Veterinary Teaching Hospital, I developed a method of applying clips using a 110 volt wire-feed welder.

I found this method especially useful when more than one clip was required on a shoe, as for treating a fractured coffin bone, or when very tall or wide clips were needed to secure a shoe as when a portion of the hoof was damaged or removed.

Since weldable clips were not commercially available, I stamped clips from sheet metal on a modified half-round cut-off hardy. I found welding clips to be more efficient than forging and before long I was welding all my clips.

Particularly those farriers who make therapeutic shoes, apply clips to draft horse shoes, or already use a welder for other procedures such as bar shoes will find that welding clips can enable them to handle a wider variety of shoeing situations with confidence.

 

What a Clip Should Do

To be effective a clip should have the following characteristics:

  • it should be located correctly on the shoe
  • it should be strong enough that it doesn't bend or break
  • it should be large enough to do its job
  • it should be efficient to make.

Keeping these characteristics in mind, let's look at welded clips.

Location. It would be very impractical for most shoers to draw two or more clips next to one another. Welded clips can be placed next to one another around the entire shoe if necessary, as with the contiguous clip shoe for treating a coffin bone fracture (Photo A).

 

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Strength. Like a good forged clip, a welded clip, if properly applied, is strong enough for any shoeing application. A practical and attractive toe clip like the one on the Clydesdale in Photo B is strong, and easy and quick to apply.

 

 

 

 

A pair of clips made of 1/8" stock helped keep a shoe on this draft horse's reconstructed hoof until new hoof grew down (Photo C)

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Size. In order for a clip to do its job it has to have sufficient contact with the hoof wall. One valuable use of clips is to help secure a shoe and pad. Only too often, the largest clip you can forge from the shoe is ineffective because all that touches the hoof is the tip of the clip. The clip in Photo D is a typical forged clip used with a wedge pad.

 

 

 

Welded clips, on the other hand, can be made in any size and any shape that you need. Tall welded clips, like the one in Photo E, are especially suited for use with pads and with weak hoof walls.

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Efficient: "Producing the desired result with a minimum of effort, expense, or waste".

To forge a clip, the shoe first has to be heated in the forge. This uses fuel and takes time, both of which cost you money.

      Welded clips are made beforehand in your shop. The steel does not have to be heated and each clip takes only 5 seconds to make.

     To apply the clip, you simply fit it to the shoe and weld it on. It is quick, taking a total of around 2 minutes per clip. A $20 spool of welding wire will weld hundreds of clips. Your client furnishes what little electricity is required to run your welder.   

Many farriers find that the process of pulling clips from a hot shoe always changes the shape and the levelness of the shoe. This means more time and effort to re-level and reshape the shoe before it's ready to nail on. Factory pre-clipped shoes present a similar problem. It can be very frustrating to accurately shape a pre-clipped shoe, keep it level, and not damage the clip.

 

 

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Welded clips do not change the shape of the shoe. The shoe is shaped and fit once, before the clips are applied. As soon as the clips are applied, the shoe is ready to nail.

And since welded clips are flush with the outer edge of the shoe, they don't have to be burned into the hoof wall (Photo F).

DISADVANTAGES

A welded clip is not suitable for a toe clip except on shoes that have borium applied at the toe, such as a draft shoe, to prevent the weld at the base of the clip from wearing. A forged clip is usually a better choice for a single toe clip. In most cases. however, two forward placed welded side clips can be used instead of a toe clip.

CAUTIONS

Like slag from a hot shoe, sparks from welding are a fire hazard and should be contained by a shield around your welding area. Every farrier who heats a shoe using any means should carry a workable fire extinguisher and will usually have a quench bucket close at hand. Common sense goes a long way in minimizing fire danger.

The sound and light from welding may startle some horses initially, but most horses quickly become accustomed to welding. Be careful not to set up too near the horse and have a handler keep a close eye on the horse the first time the horse sees welding in action.

SUGGESTED CLIP APPLICATIONS

Clips can greatly improve the quality of your horseshoeing and increase your profits. Here are some suggested uses:

  • Anytime you use pads, use a pair of tall clips to take some strain off the nails and help secure the package to the hoof, as with the Clydesdale shoes in Photo G. Clydesdale clips, clips, horseshoe, welding, welded, farrier, shoer, horseshoer, blacksmith, weld, shoeing, shoe, making clip, hoof pads, hoof packing, hooves, draft, thrush, white line disease, hoof disease, forging, horse, video, books, book, horses, equine,Place clips between the 1st and 2nd or between the 2nd and 3rd nail holes.

  • To contain the flares on wide-footed horses place a pair of clips across the widest part of the hoof. This can train the hoof to grow down in more upright manner.

  • If a horse is going to be in a wet environment, especially a horse with wide platter feet, use a pair of clips to keep the shoe from spreading over the edge of the shoe and collapsing the heels. Place the clips between the 2nd and 3rd or 3rd and 4th nail holes on a keg shoe.

  • When shoeing a hoof that has a portion missing due to an accident or surgery, a long clip can prevent the exposed shoeresected hoof, heel shields, lost shoes,, clips, horseshoe, welding, welded, farrier, shoer, horseshoer, blacksmith, weld, shoeing, shoe, making clip, hoof pads, hoof packing, hooves, draft, thrush, white line disease, hoof disease, forging, horse, video, books, book, horses, equine, from being stepped on and can also help hold medication in place (Photo H).

  • For active horses wearing squared toe shoes place clips between the 1st and 2nd nail holes to keep the shoe from sliding back and shifting on the hoof.

  • To keep shoes on a troublesome horse when all else fails, weld special clips called "heel shields" to the heels of the front shoes (Photo I). heel shields, lost shoes,, clips, horseshoe, welding, welded, farrier, shoer, horseshoer, blacksmith, weld, shoeing, shoe, making clip, hoof pads, hoof packing, hooves, draft, thrush, white line disease, hoof disease, forging, horse, video, books, book, horses, equine,

    MAKING WELDED CLIPS

     

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    CAUTION: Galvanized steel releases dangerous gases when heated by welding.

    A steel hammer can be used for the initial blows (Photo J) to save wear on the brass hammer. Be careful not to cut through and damage your hammer and hardy.

     

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    Using a brass hammer for the final blows to cut the steel through will keep the clip hardy sharp and prevent marring the face of your steel hammer (Photo K).

     

     

    A magnet like the on on Photo L holds the clip in position for welding.
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    A small weld on the inside
     of the clip will ensure the clip
    doesn't bend outward (Photo M).

     

     

     

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    If necessary, the weld can be cleaned up with a rasp or grinder before the shoe is applied, or with a rasp after the shoe is applied as in Photo N.

     

     

    To learn all about welding clips, including how to make the tools to stamp out your own clips, and how to make and apply heel shields and contiguous clip shoes, see my 60-minute video Welding Clips With a Wire-Feed Welder.

                             Good Shoeing,    Richard Klimesh


      2002 Richard Klimesh

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