Glue Timing: Wrestling With Temperature Control

Glue work is messy!  It's fraught with opportunity to get glue on yourself, on the horse, and all over your clothes.  

Now let's make it even more complicated when we consider that glue is temperature sensitive.  It cures faster in when it's warm and slower when it's cold...which means we have to constantly adjust our working speed for a variable we cannot control, or completely predict: THE WEATHER.    

Here in the Northeast we are feeling the cold temperatures acutely given the most recently Blizzard Jonas that just dumped 30" of snow on us in 24 hours here in Pennsylvania!  

This has made me acutely aware of the difficulties of using glue in extreme temperatures.  Keep in mind I use primarily fast set acrylic glue: Equilox II, EasyShoeBond Fast Set, or Hoof Life Swift Set, etc.  I want to share with you the guide I use for applying EasyShoes with acrylic glue in different temperatures. Given the snow I see when I look outside, I'm going to focus on tips for heating the glue and shoe.  

There are various ways of heating glue in the cold weather.  In addition to keeping my glue in the house overnight so it doesn't get chilled, I use a heating pad, like you'd find at the pharmacy for your back, to heat my glue.  Depending on how cold it is, I would also keep the glue near the heat vents in my truck in between stops. And when it gets REALLY cold, I also use a heat gun to heat my shoe:  

And the heat gun to heat the foot:

And to heat the glue once the shoe is applied:

With the kind of horses I work on, holding the foot up when the glue is curing is critical to success, as is building height and mechanics with the glue and the shoe. So I tend to like my glue just starting to get thicker when I put the shoe on the foot.  

Here is a video of the difference in glue consistency.  The glue on the left is too thin unless you're doing a weight-bearing application.  The three glues on the right are too stiff and have set up too much to use to attach a shoe to a foot, but the glue in the middle, second from the left, is.....you got it...JUST RIGHT!

 

Here is a chart for how I break down my heating and cooling strategies by ambient temperature:

85-95°F and above: 

  • Consider slow set glue  -or-
  • Chill fast set glue with an ice pack in cooler or fridge

75-85°F: 

  • Keep glue out of sun
  • Fast set glue consider cooling with an ice pack in cooler or fridge

65-75°F:  

  • Put glue in sun to take any chill off

55-65°F: 

  • Heat glue in heating pad on LOW to take chill off

45-55°F: 

  • Heat glue in heating pad on MED-HIGH
  • May need heat gun on shoe once on the horse's foot.

35-45°F: 

  • Heat glue in heating pad on HIGH
  • Heat shoe before applying glue
  • WILL need heat gun on shoe once on the horse's foot
  • Consider heating the horse’s foot with heat gun right before application

25-35°F: 

  • Heat glue in heating pad on HIGH
  • Heat shoe before applying glue
  • WILL need heat gun on shoe once on the horse's foot
  • Heat the horse’s foot with heat gun right before application

25°F and below: 

  • Heat glue in heating pad on HIGH
  • WILL need heat gun on shoe once on horse's foot
  • WILL also need to heat shoe before glue application, and foot before applying shoe
  • May also need to keep packing, tips, and other supplies in a warm room especially at temps below 20°F
  • Consider heating work space with torpedo heaters, etc.  

This is based on a horse that stands well, working in a protected space without wind or direct sun, and your desire to have the glue set up as fast as possible, approximately two minutes.

Temperature ranges need to be adjusted for wind (down 10 degrees from ambient temperature) or working in direct sun (up 10 degrees from ambient temperature).   Of course direct sun out of the wind can also help you if it's a slightly chilly day!

You can also adjust this chart down 10°F if you want the glue to be more liquid when you apply your shoe to the foot like in a weight bearing application, or a horse who doesn't need so much height or mechanics built into the shoe.  

I hope this information helps you be more successful in getting your glue to behave in all sorts of weather!  With any questions or for information on glue and composite shoe hands-on clinics, please see:

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com


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