Friday, May 23, 2014

Pre-NASTR 75 - In Which I Glue 274 Feet

Today was Gluing Day - never my favorite. I opted to work from home so I could glue without a time limit or without it getting dark (which is what usually happens. Gluing in daylight isn't fun. In the dark, even less so). This means working until midnight to get my real work done, but at least I could glue in peace.

Fergus's new size 3s arrived within two days earlier this week, averting that mini-crisis. And I'd bought a spare tube of Adhere from the Sierra Saddlery* in Auburn last weekend (*think they are called something else now, since the farrier-supply and the saddlery part seem to have split into two separate businesses - the farrier-supply is now in the warehouse in the back and, although isn't open on a Saturday, the saddlery-lady kindly was able to ring me up) so we were set for glue.

Wednesday evening after dashing home from the tooth torturer orthodontist, Roo got his pre-glue pedicure.I haven't booted him a lot in back this year, and have probably been generally less aggressive about how I trim to leave more foot for completely barefoot riding. I've been letting Fergus and Roo self-trim more, which has resulted in stronger feet.

The secondary result is that although Roop's been wearing 0.5s in front and 0s in the back for about a year now, these boots are actually stretched and not necessarily the perfect size for gluing (i.e. I wouldn't be able to squeeze on a brand-new shell + glue in those sizes). So when it came to choosing glue-ons for him, he was comfortably an 0.5 in the back, and his larger front foot fit better into a size 1.

Now that we're done with gluing (sneak preview), I'd say that using a 0.5 Wide would probably be better for him, as the size 1 is a little longer, front to back, than it needs to be (but an 0.5 would not have fit).

The 0.5s glue-one in the back are perfect.

* * *

From past experience of glue setting up too fast on a warm day, all the shells and glues were safely stored in a big cooler in the nice-n-cool basement prior to gluing. The two shells I used for dry-fitting got slightly soiled, so I had pft wash them with hot soapy water beforehand. 'Course they didn't come out completely dry, so then we had to set them in the sun to obliterate any moisture - after which they were hot, hot, hot, so I had to go and put them in the fridge to get them cold again. Even once we were gluing, all the shells stayed in the cooler until it was time to apply the glue. I have become OCD about having cold materials.

Spent the morning doing the hoof-prep. The horses' hooves are currently coated in concrete-like mud - the only way to get it off was scrutch down on the ground and painstakingly scrape at it with the side of the hoofpick. Once the worst was off, I could lightly rasp off the top coat of hoof for a really clean wall and scrape cross-hatching onto the surface to give the glue something to grip.

Hoof-prep complete, horses happy in front of their hay bags.
Our plan of attack was for me to do the squeezing of the glue, and for pft to pick up and clean off any remaining debris from the hoof (our "cleanest" flat area for gluing is still dust-covered, despite multiple sweepings). Once the glue was in the shell, I'd switch positions with him, jamming the boot on and he'd pick up the opposite foot for the few minutes needed to keep the horse still for curing. The only snag with this plan of attack was that by boot #7, my gun-hand was starting to give out and really didn't want to squeeze any more. Wimp hand R us.

*  *  *

Roo got done first and we did that size 1 as our first effort. Probably didn't put enough glue in to thoroughly fill out the bigger toe, and still need to rasp an aggressive breakover into the toe (the size 1 was an old leftover boot from gluing Uno's backs in 2010 - this was before Easycare changed their toe-design to be more bevelled) - not thrilled with how this boot went on and therefore select this one for the "Fail"* during Sunday's 75 (*you have to have at least one boot-application that you don't love).

The other boots went on with no swearing and several smiles (< gasp > - unheard of).

Roo's feetses. You can see the difference in the breakover
of the size 1 (on right of the pic) and 0.5 (left). Need to take
a rasp to that toe before the ride.

I also don't love him cocking that right rear like that -
that's his overused leg and he should be spanked
for making me look at him doing it. During the time he
was tied waiting to be glued, he managed to get his head
under the lead rope and startled when I arrived with
the wheelie-cooler full off booting materials. This caused
him to have a minor panic-attack and scramble around,
nearly sitting down in the process. He didn't appear to
have done any damage, but his back legs made some
interesting scrape marks in the rubber mats.

Don't think about it, Lucy.
Once Roo was done, we got ready to glue Bigfoot. Before starting, it occurred to me to check how much Adhere was left in the tube (wow! thinking ahead! this is from the person who during a previous gluing session, sat there frustratingly squeezing on the gun with nothing coming out, thinking the glue had set up... only to discover the tube was actually empty). There was only a inch left, so rather than use that up and have to speedily switch out an Adhere tube mid-boot, we opted to start a completely new tube.

And this is where things started to go wrong.

For some reason, this tube set up much faster than the previous one. So half-way through applying the glue to Fergus' first size 3 boot (which, being a big boot, requires quite a bit of time to smear all the necessary glue in), I realised to my horror that one side was already nearly set up. I dashed to the horse and smooshed the shell on - twisting it hard to break the skin on the hardening-glue and hopefully getting a seal. This boot looks awful - the glue on the left (medial) side is totally blobby, so the boot wall sticks out about 1/4". Luckily the right (lateral) side glued beautifully, so after staring at it for a minute or so, I decided to just go with it (the alternative was to try and get the boot off and clean it off - at this stage, a virtual impossibility). It looks awful, but, surprisingly, I think it might actually hold (famous last words).

pft dashed into the house and fetched a cooler full of ice and we put the glue-n-gun into that for the remaining boots.

Fergus' smart boots. The RF (left on this pic) is the "funky"
glue-on, although it doesn't look too bad in this pic. I expect
he'll manage to hook the adjacent foot onto the lip of the
sticky-out boot while going along, and rip it off.
Boots #2 and #3 went on very nicely, so I figured we'd solved the speed-set up with the cooling effects of the ice.

Not so. While gluing boot #4 (a size 2 for the back), the same thing happened - I was finishing off applying the glue to the second half of boot #4 and realised the first half was already hardened up. ARGGGG. But gold star for quick thinking - I ripped out that strip of hardened glue and quickly applied a third half of glue to the boot and jammed it on the foot. Surprisingly, this boot seemed to go on fine despite the problems (again, famous last words).

We shall see.

Both pft and I carry a full complement of Gloves (with gaiters) anyway (have boot baggies either side of the back of the saddle where they don't get in the way but are handy if needed) and in theory, if Fergus loses a boot, none of the glue will have stuck to his hoof, so getting a normal boot on will be relatively easy (instead of the nightmare scenario of the boot coming off, leaving a 1/8" of glue on the hoofwall, meaning no usual-sized boot is ever going on that foot. There's a rasp in my crew box for precisely this purpose - removing excess glue to get a boot on properly).

* * *

But the real mystery is - why was that second tube of Adhere different in its curing time? The first tube (the one that behaved) was the one I bought in Auburn last weekend, while the misbehaving tube was one I'd bought for Roo for 20 Mule Team (back in February - ended up not going to the ride). So I concluded it must be an older tube.

Checked the lot numbers on the two tubes, and they are from exactly the same batch. Huh.

The (bad) 20MT tube has been stored in a box in my front hall since February. Admittedly not climate-controlled, but not baking either. But I doubt the Sierra Farrier Supply place (in the warehouse) is any better climate-controlled than my house for the (good) tube, so I can't believe it's related to recent storage.

Maybe the difference was that it took longer to smear glue in to Fergus' big size 2 and 3 boots - and he was glued second, so the temperature had gone up by then? It was in the high-80sF by the time we were done. < shrug >.

So, all in all, not too bad. Having plenty of unlimited time really helped not feeling angst-filled, even when things went wrong (witness the lack of swearing). Still don't know the answer to keeping the glue cool - except for maybe having an ice pack to rest it on during even short pauses.

pft tweaked on my Adhere-glue-gun a little the other night and it seems to have straightened it out a bit - it the trigger part of the handle wasn't bouncing back the way it should, making it so that I had to squeeze, then manually release it, which really didn't help with my gluing-enthusiasm. Having a glue-gun that works is much better... even if your hand is too wimpy to squeeze it after 7 boots-worth of glue in quick succession.

Other than horse stuff, nothing else is packed yet, so we still have plenty of things to do before we can leave in the morning. But we're getting there. Woo!

Off to do my real work.

1 comment:

  1. So true that there is always a boot out of the set that I dont like the look of!!!!!!! Sometimes its the one that falls off and sometimes its not.....which is really weird!