HISTORY OF MERLIN & THE EQUINE INDUSTRY King Arthur’s Tools, the worldwide leader in the development of chainsaw blades on angle grinders, proudly introduces “MERLIN – Electric Hoof Knife” to the Equine Industry. The tool and its effective use in trimming a hoof has been proven by thousands of users over the past four years. In 2005, King Arthur’s Tools (KAT) introduced the MERLIN, a self contained trimming set, to the dairy cow hoof trimming industry to be used by Hoof Trimmers, Dairymen and Veterinarians. But it wasn’t long before we realized that we also had a trimming tool that could be used by a wide variety of individuals and industries like Farriers’, Veterinarians, Individual Horse Owners and the Equine Industry. During the R & D days of the MERLIN Hoof Trimming Tool Set, KAT utilized the services of Jerry Bowman; originally a trained Farrier turned Professional Hoof Trimmer, to assist by testing different prototypes in actual field conditions. “I realized I had a power tool that could easily trim the hooves on a horse”, he said. “I began trimming my own horses shortly after I started working with the MERLIN and I’ve been doing it ever since”. (Trimming video on line) So KAT has known for some time that the MERLIN could be successfully used on a variety of different animal hooves. Our tools are used to trim the hooves of dairy cows, horses, cattle, goats, sheep and hogs as well as the occasional elephant and giraffe (zoos). Almost anything with a hoof can be trimmed. Weighing in at 1.5 pounds and 11” long, MERLIN is the first electric tool to be offered as a hoof trimming set. The patented set consists of an electric miniature long neck angle grinder, a 2” diameter, 4 tooth carbide chain saw mounted between two discs and two other specifically designed accessories for trimming, preparing and finishing hoofs. Famous worldwide as “The World’s Smallest Chainsaw”, MERLIN is the first power tool that can duplicate the actions of a hoof knife. It has been dubbed the “Electric Hoof Knife” by the dairy industry. Over the past few years and prior to introducing our product to the Equine Industry we chose to seek outside assistance to ensure that our tool would indeed be a viable tool for the Equine Industry. In 2006, KAT contacted Ralph Casey of The Farriers’ National Research Center in LaFayette, Georgia and submitted the MERLIN to them for their evaluation. The Center found the tool to be an exceptional product for hoof trimming. Mr. Casey was so taken by MERLIN that he promoted it on his cable television show “Horseshoe’n Time”. (Casey video on line) We also contacted Dr. Ed Johnson, Department of Animal Science, University of Florida and his resident farrier, Adam Whitehead. We asked if they would test the MERLIN to see if there was an application for which the tool set could be used. The University found the tool to be invaluable for doing hoof resections. Prior to MERLIN, the University used a Dremel tool almost exclusively but now only in very few instances. (Whitehead video on line) Over the past two years Farriers, Veterinarians and individual Horse Owners have found out about KAT through word of mouth or the internet looking for an option to compliment the hoof knife for trimming. The following is a brief summary of some reactions that King Arthur’s Tools has received over the past few years from those customers who are currently using the MERLIN. Subject Initial Reaction What We Found To Be True. Electric cord Not comfortable having a Because it has a power cord, it’s not a hand tool. That’s a good horse exposed to an thing. electric wire. You have to work with the cord until you find your comfort level but the cord and its positioning around the horse soon becomes a part of the trimming process. It only adds a couple of minutes to the time you take to set up your trimming work area. Safety measures can be easily introduced to protect the horse such as using a grounded extension cord that has a built in circuit interrupter. Fearful that the tool may The noise the grinder makes is about the same as a pair of be too noisy. electric clippers. The horse soon becomes use to it. Don’t have access to a MERLIN uses 100 watts of electricity and pulls one (1) amp of source of electric power. power. You can easily power the unit with an auto/truck DC/AC power converter. Chainsaw Most people are a little The two things about a hoof knife are sharpness and the ability blade vs. hoof skeptical when they are to control the knife as you’re making the cut. knife first introduced to the idea of trimming a horse’s hoof The general consensus of most people familiar with hoof knives with a small chain saw is that the hoof knife is difficult to sharpen and requires a certain blade. level of skill. Sharpening a hoof knife isn’t a problem for the Professional Farrier but for a Horse Owner who trims his own animal they find that one of the advantages to using chain saw technology is the ease in sharpening the four (4) teeth. It requires the use of a diamond tipped chain saw file due to the tungsten carbide teeth. The whole sharpening process takes less than 5 minutes and should be done after each trimming. It only takes three passes of the file on the tooth to tune it up. This guarantees you a sharp tool the next time you need it and it helps extend the life of the blade. Concerned about being You have to learn how to use a hoof knife and develop the feel able to control the tool. in gauging the depth of a cut on the hoof while having enough strength to pull the hoof knife through the hoof. It’s almost the same with MERLIN. The operator will develop the ability to control the depth of the cut through feel. The combination of the grinder size, the unique cutting action of the chain saw blade and how the unit balances in your hand allows the operator to use the MERLIN in a very precise manner. You can remove hoof material as small as micro thin slivers. The major difference is just how easy it is to trim with the MERLIN. You just let the tool do the cutting as you control the area and amount of hoof material to be removed. New A proud 200 year tradition The MERLIN probably isn’t going to be for everyone but here is technology of hoof knife, rasp and file a list of some of those who are using the MERLIN; Professional Farriers. Farriers and Veterinarians who provide “hoof wall re- section” type services. Horse Owners who trim their own animals. Trimmers who have limiting physical problems with their hands and wrist. Women in general buy the MERLIN because of the size, weight and control. It doesn’t require the physical strength like a typical hoof knife.