My farrier sends his shoes off to the Amish for Drill Tech to be put on them. Most people haven't heard of it and only know of Borium. What's the pro's and con's? I've read conflicting information about each of them i.e. one last longer than the other, one grips better on pavement, etc. Anyone know?
Drillteck (carbraze) is composed of tungsten carbide particles in a brass-nickel matrix. The matrix is softer and wears down faster than the carbide particles so traction is preserved as the material wears down.
Borium (trademark name by Stoody Corporation) is also composed of tungsten carbide particles but in a mild steel matrix. The steel and carbide wear at the same rate, lasting longer than drilltek but leaving a smoother surface over time.
While drilltek can be applied in the forge (brazing), the farrier will have to use an oxygen/acetylene torch set to weld the borium in place.
You can buy drilltek in fine, medium and course grades. Borium is all the same grade and sold in sticks based on diameter of the rod. Typical offerings are 1/8", 1/4" and 3/8".
Drilltek, while easier to apply and providing a more consistent level of traction, costs about four times that of borium. Typical is $18/rod for drilltek versus under $4/rod for borium.
Which product "grips" better has a lot to do with how much is applied and where it is applied on the shoe. Over time, the drilltek, because of it's softer core matrix, will provide more consistent traction. The borium lasts longer but traction is reduced as the mild steel wears down. You'll often see borium "stacked up", basically replicating the effect of heel caulks or studs.
Drive-in or drilled/tapped studs are an alternative to both drilltek and borium. Drilled/taped studs give you the option of removing them when they aren't needed. That can be a huge advantage when you only want traction while riding and want to reduce damage associated with pasture behavior in a herd (kicking).
My personal preference for traction is to use drive-in studs or pins. They are fast and easy to install and usually the least cost add-on.
So, did that clear up some of the confusion?