Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 19 April 2019

Shoemaker's Strops



Hello to one and all and a warm, Springy welcome to our blog. And please let us wish all of you a peaceful and joyful Easter. We are looking forward to a much needed four day weekend and some warm Spring sunshine - bliss

This week we have a brand new product in the Tool Shed which we have developed in the last few weeks with the help of our pals at Barnsley in Sheffield

I reckon the shoemaker's knife is the most important thing in my tool box and keeping it sharp is the most important thing in making shoes by hand.

There are many ways to sharpen a knife - wet stones, oil stones, grinding wheels, dry stones and, the way most English shoemakers do it, with a strop

Shiny new strops

Our new strops are made from a specially milled hardwood which sits comfortably in the hand.




On one side is a piece of calf leather with the flesh side up. It is glued in place and then impregnated with jewellers rouge and a little oil. Any oil will do but in this case we used some 3 in 1.

Some strops with just the calf leather and some with the jewellers rouge aded


Jewellers rouge is a mild abrasive which helps to take the burrs off the cutting edge.

Jewellers rouge
The other side is covered with a piece of our specialist 120 grit electrocut sharpening paper which is ideal for this purpose. You can use regular aluminium oxide paper, but it doesn't last as long, so you will be changing it much more regularly.



If you want an idea of how we use the strop, please take a look at this post from a few years ago.

You'll notice that my strop has four sides which has the advantage of allowing the paper to wear to different levels so that you can use progressively gentler sides to fine tune your knife. But that is only worth doing if you are doing a lot of shoemaking. Out two sider is perfect for most people.

Hope you like the strop and if you are interested in buying one, please visit our webstore where you can buy one for £28.50 - bargain!

And that is it for this week, we hope you have a great Easter and until next time, happy shoemaking!

Friday, 12 April 2019

Join us for London Craft Week 2019: 8 - 12 May





Yes, it's that time again and what a packed schedule we've got lined up! We hope that you can join us for a talk, workshop or visit to the School.

WEDNESDAY 8 MAY

CORDWAINING LIVE!


We’ll be shoe making live in Gieves & Hawkes’ window overlooking Vigo Street; come by to capture us in action and please pop in to ask any shoe-related questions you may have. 

Event: Demonstration 
Times: 12 – 2pm and 5 – 7pm 
Venue: Gieves & Hawkes, 1 Savile Row (Vigo Street), London W1S 3JR
FREE

THURSDAY 9 MAY

STEPPING INTO THE UNKNOWN - A TALK WITH JAMES KEARNS


This is a rare opportunity to hear from James Kearns, one of the pioneers of avant-garde fashion in the UK. James ells how he was caught up in the avant- garde movement, what brought him from Devon to London and how his inventive techniques and treatments have translated into some of the most coveted , limited edition footwear of the 21st century.

Kearns is a self-taught artisan melding tradition and innovation, working with high quality, hard-to-source leathers and "mistreating" to create short production runs of truly unique sneakers and boots.   


Event: Talk
Time: 10 - 12 noon (2 hours) 
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
Fee: £10 
Book here


INTRODUCTION TO GLOVE MAKING WITH RIINA O' 

glove making

Join luxury glove maker Riina O to make a two-fingered, soft leather archery-inspired glove. 

During the workshop you will
  • Be introduced to the luxurious exclusivity of bespoke and made to measure gloves
  • Be introduced to glove making
  • Measure your hand size
  • Draw and cut the pattern from leather
  • Hand stitch the gussets and sides of one two-fingered glove

This is the perfect introduction to this traditional hand-stitch craft which dates back to the middle ages. Only a few skilled professionals around the world, like Riina, continue to make gloves by hand in this way.

Event: Workshop
Time: 2 - 6pm (4 hours)
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
Fee: £89 
Capacity: 5 people
Click here to book

SHOE SHINE & MOON SHINE


Give your favourite leather shoes a professional service over a glass of whiskey, fizz or a virgin cocktail!

During the workshop you'll learn some top shoecare tips including:
  • About different types of leather
  • How to clean your leather shoes
  • How to nourish them
  • Some quick fixes and the best products and materials to use
  • How to polish them
  • How to create glacage or a military shine
Event: Workshop
Time: 7 - 9pm (2 hours)
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
Fee: £35 
Capacity: 7 people
Click here to book


FRIDAY 10 MAY

CORDWAINERS IN CONVERSATION




Bespoke London cordwainers our very own James Ducker, Dominic Casey, Felix Jouanneau, James Kearns and Sebastian Tarek shoot the shoe breeze with author, writer and founder of PermanentStyle.com, Simon Crompton.

Event: Online discussion and film
Time: 1pm Live stream at carreducker on Instagram; Film release date Thursday 17 May 2019
Film sponsored bycordwainers








Filmed at the Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 7 Shepherdess Place, London N1 7LJ

NEW CORDWAINERS EXHIBITION



Private view: come visit our Shoe & Leather School on the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Islington borders and see the work of our students in the "New Cordwainers" exhibition; take a tour of the workshop; and find out more about the experiences, courses, classes and workshops that we offer.

Event: Exhibition
Time: 6 - 8pm 
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
FREE but space is limited, so please contact us to put your name on the guest list for the evening
Capacity: 50 people
Click here to go on the guest list


SATURDAY 11 MAY

SHOE & LEATHER SCHOOL OPEN DAY




Come visit our Shoe & Leather School on the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Islington borders and see the work of our students in the "New Cordwainers" exhibition; take a tour of the workshop; and find out more about the experiences, courses, classes and workshops that we offer.

Event: Exhibition, Open Studio
Time: 11am - 6pm 
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
FREE


RISE & SHINE SHOE SHINE




Give your favourite leather shoes a professional service over a refreshing juice and brunch. During the workshop you'll learn some top shoe care tips including:
  • About different types of leather
  • How to clean your leather shoes
  • How to nourish them
  • Some quick fixes and the best products and materials to use
  • How to polish them
  • How to create glacage or a military shine
Event: Workshop organised by Yodomo Ltd., Future of Craft, OXO Tower Wharf
Time: 11.15am - 1.15pm (2 hours)
Venue: Yodomo Room, Room 6, The Bargehouse (The Future of Craft)
Barge House Street, London SE1 9PH
Fee: £43.23+ 
Capacity: 10 people
Book here


CORDWAINING LIVE AT PURDEY'S



We'll be shoe making live on the shop floor at Purdeys; come by to capture us in action and please pop in to ask any shoe-related questions you may have. 

Event: Demonstration
Time: 3 - 5pm
Venue: James Purdey & Sons, Audley House, 58 South Audley Street, London W1K 2ED
FREE


SUNDAY 12 MAY

INTRODUCTION TO GLOVE MAKING WITH RIINA O' 



glove making

Join luxury glove maker Riina O to make a two-fingered, soft leather archery-inspired glove. 

During the workshop you will: 
  • Be introduced to the luxurious exclusivity of bespoke and made to measure gloves
  • Be introduced to glove making
  • Measure your hand size
  • Draw and cut the pattern from leather
  • Hand stitch the gussets and sides of one two-fingered glove
This is the perfect introduction to this traditional hand-stitch craft which dates back to the middle ages. Only a few skilled professionals around the world, like Riina, continue to make gloves by hand in this way.

Event: Workshop
Time: 2 - 6pm (4 hours)
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
Fee: £89 
Capacity: 5 people
Click here to book



INTRODUCTION TO LEATHER WORK - BESPOKE DOG COLLAR












Join craftsman Frances Pinnock, to create a beautiful, saddle-stitched collar for your BFF (best furry friend)!
The collars are made in beautiful natural veg. tanned Italian leather with a brass roller buckle, leather keeper and brass D-ring for the name tag. You'll have the chance to personalise your collar by stamping it with your dog's initials or name or by creating a brogue punch hole pattern. During the workshop you will:
  • Learn how to finish and decorate the edges
  • Mark and stitch the buckle, leather keeper and D-ring in place
  • Mark and punch the holes for the buckle
Event: Workshop
Times: 10 -1pm; 2 - 5pm;  6 - 9pm (3 hours)
Venue: Carreducker Shoe & Leather School, 50 Chocolate Studios, 
7 Shepherdess Place, London N1
Fee: £45 - please note attendees must wear trousers
Capacity: 6 people per session

Click here to book
 


That's all from us for this week. We hope that some of you will be able to come to one of our events and activities and please do share the link with friends and colleagues. Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Night at the Museum with QEST

Welcome back good shoe folk....we had a wonderful evening recently showcasing hand sewn shoemaking as guests of QEST at the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

We were proud to be invited to be part of QEST's Annual Fundraising Dinner and  delighted to be joined by Frankey and Maud, the shoe posse!


The day started a few doors down in The Orangerie where we got together before taking all of our equipment across to the V&A.


The event has what must be one of the fastest 'get ins' in history! One hour from the museum closing and the main hall was decorated, a bar set up and 18 makers were set up, ready and waiting to greet guests.





The cordwaining posse photobombed by silversmith Wayne Meeten!


It was hard to resist the temptation to sneak off for a look around the museum in the dark....



And then it was show time, chatting to guests about shoe making and teaching....





Frankey at full stretch 

Her beautiful display of the boots she has made with us and her own saddle stitch work...



Maud mid-welt proving it is possible to stitch on a stool and in a dress!



Her beautiful display of the shoes and boots she has made with us and a Horace Batten riding boot.


What a wonderful experience to have had the three of us together, three women cordwainers in action...thank you QEST!


That's all from us for now, until Friday, happy shoe making!

Friday, 5 April 2019

12-Day Shoemaking 1-to-1 Workshop

Welcome back good shoe enthusiasts and here we are already in April and gearing up for London Craft Week 8 - 12 May! More of that next week, but for now here's a snapshot of Kevin who is currently making a pair of straight toecap shoes.





All techniques were tried thread making - this was a favourite :)


Once the welt was stitched Kevin attached the shank and cork and skived and rasped it smooth


 Then it was on to preparing the sole...shaving off the loose material, glassing it smooth and then keying the surface ready for gluing
  

 Once Kevin had attached the sole, he nailed the heel and trimmed it carefully to shape before peening it close to the upper

  
We'll have a host more photos next week as Kevin has diligently kept a photo essay, so this is just a taster. So until then happy shoemaking!