Friday, 13 November 2009

A Bit More Norwegian

So here we are again. News this week? Well, after some abortive trips by friends to Bergdorf Goodman, my friend Nelson has confirmed that the Fantastic Mr Fox models are in their windows till New Year. We will go next week and take pics ourselves. But thank you Paul and Dan's mate for trying.

Happy birthday to Lodger. We went to their party last night, which was fun. Met a fellow shoe man, the exceptional Mr Hare, of blog fame. We talked design, wear and manufacturing. It was great to meet him after reading his blog for so long. His shoes are great in the flesh too. So thanks Nathan for a great party.

Back to Norwegian welts. We left it with the upper lasted and ready to welt. Welt as normal, but the awl will come out on the upper which will fell a bit freaky but don't worry. Just make sure it comes out at the same level to create a straight line of stitches. Also, make sure the stitch length is even. This is why I prefer to make the holes in the holdfast as I go rather than before you start. Begin at the heel point and go round to the other heel point.




At this point, fold back the upper to create a 90 degree angle to the upper and run the sleeking bone round to secure this fold. Hammer the stitches and the fold. It all looks a bit unusual, but bear with me, it will all turn out ok.



Put in a shank and cork as usual.



Because this is a sturdy construction, the sole is generally thicker, so normally I put a midsole on. This is a piece of leather, similar to the shank material. It needs to be stiff enough to be hard and easy to finish. The midsole also makes the welt stiffer and easier to trim. Put rubber solution or neoprene glue on both surfaces, leave for 15 minutes and glue it on. Start at the toe and lay it on backwards, making sure the welt stays flat, with no lumps or creases.



You might need to skive the midsole to flatten the sole area or the waist. It should not be too curved. You can now trim the welt to the required width. Again this is a sturdy shoe so a wider welt is better. Also, the Norwegian welt tends to shrink a bit when you stitch the sole. So wide is better.
Attach the sole with rubber solution, having skived as usual to the desired thickness. Trim round the heel and nail in as usual. Trim to the welt and cut your channel. Fudge the welt to mark the stitches and you are ready to stitch. Make the holes nearer than normal to the upper, because the stitches tend to pull the upper/welt inwards and you can end up with it narrower than the sole you have trimmed. And don't pull the stitches too tight for the same reason. Go all the way round and hey presto! You have a finished Norwegian welt. Build heel and finish as normal. Good luck and let me know how you get on.