Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 19 August 2011

Day 11 - Shoemaking Course

Finish, finish, finish. This is what your shoes will be judged on. Most customers do not know about welts, stiffeners, fudge wheels, the quality of your lasting etc. What they see is the finished shoe and that is what they judge. So it matters!

Today the students rasped and sanded till it hurt. Lots of huffing and puffing, but they got there. The results are great.
We use three grades of aluminium oxide paper (80, 120 and 240) in succession to achieve a glassy finish. we use a sanding block on the heels and a rolled up piece of paper on the edges. This gives a slightly concave finish which marries perfectly with the convex body of the edge iron.

Sanding the Edge

I think the results are fantastic.

Glassy Finish on Heel

Some of the students went on to finishing the edges with the edge iron. This involved cutting off the lip on the top of the welt with a knife; re-fudging the stitches; rasping off the lip on the underside; and ironing away with a hot iron.

Setting the Edge
After this came glassing the sole and the top piece ready to sand them. Again, three grades of paper and a peachy smooth finish.

Glassing the Top Piece

The really speedy ones even inked the shoes with black ink. They really look good now. Unfortunately, this is the stage when any imperfections on the finishing will show up. One of the hard things about doing something complicated like making a pair of shoes is that you don't know what you are aiming for or why you are doing something in a certain way, or what consequences doing something badly now will have further down the line. But that's life folks!

Inking the Sole

Black All Over - Lovely!


Last day tomorrow, can't wait. I am a bit anxious about everyone finishing, but we should be fine.

3 comments:

Topher said...

James,

Just a quick question about sharpening. On your previous posts it looks like you have your sanding paper mounted on a layer of something before it is glued to the strop. Is this a strip of leather, or thin cork maybe or something else sort of spongy? It seems like a good idea so that you have a little give as you pass over it, but I just cant figure out if my eyes are deceiving me and it is glued directly to the wood.

thank you once again for the help!

-topher

jimmyshoe said...

Hi Topher, no, it's just the previous electrocut paper which we do not remove. We just glue the new piece on top. I am not sure whether a bit of give would be a good idea on the strop. Best, jimmyshoe

Topher said...

oh yes, on second thought the harder surface would be needed. thank you as always!

-topher