Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Day 9 - Shoemaking Course

Ok, Day 9 was all about heel building.

With the split lifts on, everyone got to cutting out their heel lifts. Four in total, two for each shoe.

With the skin side roughed or glassed, they proceeded to attach the first lift with paste and nails. Three in a triangle in the middle to secure it and then a row around the edge. These they clipped and punched as before. Next came trimming, peening and hammering smooth.

Then came some skiving to flatten the heel lift. The object is to  achieve a flat stable contact with the ground on the top piece. This is done by skiving a bit of each lift.

Next came the second lift. Same procedure - paste; nails; trim the edge; peen with the French hammer; and hammer the marks out. All followed by some more skiving.

Once on, they had to shape the heel. Here the convention is straight on the sides and slightly pitched under at the back. This was done with the knife.

After shaping, they had to put the shoe on a flat board and put the top piece under the heel. This is to check how the shoe sits on the ground. It must be flat and stable. No rocking. If the shoes rock or are not flat, more skiving of the surface is needed.

Some of the more speedy workers, managed to trim the seat. This is the part where the heel meets the upper. They drew a straight, flat line, wet the leather and cut carefully, avoiding cutting the upper.

This then had to be trimmed using a bit of plastic from a ruler to protect the upper.

Once the seat was trimmed, they wet it again and peened it close, followed by a gentle hammer to give it a good shape.

Tomorrow we will concentrate on getting the top pieces on and starting the finishing. Rasps at the ready everyone.

If any of this is not clear, please feel free to ask a question. We are happy to help.

Until tomorrow, happy shoemaking


Otso Mäensivu said...

What is this paste you mentioned? Do you mean a traditional gluten based glue or contact adhesive?

jimmyshoe said...

It is a water based craft paste which can be revived with water if it dries. We buy a German paste called Hirschkleber from Algeos in England.
There are recipes for homemade paste with flour, chestnut paste etc, which I have not tried.
At a push, you can use wallpaper paste.
But it must be aqueous.
Hope that helps and thanks for the question, jimmyshoe

Otso Mäensivu said...

Thank you! I remember the product now, as I've seen it in some catalogues at work. Do you use this paste to glue heel counters to the lining/uppers as well?