Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Monday, 9 January 2012

January 2012 - day 1 week 1 shoemaking course

We don't like to ease ourselves into the New Year, oh no! It's the second week of January and our first shoemaking course of the year got under way today with a great group of students from Taiwan, Canada, the US and good old Blighty!

James and I have spent the Christmas period revising, editing and refining the course notes to be much more user friendly (we hope) and our new students are going to be the guinea pigs - telling us what we have omitted, where we need to be more clear or to give us a pat on the back as and when we deserve it! It has been quite some undertaking, but we hope will bring us a step closer to finalising the content of the DVD we keep talking about. And yes, alumni students we will be sending the new notes out to you too!

Also new is our venue. We have used an art room in the past and our own studio for smaller courses, but the freeing up of a new space on our floor at Cockpit has meant we have been able to continue business as usual. The space is a long narrow room equipped with a sink and relatively good lighting. Adding a spotlight for each student and some ambient lighting makes for an attractive and pleasant work space.

So, how did our new group get on today? Well many, many hours were spent sharpening our favourite and most trusty tool, the shoemaking knife. Through trial and error the students learned where and how much pressure to apply to the knife and once it was workable, the benefit of using the leather side of the strop intermittently to keep the knife edge keen. Insoles were soaked and blocked ready for preparing tomorrow and quite a few stiffeners have been skived, so they are well on their way.

A good start and let's hope that they/we can keep up the pace!
More from me tomorrow as we make the feather/holdfast, skive the toe puffs and, all being well begin lasting.

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