Spat Boots and Heel Finishing

Welcome back, once again, dear shoe folk of the world. We are always thrilled by the reach our blog has around the planet. It seems we have readers from all over the place which is fantastic and the spur we need to carry on.

Our philosophy with the blog has always been to promote interest in our beloved craft by sharing our knowledge and skill. Too often, skilled craftspeople spend years gaining the knowledge and then guard it ferociously. This means that they don't pass it on to the next generation and their skills die with them. This, to me, is a tragedy and if we can encourage just a handful of you to pursue your dream of becoming a shoemaker, then we are happy. Equally, we want to widen and deepen awareness of what we do to those who are interested and who do not aspire to making shoes.

But anyway, onwards and upwards. This week we delivered these spat boots to a client and we both really love them. Based on a 30s style, they are made of shrunken calf (which is boiled to give it a natural graining) and suede. The lining is a dark grape colour and they have a military ribbon tug. The buttons are vintage resin from the 30s and are very beautiful.

The client was delighted, so we are too. We hope you agree that they are very handsome.

One thing occurred to me when I was finishing he heels on a pair of shoes last week. When you are rasping the heels and the quarter rubber, the two materials rasp at different rates which means that the rubber sits proud of the leather. This makes for a little step which prevents you from glassing and sanding effectively.

It's hard to see from these photographs, but there is a little lip.

At the point of sanding, get the knife and trim off the lip. It leaves a mark but this comes off with the rough sandpaper. The result is a smooth transition between the rubber and the leather of the heel. So it looks and it feels better.

This is also true if you use contact adhesive for your heels. You get a little line of glue between the lifts because the leather rasps away quicker than the glue. So always use a water based craft paste for heel building.

And that, I'm afraid, is that for this week. We hope you have a good one and, until, next Friday, happy shoemaking!