Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Glue 3

So, we meet again loyal readers. And for anyone finding this blog for the first time, welcome to our wonderful world of shoes.

We have joined Instagram and it's fun! Here is a shot I posted today. Quite proud of it. Amazing what you can do on a phone.


Our username is carreducker, so check it out. We have already found old friends and some shoemakers new to us.

Our Pattern Making Course starts on Monday which is exciting. Our first one. Five full days with Fiona Campbell. She has extensive experience in all aspects of West End bespoke shoemaking with James Taylor and the exclusive West End Master Boot Makers Society. She is a footwear consultant; lecturer at the Victoria and Albert Museum; and tutor at Cordwainers College (now the London College of Fashion). So she knows her stuff. Students will be learning all aspects of pattern making for bespoke shoemaking and will make patterns for 3 styles during the week. A Derby, Oxford and a court shoe.

Will report back next week as to how it went.

And so to glues. The last one we use is rubber solution. It is used in the same way as the contact cement in that you must put a thin layer on both surfaces to be bonded. You let it dry to a tacky feel and then pressure the two surfaces together.

The big difference is its strength. While it achieves a strong bond, it is not as strong as the contact adhesive. So if you are gluing something you want to last but may want to take apart again, use rubber solution.
Originally it used to be made from natural rubber. I have no idea whether it is nowadays, but it seems slightly less toxic that the contact adhesive (I may be wrong on that!)

We use this Renia product which we find pretty good.


We were taught at Lobb to use it for attaching the sole prior to stitching it, principally to help the repairer at the time of resoling. We have moved to using the contact cement because it is stronger and we don't mind the shank and filler coming out when we take the shoes apart.

So that leaves not much else to use it for. Mostly we use it to put socks in. It's good for this because you can put a big dollop on the insole and some more on the sock, and, without letting dry at all, put it in place and then move it around until you have found the perfect spot for the sock. Then the glue dries in place.
It also means the sock is easy to replace.

One really good feature of both the rubber solution and the contact adhesive is that if you get it on the uppers of a shoe you are making, it just rubs off with your finger without marking the leather. And in tough to reach places you can use a bit of insole/sole/heel leather to remove it.

And that is about it for glues. Any of you have any alternatives? Would love to hear from you. I know there are recipes for paste out there. Anyone tried them?

Until next week, happy shoemaking!

PS one use of the contact adhesive we didn't mention last week was closing down the channel on the sole after stitching.

4 comments:

Henry Udemba said...

hi i am a new shoe maker, i specialized in ladies high heel. presently i have a challenge in finding the right glue to gum the upper shoe to the leather sole. i will like to ask what GLUE DO SHOE MAKERS USE IN ATTACHING THE UPPER TO THE SOLE

jimmyshoe said...

Hello Henry, we do not glue our soles on, we stitch them. But if you are making cemented shoes you need to use a strong contact adhesive/neoprene glue. There is a blog post about it a few weeks ago called Glue 2. Best, jimmyshoe

Kotryna Žvirblė said...

Hi, is it rubber itself or is it glue? Does it stink much?

jimmyshoe said...

It is a rubber based glue. Less strong than contact adhesive and a little less toxic. It does smell strongly. Best, James