Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 15 November 2013

Repairing Old Shoes 2

And here we are again. Friday morning and it's blog time, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back one and all.

Last Saturday we were featured in Small Business Saturday which is set up by Amex to champion small businesses throughout the UK and to encourage people to spend their money with small companies. Because we are the backbone of the economy after all.

Last week's cliffhanger was our old pair of shoes that needed a re-sole and general service. We left you with the sole stitched on and the heel left to build.

And this is how you do it.

You have the sole attached.

And so to the heel.

You might need to skive it flat, it depends. Just look to see if there is doming on the sole. Don't skive in front of your heel marks.

Rebuilding the heel should now be easy because you saved the lifts form the original heel which should all be skived and fit properly.

Using paste and nails, reposition the split lift/rand.

Then reposition the heel lifts in the order that you took them off and facing the right way. Use paste and nails.

We put nails only in the last lift to make the shoes lighter, but you can put them in each lift if you prefer. Try to line up the lifts as closely to their original position as you can so that the heel stays the same shape.

Check whether the heel is flat. You might need to skive it a little but it should be ok. Then attach the top pieces with either neoprene and nails or paste and nails. It's up to you.

Trim any excess of the heel edge with your knife and also do the same on the sole edges.

Now you need to start the finishing. Firstly, rasp the heel and the sole edges.

Then wet and glass both areas.

Sand using 80, 120 paper.

We like to ink at this point to get good penetration into the leather.

Edges too. And the stitching on the welt.

Lastly we use the 240 grit paper on wet leather and in only one direction to get a really smooth finish.

Set the edges with your edge iron.

Glass and sand the sole and top piece. We use 120 and 240 to get a nice peachy finish.

Ink everything again if you are doing a black finish as with these shoes.

Burnish the sole and top piece by applying a layer of polish and then passing a warm heel iron over it. Hot enough to touch comfortably. If you do it too hot it will make marks which are hard to get rid of. This seals the polish and stops it rubbing off on white carpets. In theory.

The go over it with 3 layers of polish which you buff off in between each one. Rub hard to get rid of the burnishing marks. It should be smooth and shiny.

Apply some wax to the heel and edges to get a shiny finish. Burnish with a heel iron and the edge iron you used to set the edges. You will have to rub really hard with a flannel or cloth to remove most of the wax. But it will look lovely.

 These shoes could now be polished and given back to the customer, but this customer has toe plates, so next week we will show you how to do those.

Until then, happy shoemaking!