Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 5 August 2016

Intensive Shoemaking Class - August 2016

Hello again to one and all. Another milestone reached - we have hit 1 million all time page views! Amazing. Thank you so much to all of you who have read the blog, old timers and newbies. We hope you keep reading and supporting us

This week we have been flat out with our summer Intensive Shoemaking Course. We have 7 eager students from all over the world here to make a pair of hand welted shoes

Day 1 starts with sharpening their knives - very important!!!

And then moves on to skiving toe puffs and stiffeners

Hand skiving a stiffener


Hand skiving a toe puff

Explaining skiving


After a good skiving session, they moved onto blocking the insole. After soaking it for 1 hour and letting it dry out to about 80% dry, they attached the insoles to the lasts and blocked them to the unsderside.


Cutting out an insole

Blocked insoles drying


Day 2 was spent preparing the insole.

After it had dried completely, they trimmed the edges and started to prepare the holdfast or feather.


Marking out the holdfast/feather

Boning the holdfast


Day 3 was lasting - pulling the upper over the last with the stiffeners and toe puffs between the lining and the uppers.



Toe puffs drying



Days 4 and 5 were dedicated to welting by hand - the epitome of English shoemaking. This is a challenge but our intrepid students tackled it with great patience and enthusiasm

First they prepared the welts themselves




And then the welting started

Hand stitching the welt

Hand stitching the welt


Tomorrow will see them putting in shanks and cork filler and then attaching their soles. This is the half way point on the course so they get a well deserved Sunday off, but come Monday, they will be up and at it again stitching their soles, building heels and finishing

Onwards and upwards

We have finalised dates for next year's classes and will be publishing them soon on the website

Until next week, happy shoemaking!