Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 12 October 2018

12 Day Shoemaking Course - Week 2

Welcome back, dear readers. We know you are hungering to hear what has happened to our intrepid students on the Carreducker 12-Day Shoe Making Course. So here is a summary of what they have been up to.

We left them welting which they all tackled with enthusiasm. So next came shanks and cork which were glued in and shaped with the knife.

Shanks being shaped

And next came the cork which was rasped and shaped to a gentle dome.

The sole came next - they cut it out from the mellow leather and hammered it for longevity. Then it was glued in place prior to stitching.

They also made threads and put bristles on.

Smoothing the sole

Attaching soles and making bristles

Before stitching, they cut a channel to hide the stitches and created a groove for them to sit in.

And so to  stitching...

Closing down the channel with the sleeking bone

So, with the sole stitched on, we came to heel building with the split lift coming first. We make this from scratch and attach it with paste and nails.

Trimming the split lift/rand

On top of the split lift come 2 full lifts which are attached with paste and nails, followed by shaping with the knife.

Heel building is a challenging process and it is very important that the heels sit flat on the ground when they are finished, so a lot of time is spent skiving them flat and balancing them on the glass skiving board.

Another important part of heel building is peening which closes all the gaps between the heel lifts. We use the French hammer for this job.

The last stage of the heel building is to put on the top piece which has a quarter rubber for durability. At this stage, the shoes are structurally finished, but there is the finishing to do to make them look smart.

This starts with rasping.

And glassing.

On this course we had a student, Deb, who was making her shoes on a bespoke last with a higher heel, so her job was a bit tougher. But she did a great job.

Rasping those higher heels.

With 2 days left, they will be sanding, setting the edges and pulling the lasts. This will be followed by socking and polishing. We will show you pictures of the finished shoes next week.

Until then, happy shoemaking!