Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 10 December 2010

Lasting 2

Another week, another welt. Our event last Saturday at Wolf and Badger was fun. Josh and the gang had done a special window display with a gift wrapped dino and our lovely Winkers. We displayed our new tweeds and had a small demonstration of our bespoke shoes. The event was helped on its way by mince pies and whiskey macs (mmm!). But the icing on the cake was the performances of the delightful Liberty Belles, two gorgeous retro hillbilly barmaids  pickin bluegrass and old time tunes to the passing shoppers. It became a bit of a knees up (or is that a ho down?). Excellent!
The prize draw (a pair of Winkers) was won by the delightful Hermione who had entered because she wanted to give some shoes to her dad for Christmas but had tired of pestering her mum for the money. Enterprising girl.

Now, back to lasting. I left you last week with the heel part up to the waist lasted down and trimmed (and looking neat and tidy I hope). This week we are going to look at the fore part. This involves putting on the toe puff and lasting over the upper.

The first thing to do is take out all the nails at the front and last over the lining. Peel the upper back to the facings and then start lasting. Pull at the centre on the toe and put in one nail. Not too tight.  Then put one nail in to the side, then 2 on the other side. Again, you have to pull and create a pleat of leather between each nail. Continue back to the waist.

Next you trim the lining close to the nails and bang them down. Before doing this you might like to try putting some paste between the insole and lining. This keeps the layers together when you are welting.
By the way, aim to put the nails into the centre of the holdfast/feather.

Now comes the toe puff. This should be mellow. This means soaked in water and about 80% dry, so that you can work it easily.
On the lining, on the top of the shoe, mark a point 2 1/2" from the feather edge. This is where the toe puff will end. If you make it too long, it will dig into the toes when the foot flexes. Put paste all over the lining in this part and place the toe puff on it with the straight edge on the line you have marked. Put 2 nails as shown in the  picture. This keeps the toe puff in place while you last it.

Now start lasting the toe puff, as you did with the lining, put one nail at the front and work bakwards along each side. Make sure you flatten out all the pleats, by putting more nails in as required. Go to the end of the toe puff. The object is to get it as flat as possible. You can use the French shape hammer to help with this. Tap gently.

Before you hammer down the nails, trim the toe puff close as shown in the picture. And make sure you take out the nails from the lining which are underneath the toe puff. Hammer down the nails.

At this point you have to let the toe puff dry. This takes a while so it seems an obvious place to take a break. Next week will be Lasting 3, where we take you to the end of the process. Gripping, eh?

So, until then, happy shoemaking!

PS we have just passed 30,000 hits on the blog which is amazing. So a massive thank you to all of you loyal readers

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