Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 21 January 2011

Spade Welt 2

Right, here we are again. Week two of the carreducker shoemaking course is nearing its end. The Other One is reporting good progress, but I have no proof as yet. I suppose that when I go in on Saturday, I will find out. I am looking forward to seeing how they have got on. My lovely students!

As a result of the course, I have been ousted from Bloomsbury and have settled myself into Gieves and Hawkes for the week. It has been interesting seeing the daily running of the shop from closer quarters. Normally I am here for two days, then do not return for a while.

They have installed a shoe shine service with a very excellent practitioner. He learned his skills in Italy and produces an immaculate high gloss military shine for an exceptionally reasonable £20, considering that it can be up to three hours work to achieve the best results.
There is also a quicker shine for £10 for those who cannot wait.
We have sneaked him a few pairs of ours to shine and the results are brilliant (excuse the pun). It's like having a new collection of sample shoes.

Now, back to all things bespoke shoe. A couple of weeks ago I started showing you a spade welt and had left the shoes ready to welt. Once you have welted them, you are ready to trim the welt to size. This is where the spade part comes in. I like to trim a close welt apart from the toe and the waists. You must draw on a pleasing curve which can be quite tricky. I always end up with a very thick pen line. If this happens, you must mentally pick where you are going to cut and then go for it.

This is where you throw out the curve on the waist. Both sides of course.

Push the line out on the toe too.

The idea is that you barely see the close welt apart from at the waists where it curves out and back under quite quickly.

This is the welted shoe. Seen from below, you can see why we call it a spade welt. It is very striking. And it is the sort of thing you only really see on a bespoke shoe. It is these kinds of details which stand bespoke shoes apart from what you can buy off the peg.

I am going to finish them today, so will post up some shots of the finished shoes. I am hoping they are going to look great. Fingers crossed. It's funny, until you have rasped and finished the shoes, you never quite know whether they are going to be absolutely gorgeous or simply rather lovely. You will be able to judge for yourselves next time.

So, until next week, happy shoemaking!