Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 18 March 2011

Strengthening The Toe 2

Another week in shoeland. It has been a good one.
This week we received a few copies of a new book called 'Significant Figures In Art and Craft Today'. This lovely picture laden book is a cross section of craftspeople in the UK and is the brainchild of Derek Reay who has visited every craft included in the book and taken a portrait of each craftsperson and some shots of their workspace. The crafts move from clock maker to lace maker; stone carver to flint knapper; gilder to cooper. And, of course, little old us, The Other One and I, the shoemakers. Fantastic. It is a great feeling to be included in this wonderful book.

The Foreword for the book is by David Linley and it accompanies a touring exhibition of David's photos this summer across the country:

June: High Wycombe
July: Leeds
August: Bath
September: London (Chelsea)
October: St Ives / Redruth / Cambridge
November: Winchester
December: Leominster

Highly recommended and all proceeds go to Diabetes UK so it is also for a very good cause. The book costs £25 and can be ordered from Waterstones or from Derek directly if you email him via his website.

Phase 2 of the Gieves and Hawkes refurb is now complete. The front of Number 1 is looking amazing! Intense colours, great wallpapers and the attention to detail we at carréducker love. It's taking shape as the perfect space for the contemporary English gent. You can really see the vision coming through and when the map room is completed, it is going to look fantastic. Roll on April, I say.

Cool, huh?

Last week's post about strengthening the welt at the toe caused some discussion and we got some good feedback.
Emili from Spain sent a picture of his method of inserting a piece of thread into the inside of the stitches to add strength. This was something we used to do when I was making in Barcelona and works very well. Thank you for that Emili. We are always pleased to get stuff like this from our readers, so if you have a useful method relevant to what I am posting about, then please send it in.

Further to this, I was reminded of doing my apprenticeship with Paul Wilson of John Lobb because he had a similar method which is an elegant solution because it uses a waste piece of leather which is always to hand when you are welting (unless you use pre bought welt).
When you prepare the welt and you bevel one edge to sit flush with the feather edge, save a strip of this leather.

When you are welting and get to the toe, cut a strip of this to fit the toe and place it between the thread and the welt, like Emili's solution above.

Welt as normal, making sure the leather strip is trapped in the stitch.

Pull the stitch tight.

Continue round the toe and cut off any excess leather. It should look like this and it will definitely stop any stitches pulling through.

Any of these methods will work and you will have to experiment and see which one you like. I use the knot method but am willing to admit that the alternatives are also fine. There are many ways to skin a cat! What an odd expression, I would never want to skin a cat. Except maybe to line some winter boots...

So, fellow shoemakers, I hope you have a good week and let me know if you have any shoemaking revelations or mishaps even. Remember, you have to make mistakes as well if you want to get better. This process never stops - I am still improving, refining, experimenting and, yes, messing things up every now and then. I am just very good at hiding it!

Until next week, happy shoemaking

Monday, 14 March 2011

In The Fishbowl With Carreducker

We've had many visitors to the Goldfish Bowl. Most recently, Mr Pulvirent of Men's Flair fame - In The Fishbowl With Carreducker - Great to meet you Mr Pulvirent!