Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 1 July 2011

A good 'awl'!

So with Mr Ducker tanned and relaxed and safely back at the shoemaking bench, I have a little more time to show you how to tackle those ever-shrinking waists!

In a recent post, James showed you how to really bring in the scoop of the waist so that you end up with a lovely narrow waist on the sole. But as I mentioned last week, getting a good curve on your welting awl is all-important to stitch the bevel waist at that point.

Here is an example of my usual welting awl and my new small but perfectly curved waist awl. As you can see the lower awl has a much tighter bend on it, which allows me to scoop right in at the waist, especially on the inside waist where the curve of the last is much steeper anyway. How did I do it? A hot flame and some significant breath holding!
Heat your awl blade over your burner until it blackens. Now using a pair of pliers hold a good length of the end of the awl and gently - VERY gently - apply pressure to it to bend it. The rule here is a little at a time. Keep putting it into the flame and as you apply pressure you will see it gradually begin to curve.
Top tips are: don't hold it to close to the end of the awl or it will snap; don't bend it too hard or it will snap; don't bend it when it is cool or it will get the picture a little at a time.

But it is worth the effort because it makes stitching those beautifully curved bevel waists so much easier!

Short and sweet this week. Pictures of a certain someone's holidays from the South of France next week no doubt (yawn yawn) possibly interspersed with a little shoemaking...

until then have a great weekend, happy bending and happy shoemaking!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Blowing our own trumpets

Apologies blog-fans Mr Ducker may be off lounging by a pool in the south of France for a few days - so no there won't be any shoemaking posts this week I am afraid...I've been just too busy getting shoes ready for fittings and finished for customers...

but we are still basking in the glow of our recent Balvenie Masters of Craft award win. You may have spotted a certain Other One in the Life section of the Sunday Telegraph recently?A great day to see British craftsmanship being recognised....

and we wanted to share one of our books with you showing what some of the fuss was about!

Normal service will resume later this week, when you can look forward to a post on tool making. After Mr Ducker's recent posts on creating a beautifully slim and curved waist I'll be giving you some top tips on making an especially curved awl to get into that troublesome inside waist! A necessity for the wedding shoes I welted last week!

Happy shoemaking and try not to think of Mr Ducker in the sun - I am!!