Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 10 August 2012

Holdfast/Feather And Welting Around The Heel

Hello shoe people. How are you all? A wonderful, uplifting week of Olympic endeavour has left me  very happy and full of energy. I even found myself pretending to be Bradley Wiggins winning the road race as I cycled home the other night. How old are you, Ducker? I know, it's slightly embarrassing but it's fun and the little bit of the boy that I once was is still inside me somewhere. Let out the inner child!

I'll have to be careful though when it comes to shoemaking - I'll make Ronald McDonald clown shoes if I'm not careful.

We have an intensive shoemaking course starting next week. And to those who saw the last post, we found a replacement which is fantastic. Up to the maximum number of 7 again. Looking forward to meeting the new students. Game on.

And so to shoemaking. I was recently asked about making the holdfast/feather and the intricacies of this process. It is an absolutely essential part of the shoe. If it is weak, the whole shoe will fail and fall apart. I can't stress how important it is to the strength and durability of the shoes.

So, you have trimmed the insole and are ready to start the holdfast.

I mark it with a pen. The distances I am going to give are quite personal and you will have to experiment a bit. A lot of this depends on the welting awl that you have. More specifically the curve on the awl.

But as a general rule, this should work.

If you go to this link, there are 3 consecutive posts which take you through the general ways to mark the lines to get to this stage. This is for a square waist, so the waist is less pulled in than on a bevelled waist.

The bit I was asked about is the bit round the heel. On most shoes I do this. There are other techniques but not often used by us.

Notice only the second line is drawn.

Square waist - only pull the holdfast in a bit. But make sure there is a curve on the outside waist too. This makes it easier to  make a handsome looking heel shape. Square waisted shoes can tend to have ugly heels with the breast wider than the rest of the heel. So pull the waist in on both sides.

Sorry these pics are in the wrong order, but it all makes sense (in my muddled little head at least).

Cut with just the tip of your knife. Straight up, about 2mm deep.

Wet it.

Open with a screwdriver.

Should look like this.

Cut with feathering knife. Or with your knife.

Should look like this.

Skive the waists down because otherwise, you will get an ugly step on the waist when you last the uppers.

45 degree angle on the knife for the second cut.

 Wet again and open with the screwdriver.

Cut with the knife. At about 30 degrees.

 Should look like this. It's the bit at the heel I am particularly focussing on next week. All will be revealed.

Have a great week shoe folk. And think of me as I will be bereft after Saturday.

Until next week, happy shoemaking.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

1 Place on Course Starting Monday 13th August

Very late notice, but we have had a last minute cancellation on our 2 week intensive shoemaking course starting on Monday, 13th of August in London

Could any of you fill that space? Great opportunity to learn handsewn shoemaking.

Please email or call if you are interested

020 7813 0093

020 7432 6428