Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Thursday, 16 May 2013

New York Intensive Shoemaking Course - Day 9

Yesterday we broke the back of stitching the soles and a couple of students finished it at home, so we started day 9 building heels. 

First off was the split lift or rand, a thin piece of heel leather attached in a horse shoe shape around the heel.

Then came the lifts which are attached one by one with nails and paste. Each time the heel is skived flat, trimmed and peened with the French shape hammer. This closes up any gaps in the lifts.

Here are a few pics of today's proceedings.

We will continue with the heels tomorrow and hopefully finish them.

Until next time, happy shoemaking

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

New York Intensive Shoemaking Course - Week 2, Day 7

So, week two starts with a new teacher and our students rested and relaxed after their one day off in 12. Lets hope they all had an easy, stress free day.

Deborah left yesterday and I am here and raring to go.

Today saw the start of stitching on the soles. After gluing them on, trimming them to the welt and making three cord threads, they cut the dreaded channel, a flap of leather which hides the stitches on the underside of the sole. There are different ways to do this but we use the English way (the best, obviously) which involves cutting it right on the edge off the sole. Much cleaner and more invisible in my opinion. After this, they selected their chosen fudge wheel to mark the stitches and got under way. 

Stitching The Sole
Stitching The Sole 2

After one broken awl, the lesson of not twisting, wriggling or bending a square awl was well and truly learnt. No more breakages we hope!

Tomorrow will see us continuing with the soles. Good luck to all of them.
Untimely the next time, happy shoemaking.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

New York intensive course - week 1 final day

This week has flown! The pace of the first few days has settled down and anyone feeling a little too confident has had that knocked out of them by welting.  It has helped to level the playing field!

Collateral damage - a broken knife, two broken awls...

Scuffed knuckles

worn out fingers...

and blisters galore!

Everyone is pretending not to be competitive but it would not be human nature if there wasn't a little jockeying for position. Von and Kevin who fought with their  knives earlier on seem better suited to the awl; Celia and Wylie had thread troubles initially so slowed up and Nima is buoyed by Chelsea's performance so let's hope they play well next week!!!

The Ferguson dance of joy!

Anyway, James arrived yesterday for some holiday time with his brother and family and will take over class on Monday. The students get a well-deserved day of rest (and icing sore hands) on Sunday.

And I'm back with our evening class on Monday night. I must remember that it's not an intensive course and relax the pace :)

A massive thank you to Jesse as always for hosting us and to our other shoemaking buddy out here, Marika.

More news from the Big Apple next week but until then a few final snapshots of New York