Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Intensive Shoemaking Course January 14 - Days 5 and 6

Welcome to days five and six of the carréducker Intensive Shoemaking Course.

Day five saw all our students furiously welting their shoes - and very successful they were too.

 Welting round the toe is probably the hardest bit.

After welting, they trimmed the excess upper leather and beat the welt. This compresses it and makes it straight, at 90 degrees to the upper.

Day six started with leather shanks being cut out and skived.

A good trick is to use some chalk to mark the area, press it onto the shank leather and cut it out from there - works every time.

We skive them initially as in the picture above, then we glue them in with contact cement. Once in place, they continued to shape them to make a nice, gentle curve in the waist.

In the fore part we filled it with cork sheeting which we shaped with a rasp.

Once the shanks were in and the fore parts filled, they prepared their soles. These had been soaked and mellowed ready for action.
They were trimmed and glued.

They also made threads in preparation for stitching the soles on Monday.

Sunday will be a well earned day of rest. I suggested they have an early night and don't set the alarm, but I'm not sure all of them will listen to teacher in this instance!

More on Tuesday, with a report on days seven and eight.

Half way through already!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Intensive Shoemaking Course - January 2014, Days 3 and 4

So here we are in Days 3 and 4 of the carréducker Intensive Shoemaking Course.

Yesterday the students spent the day hand lasting their uppers, doing the stiffener first and then the toe puff. They dried overnight and were shaped this morning.

Lasting the fore part before pulling down the back

Checking the heights around the heel

Lasting the fore part before pulling down the back

Lasting the back down with the stiffener in place

The students hard at work

Shaping the toe puff with a rasp, specifically sharpening up the feather edge

"Are they a pair?" We ask that question a lot

Lasting the fore part

Today saw us starting the welting. After shaping the toe puffs and lasting down the uppers over the toes we started the thread making. We use hemp yarn and twist the cords together to make the welting thread. We also make our own waxes to preserve the thread. We attached the bristles using tar and got started. Everyone's favourite job!

Lasting round the toe is always fun

So there you go. Today flew past which means we were busy and engaged - a good day!

More on Saturday

Until then, happy shoemaking!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Year shoemaking course

Happy New Year dear followers and shoe fans!

Not ones to sit back on our laurels we've started 2014 with a cracking intensive shoemaking course and six keen students. 

It's only day two and already the aches and pains are setting in....little do they know what is to come...but they are a great, enthusiastic and very focused bunch, so we have high expectations.

So far, insoles have been blocked...

Knives sharpened; puffs and stiffs skived and glassed...

Insoles trimmed and holdfasts made....

A new group of students has re-awakened our search for the perfect apron. As you may remember FOG linen aprons and Muji denim aprons are favourites, (but seemingly out of stock across Europe) and we think our friend Jesse in New York may have it cracked, although we have yet to see any pics. In the mean time, with each course, we're inspired by aprons borrowed from the kitchen, younger family members or designed and self-made.  

Two favourites from our January group are:- 

This beauty in blue leather grain apron with leather neck strap and tassel ties...

And this sturdy, hand stitched canvas and hide apron with metal clasp fastenings and pockets.

With uppers laced tight, the students are all set for days 3 & 4...

We'll let you know how they get on.