Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 1 April 2016

Personalised Training With Carreducker

Hello again, dear shoemaking folk. We hope you have had a good week.

We at Carreducker Mansions are in the middle of preparations for our second Kickstarter campaign, this time for a stitch down desert boot, the Barkan. It's really exciting - we have finalised the design; nearly finished the sampling; filmed the piece to camera bit for the film; and are going to Suffolk tomorrow to film in the factory - really looking forward to that.
And speaking of Kickstarter, our Carreducker London online shop is now open where you can buy Winkers Resort Shoes. The Barkan Desert Boots will be added later in the year, followed by a work boot, sneaker and cycle shoe.

Here is the sneakiest of peeks of what we are doing - these two are in veg tanned calf with natural crepe soles. We are also doing suedes and nubucks

We will post more of this as the campaign develops

As well as our scheduled shoemaking classes and courses, we also offer one to one training for individuals who want a more flexible timetable. So throughout the year we get individuals who come to the workshop and make shoes with us on a one to one basis

Yesterday we started with Tetsuro, a Japanese masters student studying Service Design at the Royal College of Art. He will be going home in July, but wanted to learn shoemaking before he left, so we have devised a  personalised study programme for him. He will come to us 1 day a week over the next 12 weeks and make his shoes

Yesterday, we started with knife sharpening - the most important skill in the shoemakers arsenal probably

Using the stop to sharpen the knife

Then we moved onto skiving toe puffs and stiffeners

Skiving on a glass skiving board

Indication of what to skive

We also blocked the insole, so after soaking it for an hour, he cut it in half (a true test of knife sharpness).

And secured the insole with 4 nails into the lasts

Once he had trimmed off the excess leather, he nailed the edges down so the insole took the contour of the underside of the last. This is then left to dry so that the next time he comes, it will be ready to prepare the holdfast/feather on the insole.

And to finish off, a little more skiving

Next week is tricky for him, so we have scheduled the next session for the week after. This is the beauty of this way of working with us - flexibility.

We have another student coming in June who will do the 12 days consecutively as she is coming from Austria and wants to condense it into the shortest time possible. She is doing 1 to 1 training with us because the scheduled classes are at inconvenient times for her work.

So if you want to come to make shoes with us and our courses don't suit your schedule, get in touch and we can organise your own personal training programme with us - email us at

We can also offer longer training periods if that is what the student wants - plenty of room in this workshop

We have also tried out the sole stamp we posted last week - love it.

And that is about it for this week, so, until the next time, happy shoemaking!