I would also like to remind those reading this thread that oak barked tanned soles, soaked for approx. 9 months are readily available from your local reputable cobbler.
That doesn't mean everybody here has access to them.
Woodworking has long been a hobby of mine. If I am building a cabinet or something like a bookcase I use ply and cover the edges with veneer. After it is stained and finished it's nearly impossible to tell the difference. I do the same if the exposed edges are going to be covered with molding. For more elaborate furniture where the edges are going to be exposed -or- I will be using a router I use solid stock maple, oak, birch. whatever. I don't see the point in wasting the...
Here is a photo of a heel base taken in the shop today of a John Lobb. The top-lift is pre-attached by the factory. I marked the heights in regard to the heel breast area and outer portion of the heel.
Actually if you use cotton or flannel bags they will help keep the dust off of them and protect your shoes from being scratched. Those materials also breathe and will not trap -or- allow moisture to build up.
Then it would be my guess that you rarely if ever had a customer complain after you re-balanced a shoe without the original last.
Maybe all of the shoe repair supply houses in the contry should be notified not to sell bases because without the original last they are useless.
I really don't care to engage in another round of shoe warfare.....But can you tell us how accurate your guessing ability is/was? My guess is with a simple thing like this it should be near 100%.I know my Guy's are pretty close to that mark.