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Shoe making tools and materials

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi, guys, need your help. I am a big fan of shoes and I am starting to learn making shoes. Now I want to buy some tools and materials like fine calfskin, metal equipments and chemical colours/dyes. Anyone knows where can I find these and do they sell with small quantity? Are there shops in London, Northampton and Hongkong? Thanks.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Nobody helps??
post #3 of 10
Something tells me quality tools/supplies are becoming harder to come by and folks aren't going to be willing to reveal their sources. Purely a guess, but I bet a good one.
post #4 of 10
I don't know what you need, but you can find most of the tool at Woodware Repetitions Ltd, Sheffield, England. tel: 0114 272 6060
post #5 of 10
Shoemaking supplies generally isn't a retail business. Therefore, you need to contact wholesalers or convince cobblers to sell you shoemaking equipment.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys who replied. Anyone knows where can I buy top quality calfskin, do they retail with small quantity?
post #7 of 10
You don't say where you are but Woodware Repetitions took over from Geo. Barnsley in Sheffield and Geo. Barnsley had been the primary "grindery" for well over a century. Barnsley had created a great many of the molds used to make tools such as bulldog pincers, etc.. Seems there was a family feud and when Geo. Barnsley began the process of liquidating, they destroyed most of those molds rather than see them pass on to another branch of the family. Recreating them is cost prohibitive in this day and age. There are some manufacturers of good tools in Germany but I don't know of a single grindery by name (there must be)...but I have bought from Goetz in Goeppingen, and they wholesale most everything including leather, rubber and tools. My advice is to not only haunt Ebay for good used tools (and don't get started using "craft" tools ) but also to just talk to other shoe and bootmakers. To that end there is a web based discussion forum that was created specifically for bespoke boot and shoemakers. It is the Crispin Colloquy and can be found here. The Crispin Colloquy is sponsored by the only shoemaking related Trade Guild in the US, the Honourable Cordwainers' Company--a 501 C-3 tax exempt non-profit educational organization--endorsed by the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, one of the oldest shoemaking guilds in England. On this discussion forum you can find out most of what you want to know regarding techniques, history, sources for leather and tools, from some of the best in the world. Finally, there is a book that can guide you through the mysteries of tools--the Dictionary of Leatherworking Tools c. 1700-1950, by R.A. Salaman, Allen and Unwin, 1986. It may be available used but I believe it was reprinted several years ago.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
DWFII: thanks, very helpful for tools. But I am still looking for suppliers of fine calf and dyes for leather soles, do you have info for these dealers? Many thanks indeed.
post #9 of 10
This site has links to suppliers of tools and hides.
post #10 of 10
Originally Posted by supershoefan View Post
DWFII: thanks, very helpful for tools. But I am still looking for suppliers of fine calf and dyes for leather soles, do you have info for these dealers? Many thanks indeed.
Ask over on the Crispin Colloquy. I'm the webmaster over there. Someone or perhaps several someone's will point you to some sources. I might add that there's fine calf and then there's fine calf...and then there's "other" calf. Sometimes it depends on what the end purpose is. I use a very fine French calf for certain types of boots and maybe another kind...with a whole different finish and temper...for shoes that need gimping and broguing. Tannage has a lot to do with it, too. Also it really depends on where you're at. Very few suppliers here in the states are willing or able to import the kinds of leather that are common in Europe. That's not to say that what we get domestically is necessarily better or worse but certainly different, usually. To get around that members of the Crispin Colloquy will occasionally get up a buyer's consortium and purchase in bulk. Since we are a non-profit no one is making a dime over cost. Dyes are almost a moot issue. If you're really in a hurry, find the nearest shoe repair shop in your area and ask him where he's buying supplies--like dyes and rubber and nails and cements and even outsoling. You'll pay a little more than if you establish yourself with producers as a legitimate manufacturer, but you'll get lots better quality than if you buy at "leathercraft" stores.
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