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what makes a good shoe and why they cost so much - Page 8

post #106 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post
... the patient with blood dribbling down his face onto his chest and all over his clothes and the floor, clutching his fifth blood-soaked rag to his nose, deadpanned: "now that's something you don't see everyday!"


can't top(y) that!
post #107 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by apropos View Post
My medical team got a urgent page about a patient that had what the paging nurse called an 'unstoppable nosebleed' that had lost maybe 1+litres of blood.

We rushed to the patients bedside, where there was a fair amount of blood on the floor. Like a scene out of a bad comedy, my feet stopped moving, and maintaining my balance throughout I slid nearly 2 metres over the split blood into the wall while the entire room (1 other doctor, 3 nurses, the patient, 2 of his relatives) feel silent and watched.

With precise comedic timing, the patient with blood dribbling down his face onto his chest and all over his clothes and the floor, clutching his fifth blood-soaked rag to his nose, deadpanned: "now that's something you don't see everyday!"

I got topys put on that pair of shoes the very same day.


Wow. I could never ever wear those shoes again.
post #108 of 232
Great info in this thread. DF, about how much time does it take you to make a shoe? Just a ballpark, say for any of the shoes you posted in the beginning of the thread. What is your pricerange - on your site you say "serious inquiries" but without knowing if these are $1k, $3k, $5k etc how can I or anyone else know? Obviously there is a range from the most simple shoe to a full exotic leather boot but I, and other members here, are certainly curious if for nothing else than to appreciate the costs of bespoke footwear.

Beautiful work (love the full Wellington in the other thread) and hope you will continue on here with insightful posts.
post #109 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icehawk View Post
Great info in this thread. DF, about how much time does it take you to make a shoe? Just a ballpark, say for any of the shoes you posted in the beginning of the thread. Beautiful work (love the full Wellington in the other thread) and hope you will continue on here with insightful posts.
Thanks IceHawk. I regret to say that I make it a policy to not quote prices in public postings. If you want to PM me, I will be glad to provide you with starting prices and any additional information you may desire. There is no other reason for this than that I don't wish to make suspect my motives for sharing my perspectives with members here. I have a driving impulse to protect and preserve the skills and traditions of the Trade and posting on forums where high quality shoes, and particularly bespoke work, has the potential to be appreciated is just one tool for doing that.
post #110 of 232
D.W.
as always your posts are interesting reading and I wish I could write in English as good as you do:-)

Anyway, here's two links to some shoe history which might add something to this thread.
http://www.archive.org/details/story_of_shoes_1
http://www.archive.org/details/story_of_shoes_2

These films are from the time when factories made excellent footwear, of which some factories still does today.

I wouldn't mind having some of the machines in my shop if I only had space. I have over the years been using most of them but I had to get rid of them because the shop I have today is to small. The last one I sold was an old USM inseaming machine a couple of years ago. My experience is that if the machines have the same good material to work with as in the bespoke business and with good craftsmen the result will be a good shoe worth it's money.
post #111 of 232
Thanks all for the different perspectives on topying.
post #112 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by janne melkersson View Post
D.W. as always your posts are interesting reading and I wish I could write in English as good as you do:-) Anyway, here's two links to some shoe history which might add something to this thread. http://www.archive.org/details/story_of_shoes_1 http://www.archive.org/details/story_of_shoes_2 These films are from the time when factories made excellent footwear, of which some factories still does today. I wouldn't mind having some of the machines in my shop if I only had space. I have over the years been using most of them but I had to get rid of them because the shop I have today is to small. The last one I sold was an old USM inseaming machine a couple of years ago. My experience is that if the machines have the same good material to work with as in the bespoke business and with good craftsmen the result will be a good shoe worth it's money.
Janne, I wish I could speak Swedish 1/10th as well as you can speak English. Thanks for the links. I am away from my computer for the next week or so, and will not be able to look at them until I can get back to Oregon.
post #113 of 232
I found this blog post which supports your take on Blake. In defence of Blake construction http://permanentstyle.blogspot.com/2...struction.html
post #114 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poorsod View Post
I found this blog post which supports your take on Blake. In defence of Blake construction http://permanentstyle.blogspot.com/2...struction.html
Thank you for that post. I agree with much of what I read on that site about blake and blake/rapid. I guess the thing that stands out which I don't agree with, is the assertion that goodyear welted will be heavier than blake/rapid. All things being equal I don't see how that could possibly be true unless a reall insole is omitted from the b/r and a sock liner/insole or synthetic insole substituted
post #115 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Several points for your further contemplation:[list]
[*] The Antikythera Mechanism--an ancient computer of extraordinary complexity--was built entirely by hand and by eye. A feat equal to or surpassing the most intricate work done in the Seiko.

This was from the shoe porn thread, and the conversation moved here.

I think the Antikythera Mechanism is a truly wonderful survival from Hellenic Greece, but to be fair- the level of workmanship in the device is equivalent to that of 1500's European clockmakers. The level of understanding behind it, as an analogue computer of planetary motions, was more like 1700's Europe. It is stunning, but it isn't magical.

Likewise the Incan stonework at Machu Picchu. That just took subservient population with a long tradition of stone work.

Quote:
What do machines really add to our lives except to provide the illusion that we have more time than god or nature has alloted us?

Hyperbole to make a point, I imagine. The two things that leap to my mind are the end of slavery and peasantry, and the rise of a mass middle class that has enough resources to send their children to school. Not to mention leisure time.

Much more interesting is the argument that one can replace the role of machine made mass production in the rise and support of a middle class with something resembling mass artisanal production. Production of items with enough of the soul of the producer in it to be artisan work, cheaply made enough for the middle class to purchase, worth enough that those who make the artifacts can make a middle class living doing it. It is something to aspire to while we transform manufacturing to decrease the carbon dioxide loading of the atmosphere.
post #116 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james_timothy View Post
This was from the shoe porn thread, and the conversation moved here. I think the Antikythera Mechanism is a truly wonderful survival from Hellenic Greece, but to be fair- the level of workmanship in the device is equivalent to that of 1500's European clockmakers. The level of understanding behind it, as an analogue computer of planetary motions, was more like 1700's Europe. It is stunning, but it isn't magical. Likewise the Incan stonework at Machu Picchu. That just took subservient population with a long tradition of stone work. Hyperbole to make a point, I imagine. The two things that leap to my mind are the end of slavery and peasantry, and the rise of a mass middle class that has enough resources to send their children to school. Not to mention leisure time.
To begin with, I think you do the Antikythera Mechanism a great injustice. While I have been aware of it for some time, it wasn't until I saw a very recent Discovery Channel (?) feature that I understood how complex and how difficult ...and how precise...it really was. And if you read the post you linked to again, I think you will discover that esp. in the case of the Antikythera Mechanism I was contrasting the precision that it emboddied with a contemporary Seiko. This in response to the (I think mistaken) assertion that the level of precison embodied in the Seiko would be impossible to reproduce using handwork alone. The Antikythera Mechanism had an incredible number of gears--the teeth of which had to be cut by hand and by eye alone, to a standard of precisison that may rival if not surpass a modern day Seiko. Had that level of precision not been attained, the mechanism simply would not have worked. I was not referring to the ruins at Machu Pichu but rather the ruins of Puma Punku. I did not remember the name at the time of my original post. There is a striking difference in the precision of the stone work at Puma Punku as compared with the stone work at Machu Pichu and the ruins at Puma Punku are,f I understand correctly, millenia older. Now all of this is facinating but in the end is a bit shy of the point...which is that for all the glitter, industrialization has not brought any significant increase in quality to the ojects that we produce and surround ourselves with. To come to any real understanding of that concept we have to have at least a working definition of what "quality" is. For myself I define it as a "fortunate blending of design, workmanship, and materials." But one might equally suggest that it is a ""melding of heart, hand, and motive (or perhaps purpose.) I think this last triad more closely represents the facination we have for quality and the reason it is so hard to define...esp. if we let the "factory mentality" that I talk about blind us to the essential fact that "quality" only has meaning in the human context. For an object to assume the mantle of "quality," something about it...some gestalt...must resonate with human sensibilities. And if it does not originate with human beings it cannot possibly achieve that status. Machines don't care about "quality"...they have no heart, no hands and no motive. Can a Seiko watch be "quality?" Of course! But certainly not to the degree that a 19th century poctetwatch of the first order can. And the simple reason is that there is no human being in the Seiko...or, what there is, is so far removed as to be indetectable. Can a factory made shoe achieve quality? Again, I think the answer is "yes" but again only to a degree. And, more importantly, perhaps only to those individuals who are perhaps insensible to such niceities. For myself, I think of all factory made goods as "techno-glitter for modern magpies." And make no mistake, I have my own stash of shiny objects of questionable value. In the end the aim of all industrialization is the homogenizartion of both people and goods. In our society we have easy, immediate, and affordable access to a wealth of products...all of which are uniformly mediocre. We may be the wealthiest society in the history of the world but ultimately we are the kings of walmart...or some variation thereof...and with minor exceptions we all look the same--even at $1k+ a a pair.
Quote:
Much more interesting is the argument that one can replace the role of machine made mass production in the rise and support of a middle class with something resembling mass artisanal production. Production of items with enough of the soul of the producer in it to be artisan work, cheaply made enough for the middle class to purchase, worth enough that those who make the artifacts can make a middle class living doing it. It is something to aspire to while we transform manufacturing to decrease the carbon dioxide loading of the atmosphere.
Oh, "mass artisanal production" is an old and truly hoary concept. And it worked fine...as far as it went. But, looked where it led--to mass machine production, in fact. It is a different world today. And anyone who considers the problems that arise from buying into a "mass anything " soon comes to realize that anything short of (dare I say it?) a "paradigm shift," leaves us in a downward spiral from which we may never be able to recover--culturally...as we lose sight of what it means to be human and what "quality" really is...and perhaps just as importantly, environmentaly.
post #117 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Now all of this is facinating but in the end is a bit shy of the point...which is that for all the glitter, industrialization has not brought any significant increase in quality to the objects that we produce and surround ourselves with.


I disagree with a lot of points in your post, esp. with the above paragraph. I think that technology and industrialization *have* overall made our lives better by increasing quality. I can quote a hundred examples of things that people use in everyday life, but don't even think about much.

I will give you two examples just from my field of work - the latest microprocessor from intel. There are about a billion transistors on a chip that is much, much, much smaller the size of the overall size of the nail on your pinky finger. Not only that, it has wiring connecting these tranistors, layers upon layers of ultra complex, and precise wiring (called interconnects). If you see a TEM image (another amazing invention, that allows you to see things that is otherwise impossible to see ... ) of a single transistor in this chip, you'll be amazed at the marvel that is "mass produced" today. The second example is the screen on your LCD monitor ... if you know about the number of layers in an LCD screen and how precisely they are packed together to work the way they do, again you'll be amazed. Remember that there are crappy panels and good panels - we are actually approaching print quality in displays. That is a remarkable technological achievement.

I can go on and on about just electrical engineering, and I am sure there are a million examples from other fields - in medicine, in automotive, in pharma. A MRI scan today is nothing short of pure magic.

What you probably misunderstand is this: industrialization also has led to a WIDE spectrum of products of differing quality and in some cases, things have become worse than what is was before. It is not right to compare a $50 seiko with the antikythera mechanism and say antikythera was better ... if you are comparing, do it with the best seiko there is, and then draw a conclusion ... I think that you'll find that the precision and the accuracy of a grand seiko today is far better than what we had in the past, including the antikythera. What is remarkable about the antikythera is that it was entirely made by hand. It would be impossible even for the past masters to make the parts of that grand seiko by hand since the precision levels are much higher.

Most people surround themselves with stuff they can afford (be it man made or machine made) at what they think is a good quality level for them. Some people are misinformed as to the quality level, some people know good from bad, but sometimes cannot go up higher due to a variety of reasons. Again, unfair to compare these two cases.

I'll write more about this later today, gotta go run some errands now.
post #118 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by srivats View Post
I disagree with a lot of points in your post, esp. with the above paragraph. I think that technology and industrialization *have* overall made our lives better by increasing quality. I can quote a hundred examples of things that people use in everyday life, but don't even think about much.
We may never agree about these things simply because we begin from different places. My point is and has always been that industrialization never made a product better...to say it yet another way. The issue of microchips and lcd's is a red herring in that context simply because items like these have always been technology dependent. They were never seriously made by hand. And probably never could be. They are in a far, far different class of items. They may in fact be the future, but if so it is a miserable one. To bring it all around, why in the world would anyone think...or assume, or even propose...that literally centuries and centuries of evolution of the shoe could be dismissed and replaced by processes that devalue those same skills, and the people who possess them? And perhaps even further propose that do so is a good thing? Or even progress? And the further question is why should they be? The industrialization of the shoe making Trade, the dumbing down of skills and the consequent disappearance of knowledge, is a solution looking for a problem. An answer to a question that never was, or didn't need to be asked. The only reason is faster cheaper more. Again and again, I come back to this issue of "quality." I don't really think we're on the same page with that. And while it may not be necessary in the grand scheme of things...in the context of this thread and the essay that begain it, the issue of what is quality is the central issue. In passing I might note that the example of the Antikythera Mechanism was offered simply as a way of demonstrating that quality is not a struggle between progress (technology) and quaint tradition. As was the example of Puma Punku. As was the example of "64 stitches to the inch." In fact, 64spi was done for the express purpose of demonstrating that machines would never be able to duplicate the work that a passionate and committed shoemaker could do. To my knowledge machines have yet to be invented that can even come close. We all of us...by our responses and by our actions...fall prey to an easy acceptance of that "faster cheaper more" philosophy that nearly defines consumerism and which inevitably leads to an equally easy acceptance of the lowest common denominator. It's an almost nihilistic mind set, in some ways.
post #119 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
To begin with, I think you do the Antikythera Mechanism a great injustice. While I have been aware of it for some time, it wasn't until I saw a very recent Discovery Channel (?) feature that I understood how complex and how difficult ...and how precise...it really was. And if you read the post you linked to again, I think you will discover that esp. in the case of the Antikythera Mechanism I was contrasting the precision that it emboddied with a contemporary Seiko. This in response to the (I think mistaken) assertion that the level of precison embodied in the Seiko would be impossible to reproduce using handwork alone. The Antikythera Mechanism had an incredible number of gears--the teeth of which had to be cut by hand and by eye alone, to a standard of precisison that may rival if not surpass a modern day Seiko. Had that level of precision not been attained, the mechanism simply would not have worked.
The Antikythera Mechanism is indeed complex, but then it was trying to compute the positions and phases of the moon, probably those of the planets, and definitely lunar and solar eclipses. It apparently did a good job of this, mostly because it was a realization of Hipparchos (2nd Century BC) model of lunar positions- the basic problem is that the moon orbits the Earth in the plane of the solar system instead of around the Earth's equator. It was Hellenistic high tech, just as Intel cpu's are modern era high-tech- directly comparable. It was precise, sure, perhaps more so than 15th century European clockmaker work but only because the latter had a lot more experience with gears. If I recall correctly, the Antikythera mechanism worked with equilateral triangle gear teeth- which have to be precise to work. The Europeans had figured out rounded teeth are just easier to make and to make work. The reason it is so cool is that the Antikythera mechanism directly implements a mathematical model for the lunar position using a geared computer. It was probably not till the time of Newton that the Europeans could surpass it in theory, though as artisans the clockmakers probably could have duplicated it, with mechanical improvements, a couple of hundred years earlier.
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I was not referring to the ruins at Machu Pichu but rather the ruins of Puma Punku. I did not remember the name at the time of my original post. There is a striking difference in the precision of the stone work at Puma Punku as compared with the stone work at Machu Pichu and the ruins at Puma Punku are,f I understand correctly, millenia older.
This is a complex new to me, thanks- I'll go read about it. Nonetheless, I'll stand by my position that a statement like "precision that scientists today would have a hard time duplicating the results with laser beams." is hyperbole unless one is talking about a first year graduate student armed with a laser pointer and a hand drill.
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Now all of this is facinating but in the end is a bit shy of the point...which is that for all the glitter, industrialization has not brought any significant increase in quality to the ojects that we produce and surround ourselves with.
Like Srivats, I have a hard time with this. If one were a Roman general plundering the wealth of Rhodes, then yes, the handwork of the Ancients was likely lovely and his (always a he) house would have been much nicer than mine, not least because of the Greek slaves manning the building. If one were the median citizen of the Roman Republic of the time one would certainly find that my middle class American house is filled with finer things. I can afford them because mass production has made them cheap and made it possible for me to make enough money to afford them.
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But one might equally suggest that it is a ""melding of heart, hand, and motive (or perhaps purpose.) ...esp. if we let the "factory mentality" that I talk about blind us to the essential fact that "quality" only has meaning in the human context.
This is sense, and an admirable position. I would like to see you expand on this.
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For myself, I think of all factory made goods as "techno-glitter for modern magpies." And make no mistake, I have my own stash of shiny objects of questionable value.
Yes, we have too much "stuff" and most of it is -meant- to be expendable. Christmas lights come to mind. There must be a better way.
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Oh, "mass artisanal production" is an old and truly hoary concept. And it worked fine...as far as it went.
It ended in 17th century Europe, later in other parts of the world. It ended because the things it made were too expensive, and the process of allowing more people to possess nicer things caused the end of repressive autocratic regimes catering to hereditary aristocratic elites. Whether a new version can be made to work in the time of democracy and a wide spread middle class is an open question.
post #120 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by james_timothy View Post
This is a complex new to me, thanks- I'll go read about it Nonetheless, I'll stand by my position that a statement like "precision that scientists today would have a hard time duplicating the results with laser beams." is hyperbole unless one is talking about a first year graduate student armed with a laser pointer and a hand drill..
Well I suspect that you may want to withhold your observation until you find out more about Puma Punku. I will warn you, however, that Puma Punku is a favourite among UFO afficianados (I'm not one although I keep an open mind) and you may find yourself with strange bedfellows as you wade through all the speculation and white noise.
Quote:
Like Srivats, I have a hard time with this. If one were a Roman general plundering the wealth of Rhodes, then yes, the handwork of the Ancients was likely lovely and his (always a he) house would have been much nicer than mine, not least because of the Greek slaves manning the building. If one were the median citizen of the Roman Republic of the time one would certainly find that my middle class American house is filled with finer things. I can afford them because mass production has made them cheap and made it possible for me to make enough money to afford them.
Why Rome? Why not the early neolithic? If you go back far enough even a cardboard facsimilie will look like it is one of the "finer things" by comparison. Such juxtapositions are neither valid nor objective. If you want to compare items in your "middle class American home" to similar hand made items when the artisanal production of such was at its height then I suspect you would arrive at a very different conclusion. Take that kitchen table...do you really believe that a table in a middle class home of the 18th or 19th centtury would be eclipsed in quality by the veneer and composites of the average contemporary middle class home? Or let's skew the comparison just a lttle and assume that our modern home has a solid oak table. Have you ever heard of quarter-sawn oak? I doubt many have yet it was clearly a superior cut of wood that is too expensive to implement today despite the great savings that mass production realizes in comparison to hand made simply by dint of eliminating the skilled worker. Or how about the middle class American home itself? Does the mortise and tenon construction of joist and beams really pale by comparison to the unseasoned 2x4's and nailgun stapling of modern homes? How does particle board subflooring compare to tongue and groove?
Quote:
It ended in 17th century Europe, later in other parts of the world. It ended because the things it made were too expensive, and the process of allowing more people to possess nicer things caused the end of repressive autocratic regimes catering to hereditary aristocratic elites. Whether a new version can be made to work in the time of democracy and a wide spread middle class is an open question.
Well, it may have in some Trades...I'm most familiar with my own, however, and if I am understanding your usage of the term "artisanal mass production," I can assure you that in the shoemaking and allied trades commual production--"artisanal factories"--continued well into the early years of the 20th century in many western societies. Well after onset of the Industrial Revolution, in any case.
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