continued from another thread...here
Originally Posted by RIDER
I suspect that you and I will never agree on much of this...it is as simple and as juxtaposed as bespoke
paradigms. But...and forgive me if I am misinterpreting...I sense a somewhat inappropriate defensiveness on your part. So allow me to clarify and perhaps smooth a few ruffled feathers... I responded to a member in the thread mentioned at the beginning of this post. It was a little over the top and I was perhaps a little tactless in my choice of words...choosing "expedient" to express a notion more closely related to "convenient" than any other. Not only that, I admit to having gotten sucked into the ensuing conversation...which may not have been entirely appropriate to the thread in which it arose. But never did I criticize your business nor single your shoes out for criticism. I try most assiduously to speak about techniques and methods and not about people or entities. I readily admit that I do not have the insights or the first hand experience to do otherwise...I cannot speak to how you deal with customers or how you run your business. That said, I stand behind all my comments...I try to spend the time necessary to think them through if not pare them down. And I believe "expedient" to have been the appropriate adjective in a generalized context. I read most members posts...especially the one's I am interested in responding to...several times and I try to get a sense of where that person is coming from. I appreciate it when the same courtesy is extended to my remarks. But given the "10 second rule" that exists in so many forums, I sometimes wonder if I am being unreasonable in my expectations. In my remarks about lasts...which was only one small (niggling even) aspect of the point I was making...I referred to lasting machines and made the point that to use a bed laster with an inside cone last required significant human intervention. For those who may have followed us here, the reason is simple...like all machines the bed laster is not only mindless it has a limited "stroke." It cannot pull more leather on one side of the shoe than the other--something that is required for lasting a shoe on an inside cone last. So an operator has to step in and adjust, and fiddle, and pretty soon the job may as well have been done by hand to begin with. I have seen this...I have had it explained to me in great detail...by a fellow who would have like to sell me a bed laster and who actually used one every day in his small manufacturing business. And I have seen numerous models of straight cone lasts--their entire raison d'etre being for use in bed lasters. In your business you may not use straight cone lasts...I did not
business...or you may hand last the shoes you commission. But the the point I was making--that in the factory context the materials and the techniques will be modified to accommodate the machines long before the machines will be modified to accommodate the requirements of the techniques--is not only valid but nearly axiomatic. After all, lasts are easy and relatively cheap to replace, a bed laster is not. Tying up some loose ends...the photos of lasts that you have posted seem to be sometimes straight and sometimes inside...perhaps it is the angle of the photos or the obscuring build-ups. As far as Bill Tippitt using Romagnolo and Ifaba for lasts, this is news to me...and I speak with Bill on a regular basis...last week as a matter of fact. As far as I know he uses El Arbol and has since time out of mind although he did flirt with a Chinese outfit for a while. This is not to dismiss the possibility that he gets lasts other places but again it is beside the point. If a shoemaker is designing (or commissioning a last for use in a bed laster, the chances are high that the last will be straight cone. For "convenience" sake. If he is using already established models that were originally intended to be used by bespoke makers, the chances are high that the last will have an inside cone. And the original modelmaker will have shaped the cone to his own personal sensibility. Again, as I said in my subsequent remarks in the other thread, I think blake/rapid is a viable, if expedient
alternative for RTW shoes--it makes a good solid shoe. I also think that the shoes that srivat posted are very good looking and well made. It doesn't change my point of view...my perspective...all of which is and has been informed by over 35 years making bespoke boots and shoes, full time. I am a shoemaker. It is, I trust, a unique perspective that has the potential to shed some light on what is otherwise a very misunderstood process.