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Hand lasted vs machine lasted

post #1 of 294
Thread Starter 
I picked up a pair of Trickers derbies today and on the sole is marked "Hand lasted - Bench made in England". I didn't realise any of the mainstream makers still do hand lasting (or maybe the pair had been in stock for a little while). Any particular advantage to hand lasting over machine lasting? I realise they are almost certainly gemmed and therefore worthless but I like them so what the hell.
post #2 of 294
well,

handlasting requires a pair of human hand and eyes and brain to judge how tight and how much force to apply onto the leather over the wooden last. Individual characteristics of the piece of leather (and each piece is just ever so slightly different) are taken into account. A machine is "dumb" and cannot do this, other than stretch the leather as tight as possible.

A piece of leather is a pliable, moldable, "breathing" piece of art. Only human hands can bring out its best characters.

So YES, there's a HUGE difference.
post #3 of 294
EGs and Lobbs are mostly hand-lasted, with the toes I think finished off by machine lasting.



Click the photo for Manton's great Tour of Northampton thread.


- B
post #4 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee_44106 View Post
Individual characteristics of the piece of leather (and each piece is just ever so slightly different) are taken into account. A machine is "dumb" and cannot do this, other than stretch the leather as tight as possible.

Machines could do this, but not the type of machine that shoe making company could afford and maintain.

People are still cheaper.


- B
post #5 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
Machines could do this, but not the type of machine that shoe making company could afford and maintain.

People are still cheaper.


- B

This guy's interning at EG. I hear he does good work.

post #6 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by greekgeek View Post
This guy's interning at EG. I hear he does good work.


I don't think he's progressed past bringing the EG CEO her coffee yet though.
post #7 of 294
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. I'll be breaking them in today, always a pleasure with double-soled shoes

Vox, I really enjoyed the tour of Northampton thread, thanks for the link.
post #8 of 294
The new AS Handgrade line are Handlasted.

Here's another picture of handlasting:



Here's a couple of pictures (albeit not great ones) of the toe laster used to finish the process:



post #9 of 294
It's interesting...it would appear that in the last set of photos the shoe in question has a synthetic toe stiffener--celastic (a resin impregnated fabric) or some variation thereof. And if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing, the heel stiffener may well be celastic, as well. I would add that while some drafting is being done by hand, it is only by the wildest stretch of the imagination that one could call these "hand lasted. I suspect that by this definition, if the worker were to make one pull on either side of the last...just to keep things centered, mind you...before popping the shoe in the lasting machine, we could call them "hand lasted." Maybe even "hand made." Why not? The real problem with all of this is not that the shoe isn't of adequate quality...for what it is...or that one cannot get reasonable service out of them, but rather that they are "imposters." They arrive with all the trappings...and price...of a quality shoe and yet it it's all a sham. As I mentioned in another thread...once a company resorts to expediencies such as gemming...synthetic toe and heel stiffeners are nearly inevitable. Next it will be corrected grain linings and fiberboard heels. We can define quality any way we want, I suppose. Who is to gainsay us? But I would submit that at a certain point the word "quality" loses all meaning when it comes to encompass the more salient aspects of mediocre. When everything we use and wear is pretending to be something it isn't we're all "lost in the masquerade"
post #10 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
When everything we use and wear is pretending to be something it isn't we're all "lost in the masquerade"

This is why I go barefoot.

The very concept of the "shoe" is a sham, and for the mentally and physically weak.


- B
post #11 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
This is why I go barefoot. The very concept of the "shoe" is a sham, and for the mentally and physically weak. - B
I knew you'd jump in here. It's terribly boring old boy...so very predictable you know. I mean, I'm a trout (I'll rise to the fly every time) and I don't make any bones about it. But you're a steak and just saying "I'm a trout, not a steak, I'm a trout not a steak" over and over again won't answer come Friday.
post #12 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
The real problem with all of this is not that the shoe isn't of adequate quality...for what it is...or that one cannot get reasonable service out of them, but rather that they are "imposters."

They arrive with all the trappings...and price...of a quality shoe and yet it it's all a sham.

I see your point, but how do you suggest these companies should characterise their shoes to differentiate them from cheaper bench-grade shoes or very cheap, entirely machine-made offerings? 'Hand-crafted bench-grade' maybe?
post #13 of 294
Is there any true advantage to a completely hand-lasted shoe (every nail pounded in by the cordwainer) versus having a machine stretch the leather over the last?
post #14 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

The real problem with all of this is not that the shoe isn't of adequate quality...for what it is...or that one cannot get reasonable service out of them, but rather that they are "imposters."

They arrive with all the trappings...and price...of a quality shoe and yet it it's all a sham. As I mentioned in another thread...once a company resorts to expediencies such as gimping...synthetic toe and heel stiffeners are nearly inevitable. Next it will be corrected grain linings and fiberboard heels.

We can define quality any way we want, I suppose. Who is to gainsay us? But I would submit that at a certain point the word "quality" loses all meaning when it comes to encompass the more salient aspects of mediocre.

When everything we use and wear is pretending to be something it isn't we're all "lost in the masquerade"


DWFII,

I've enjoyed your posts about the fine details of a truely "hand" made shoe.

Perhaps you can enlighten us on what you perceive are the advantages/disadvantages of handmade versus machine-equivalent of various steps of the shoe making process; steps such as clicking, sewing the leather, lasting...etc.
post #15 of 294
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
It's interesting...it would appear that in the last set of photos the shoe in question has a synthetic toe stiffener--celastic (a resin impregnated fabric) or some variation thereof. And if I'm seeing what I think I'm seeing, the heel stiffener may well be celastic, as well. I would add that while some drafting is being done by hand, it is only by the wildest stretch of the imagination that one could call these "hand lasted. I suspect that by this definition, if the worker were to make one pull on either side of the last...just to keep things centered, mind you...before popping the shoe in the lasting machine, we could call them "hand lasted." Maybe even "hand made." Why not? The real problem with all of this is not that the shoe isn't of adequate quality...for what it is...or that one cannot get reasonable service out of them, but rather that they are "imposters." They arrive with all the trappings...and price...of a quality shoe and yet it it's all a sham. As I mentioned in another thread...once a company resorts to expediencies such as gimping...synthetic toe and heel stiffeners are nearly inevitable. Next it will be corrected grain linings and fiberboard heels. We can define quality any way we want, I suppose. Who is to gainsay us? But I would submit that at a certain point the word "quality" loses all meaning when it comes to encompass the more salient aspects of mediocre. When everything we use and wear is pretending to be something it isn't we're all "lost in the masquerade"
I've done a large variety of metal fabrication and wood working projects, I've done things strictly by hand and have also used manually operated and computer operated machinery to complete similar tasks. With some things there is a dramatic difference between hand and machine, with others there is really no need to elongate the process simply for no other reason then to have it done by hand. In fact in many cases manually operated machinery does a much better job then doing it similarly by hand, with much better consistency. I propose that a combination of hand performed operations and manually operated machinery is going to be more consistently accurate and produce a better product than those done completely and entirely by hand and simple tooling. When applied to shoe making I'm sure that many of the hand-grade production operations narrow down that to the tasks to those that require the operation to be performed by hand, and I dont consider it a masquerade for doing so.
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