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Shoe Damage Report & Shoe P0rn Central - Part II - Page 225

post #3361 of 20755
the EG's and the city 2's are awesome^^^
post #3362 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
I suspect that you really haven't though this through. CAD/CAM or hydraulic clickers(either/or) share the same weakness that all mechanized operations designed to work with natural materials share--there's no one at the wheel. All you have to do is read Thornton or even earlier writers (Golding, Swaysland, etc.) who began to set this down at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to see the trends and the eventual actualities.

With mechanized clickers, patterns are laid on, and cut from, leather hides with no regard for strength, direction of stretch, or thickness. The sole purpose is to maximize cutting and ostensibly, minimize waste.

Hand clicking means the maker has actually look at and evaluate the leather under his hand. Each piece...and always with an eye towards the individual shoes being made. For instance...one instance...high quality shoes benefit when certain components are deliberately cut "tight" in one direction or another.

Another good example of one of the least detrimental results is simply the way so many pairs of shell cordovan shoes look like they were made from mis-matched hides. They weren't....the patterns were simply fitted on the shell with no regard to direction.

All this can be done by the operator of a clicking machine but in the end it takes as much time...sometimes more...as when clicking by hand. And the operator still has no real, intimate knowledge or concern or responsibility for what happens when the pieces leave his station.

You may be a great fan and advocate of machine made...anything and everything. But be careful in what you wish for. No major name in shoemaking that started out as a highly regarded and premium product and which subsequently converted to mass produced methods has retained either the value or the worth that it originally commanded. And, to my knowledge, none has ever reversed the decline once mass production methods were introduced.

Soon there won't be a significant difference...let me reiterate--significant difference...between AE's and EG's or G&G's (if there is one now), regardless of the marketing hype or the price. Not that the manufacturers...or the fan boys...would ever admit to such even in the face of something so clearly devolved as fiberboard insoles.

And of course, there's no reason that you won't still be able to feel that "shine" of social superiority at having paid more for shoes than the poor unenlightened slobs who are all around us..and more than they are worth when considering the cost of production. All that's just a function of marketing and your willingness (gullibility) to buy into it. When everything is reduced to ticky-tacky, perceived value is only a function of marketing.

But in the end, if you're honest, you'll have to acknowledge that it's a world of your own making and you'll have to live in it.

Post is very good.
post #3363 of 20755
Are these actually City II's? The toe seam look different that the City II's pictured on Leathersoul's Website. Also what colour are these? Pewter Museum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theyare View Post
A lot of text and no pics recently.


City II's from Leathersoul
post #3364 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Just a quick follow-up--I was heading for the sack when it occurred to me to wonder which comes first--the attitude or the work? Hat or cattle? Does an individual become a craftsman because these ideas are already part and parcel of who he is or does he develop these kinds of biases because the work changes him?



" 'Night Gracie."

I suspect that most clever artisans initially always aim for excellence. I suspect the system grinds them down or some other prosaic concerns such as making money! The trick is to stand tall while all around are wilting under the pressure to compromise.
post #3365 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Just a quick follow-up--I was heading for the sack when it occurred to me to wonder which comes first--the attitude or the work? Hat or cattle? Does an individual become a craftsman because these ideas are already part and parcel of who he is or does he develop these kinds of biases because the work changes him?



" 'Night Gracie."

Someone is going to look very natty indeed, plus with this many in the rotation, the shoes should ease into wear nicely.
To the above chicken or the egg question, I think the attitude has to be there first or the craftsmanship will not follow. There is nothing tedious about sitting in a chair working, even sewing two thousand upper stitches on a pair of brogues if the work is going smoothly. An hour goes by as if five minutes. If one were in a rushing mind, the time would drag and the work would suffer. Being around other people who have the attitude could rub off or inspire one. Maybe one must simply love shoes and be fascinated by them. Here are some shoes I made, all recently. For my hobby, I studied by reading John Bedford Leno's The art of bootmaking and shoemaking (1885) and I made a practice of finding out all I could from every possible source on the net. Part of the challenge was to make the shoes from improvised tools from the hardware to save money (to spend on the best leather.)
William Morris wanted to use modern efficiency to bring beautiful craftsmanship within reach of the everyman. Instead of cabinet makers turning each spindle on a lathe and hand scraping one molding at a time, beautiful molding profiles could be made on an automatic lathe machine so a laborer's stairway could have spindles and a Newel post. In Philadelphia this was true. There are vast neighborhoods that have beautiful woodwork that were inhabited by ordinary people. But the profit motive always screws everything up. Unfortunately advancement in technology is not used to make a higher quality at a lower price a la Morris, it is used to make a faster, cheaper product to get a higher profit. But its worse than that, they figured out that design is worth something. The same machines make everything and it costs the to same to print ugly wallpaper as it does to print beautiful wallpaper. They purposefully make the Plebeian product as ugly as possible to steer you toward the more expensive non ugly one. (Also substitute low and high quality for ugly and non ugly) It seems cruel. First the market is dominated with low quality stuff, then the competitors die off and then the price rises, so you end paying the high price for low quality. I guess the trick is to find the product that does this the least by means of research.
Here are the recent shoes made with a knife, fork and spoon (blade, awl and hammer)
Cheers from Philadelphia
LL
LL
post #3366 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
Are these actually City II's? The toe seam look different that the City II's pictured on Leathersoul's Website. Also what colour are these? Pewter Museum?



City II's from Leathersoul

The pair you quoted are pewter museum langstons.
The first pair in my op are dark brown museum city 2s.
post #3367 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Well, thank you and thanks to Clint and Icarus for a very courteous and genteel discussion. Thank you for taking the time to engage. I appreciate the kindness.

That said, I find that all too often on the Internet people really don't want to understand or know anything that contradicts with what they think they already know. This coincides with what I think I know about human psychology in general and with my experiences in detail.

Add to that, the fact that I have taught people how to make boots for nearly 30 years and have run across all sorts of attitudes...from innate inability to learn to what I call "willful ignorance"--the deliberate choice to ignore data or information that might influence already established opinion. And this from folks who are ostensibly in a supplicant's/student's position and are paying for my time and advice.

"It worries me." * And, perhaps as a consequence, I get a little relentless at times.

That said, while I appreciate Clint's observation that people need to defend their choices so as to not seem like part of a herd, I suspect the most powerful and unassailable defense is simply "I like it."

*Chief Dan George in Little Big Man

Thank you DW. I think that what you've written above highlights the "problem" with the modern age quite eloquently. In my few years on this Earth, I've rapidily come to realise that some people are simply not interested in the truth, particularly if it clashes with what they believe to be "truth", even if there is clear, irrefutable evidence to support the new knowledge.

So, I tend not to push hard to convince people (I used to). I will say what I have to say, hoping that some people will want to understand it and leave it.

This probably accounts for my hardly receiving responses to my observations/comments.

That's why I do appreciate members (and people) such as yourself taking the time to try and understand what I'm saying and to respond to it.

Have a great New Year and I hope that you are very prosperous, so that you can maintain your artistry.

Back to nice pictures now.....

Clint
post #3368 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
.............as to then ask him to carefully place sharp metal dies on the leather before stepping on the pedal. And if he's placing dies on a stack of hides...as is the rule in most factories....

I can only presume, DWF has never seen a pneumatic clicking press in operation. Those do not work with foot pedals.......for safety reasons.

Here is a typical clicking press, which swings in and out on it's pillar. The two things sticking out are handles with a button on top of either.



The press is operated by pressing them simultaneously with the right and left thumb. This is to make sure, the operator's hands are out of the way once the press comes down. That simultaneously has to be exact, if it's out by a fraction of a second, the machine won't come down.



By the way, you only click one layer of leather at a time.
post #3369 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post
I can only presume, DWF has never seen a pneumatic clicking press in operation. Those do not work with foot pedals.......for safety reasons. Here is a typical clicking press, which swings in and out on it’s pillar. The two things sticking out are handles with a button on top of either. The press is operated by pressing them simultaneously with the right and left thumb. This is to make sure, the operator’s hands are out of the way once the press comes down. That simultaneously has to be exact, if it’s out by a fraction of a second, the machine won’t come down. By the way, you only click one layer of leather at a time.
No, I've seen clickers many times. Every time I go down to Los Angeles, I stop in at a big warehouse which salvages and rebuilds old shoemaking equipment. And every time, old Arnold tries to sell me a clicker. The thing is, I've never bought into it....so my notion that they are activated by pedals may come from very early models I've seen or perhaps even a false assumption. Now that I see the photos above I do recall being shown machines that operate by hand. And your explanation both rings a bell and even more importantly makes sense. My bad...I'm old, sometimes my memory fails me. But I do know this...from experience, not hearsay...I have no doubt I could click the pattern pictured above by hand just as quickly (maybe even moreso) and just as accurately as the machine. 40 years of constant, active, hands-on engagement counts for something. I can't think of a single pattern used in shoemaking...or a single component, with the possible exception of outsoles...that would require significantly more time to do by hand than by machine. Seconds maybe...not minutes. And all the sorting--for texture, shade, substance, quality and stretch is done simultaneously...not as a separate process by some other fellow. If saving seconds of time is important to profit margins...and it may be...then I suspect the savings in wages paid is even of greater significance. In the 1950's press knife operators were paid a third less than hand clickers. Why?! Why base a wage structure on which tool is being used to do the same job? Or, if hand clickers are slower than press knife clickers, why not pay by the piece? The fact is that wages for press knife operators were/are lower because they don't need to be as skilled. And they don't do the whole operation. Which implies that they either don't need to know how everything works together or aren't expected to apply that knowledge to their work. Judgment...engagement...independent thought...not wanted here. PS...I don't know of (not that there isn't any, there may be) any top shelf bespoke maker that uses a press knife, esp. for upper patterns. And it's not a question of expense. I've seen used machines such as in the photos above selling for less than $1000.00. But on the other hand, I don't know of any manufacturer...at any price point, but especially the lower price ranges...that doesn't use press knives. Is there a tacit but nevertheless very real recognition of "good, better, best" at work in these models?
post #3370 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by theyare View Post
A lot of text and no pics recently.

December damage - look forward to breaking all these bad boys out in the new year!

Damn! Son went in PLO style.
post #3371 of 20755
DW, with all due respect, you speak of the amount of time and experience making shoes by hand but that very point that you spend a lifetime making shoes, which although remarkable, also suggest that it takes decades to be proficient in the trade.

In an age where loyalty is easily displaced, and where a skilled worker, after acquiring all the secrets of the trade and skills, can leave anytime, machines are but one way where a firm can still maintain some form of continuity, control and quality since it takes lesser time to train a worker.

Perhaps, the very best shoes can only ever be made fully by hand but wouldn't that take years to train someone to reach that level and the cost would make it prohibitive to most buyers. Partial use of machines can achieve the same purpose to a quality level of 80% of the best shoes but at a far lesser cost or time to the manufacturer and also the buyer. It is no surprise that many companies have come to accept that machines are becoming ever necessary. At the same, I am not suggesting that we cede all control to machines, since most processes still require a combination of machine, experience and hand work, e.g. knowing which part of the leather to press.

I just cannot understand why there is a need for anyone to take an extremist view on things.
post #3372 of 20755
E Green do all of their upper clicking by hand. Whether this is for philosophical or economic reasons I cannot say. I would imagine that Lobb Northampton do the same.

I don't think that a clicking machine makes sense for any bespoke maker, since every pattern is a 'one off,' and the cost of clicking using these machines lies not in the initial equipment expense, but rather in the cost of the dies. Perhaps a die for a toe cap would be sensible, given the repeated use of same, but for pretty much any other part, it just wouldn't make economic sense.

I agree with DW that most the value of the clicking machines to the manufacturer probably lies in the lower wages, rather than any huge time efficiency, unless/until multiple hides are clicked simultaneously.
post #3373 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by upnorth View Post
DW, with all due respect, you speak of the amount of time and experience making shoes by hand but that very point that you spend a lifetime making shoes, which although remarkable, also suggest that it takes decades to be proficient in the trade. In an age where loyalty is easily displaced, and where a skilled worker, after acquiring all the secrets of the trade and skills, can leave anytime, machines are but one way where a firm can still maintain some form of continuity, control and quality since it takes lesser time to train a worker. Perhaps, the very best shoes can only ever be made fully by hand but wouldn't that take years to train someone to reach that level and the cost would make it prohibitive to most buyers. Partial use of machines can achieve the same purpose to a quality level of 80% of the best shoes but at a far lesser cost or time to the manufacturer and also the buyer. It is no surprise that many companies have come to accept that machines are becoming ever necessary. At the same, I am not suggesting that we cede all control to machines, since most processes still require a combination of machine, experience and hand work, e.g. knowing which part of the leather to press. I just cannot understand why there is a need for anyone to take an extremist view on things.
Without going into detail and addressing every point specifically, I would have to say that I agree with most of your remarks...up to a point. But I don't think that equates to a better world or a better quality of life...or better shoes...for any of us. It places all the emphasis on the things that surround us rather than the things that are within us. You make a particularly telling point about machines and quality level, although from my point of view I wouldn't place it as high as 80%. [The possibility is there but manufacturers have universally turned away from that course as too expensive.] But implicit in your remarks is a point I have consistently made and maintained throughout my time on SF--even if we assume machines can achieve 80% of the quality of hand-made they can never achieve 100%. Again, we all recognize that some hand-work will never reach even 40% of what machines can achieve. But sometimes, ever now and again...often enough even now when the skills are being lost...some bespoke maker will make a shoe or boot that is 150% of what any machine could achieve. For me it is reassuring to know that there are other people who pursue excellence in their work and lives as something that is intrinsic to human nature and even fundamental to health...who don't, won't, can't, leave it to processes and operations that ultimately have only one goal--doing it faster and cheaper...and with as little human engagement as possible. In that context, I reject the notion that my POV is extreme...it is one that has held sway and has resonated with human beings for literally centuries, if not millennia. I think any perspective that relegates human beings to the status of auxiliary to a machine, or to an all-consuming drive to increase profits, is extreme. Again, it is less about the tool than how it is handled or the attitude that it generates. Does it make the job easier (or even possible) or does it just relieve us of the burden of having to think? All that said, I use machines. The number and tonnage of the machines I use in my small 800 sq. ft shop has reached the level where I am too old to move it without hurting myself. Compare that with some very good bespoke makers who could probably put all their machines in a small walk-in closet. One small point in passing...if a firm wants to ensure loyalty all they have to do is stop equating human beings to the machines they run. They can start recognizing skill, and insight, and judgment. They can train for it and pay for it. And loyalty begets loyalty...if a worker knows that he is in danger of being replaced as easily (easier in most instances) as the machine he runs, what reason is there to command his loyalty, much less his engagement? As long as workers are seen as ancillary to the machine, firms will figure that they can just give 'em a little squirt of oil and everything will be made right.
post #3374 of 20755
^An interesting discussion in this thread. I've only been able to read this page and skim a bit of the previous one, but the discussion reminds me of one I had with a dean at a uni I once taught at: I complained that the students didn't really care about learning, about the truth, about the world, and about who they were becoming. What they cared about was grades, jobs, money, comfort. I compared that to the attitude at another school. As the dean of the business school, his response was that the students here, who only cared about grades, money, etc. were going to be "managers." They didn't want to think. They wanted someone above them to tell them what to do, and they would then tell others below them what to do. They would just be "cogs in a machine" -- in his words. In contrast, the students at the other school would become "entrepreneurs." They would be "free-thinkers, self-starters." DW mentioned the pursuit of excellence above. That reminds me of Plato's Republic. There he divides a person into three parts, ruled by three desires, for (1) money/comfort/pleasure, (2) honor/respect, or (3) virtue/excellence. Individuals allow one of these parts to rule above all. Most people are ruled by the first desire, a substantial portion by the second, and a tiny minority by the third. Sadly, Plato's ideal society would make the first group "producers" (farmers, craftsmen, businessmen), the second "guardians" (police or soldiers), and the third "philosophers" (the leaders, with the best being the philosopher king(s)). But I think it would be great if we had philosopher-farmers, philosopher-craftsmen, philosopher-businessmen, philosopher-soldiers, etc. It would be great if we had all people ruled by the love and pursuit of wisdom and other forms of excellence/virtue. I think that everyone has the capacity to become a philosopher-whatever, but sadly few realize this potential. This is the purpose of the original liberal arts program of a university, but it is sadly not what universities tend to prioritize today. A final note: Plato likens the process of helping people begin to know and to care about truth, excellence, etc. as dragging a person kicking and screaming out of a cave and into the light. This, I think, is what DW and others try to do here. And we are better off for it, even while we are kicking, screaming, and temporarily blinded.
post #3375 of 20755
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew W View Post
Here are the recent shoes made with a knife, fork and spoon (blade, awl and hammer)
Cheers from Philadelphia

Beautiful work, A.W.

I particularly admire the captoe adelaides. The elegance of script used on the sockliner shows great and justifiable pride in your workmanship. Thank you for posting.
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