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shoe construction...behind the veil - Page 68

post #1006 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Testudo_Aubreii View Post

Thanks, DWF. What's your opinion about Blake with no Rapid stitching and no midsole? How does it stack up against GY in terms of durability? Some fear that it's more prone than GY to letting water and other rot- and crack- inducing materials into the footbed, because those can penetrate through the stiches in the outsole and insole into the footbed, as can't happen with GY. Does that make it less durable than GY?

Depends on how it is done. Yes, Blake...machine Blake...has its drawbacks--such as you mention.

But a channel stitch can be inset into a closed channel. And while not as secure as HandWelted or Blake-Rapid will still be a step up from GY.

Another instance of "advances in materials science" resulting in an inferior result.

To follow a tangent for a minute...there are lots of things that modern science cannot do as well as the ancients did. Granulation on gold or silver comes immediately to mind. The best examples are hundreds and thousands of years old, done with crude "primitive" tools and techniques and we still don't know how it was done.

Shoemaking is another example. 50 stitches to the inch+ ...done by hand. Mounting women's high heels without nails or screws. Handwelting.

No modern machinery, no "advances in material science" can ever duplicate that work. If only because even asking the question of "how do we make this faster and easier" betrays a fatal flaw in understanding....of understanding the purpose and rationale for doing it that way.

All we can do...all the "futurists" and pipe dreamers can do...is dismiss and diminish the standards of quality that evolved over 10,000 years. And to do that they have to dumb down the idea of quality.

And I suspect the real reason for doing that is because they can't do it themselves.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/16 at 10:29am
post #1007 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelonius View Post

"What's wrong with glue, anyway?" rotflmao.gif  
Apart from the environmental effects.........

Well, the environmental effects are important. They speak to perspectives and values. Choices and even goals.

But first, glues and pastes are different from cements. Shoemakers universally, AFAIK, acknowledge that difference. And they have different uses and end results

Beyond that, I have the same regard for glues and cements as the guys who used "advanced material science" epoxy to shore up a tunnel on the east coast a couple of years ago. Yes, that's right it collapsed killing a number of people, IIRC.

When I say I have the same regard...I am speaking of the perception that the bright-idea-futurist-engineers arrived at...after the tunnel collapsed.

In shoemaking, all purpose cement degrades. It becomes brittle and non-adhesive. Such cement is used on the gemming to affix it to the insole. It can, and often degrades to a state of unsuitability even before the gemming can be put into production.

But bottom line, like canvas it has no structural integrity and no real connection to either the gemming or the leather (?, paperboard) it is attached to.
post #1008 of 1515
I to have several decades experience. I won't dispute the fact that HW is a superior construction than gemmed. However, IMO the argument is overblown in terms of the failure rate VS the cost of the 2 methods. Add to that every business including bespoke NEEDS to make a profit. Needless to say it's important for any business to meet the demands of their market. Fact is it would be impossible to supply the demands of the men's shoe market if the factories were to continue using the HW process. Machinery is an absolute need in order to supply the consumer demands.

Like it or not you can't stop progress.
post #1009 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post

I to have several decades experience. I won't dispute the fact that HW is a superior construction than gemmed. However, IMO the argument is overblown in terms of the failure rate VS the cost of the 2 methods. Add to that every business including bespoke NEEDS to make a profit. Needless to say it's important for any business to meet the demands of their market. Fact is it would be impossible to supply the demands of the men's shoe market if the factories were to continue using the HW process. Machinery is an absolute need in order to supply the consumer demands.

Like it or not you can't stop progress.

I was with you until this ^

 

I would not classify the transition form HW to GY as progress in any sense other than the ability to produce in quantity, at speed and at a lower cost. 

 

But for that, I can live with the rest of your statement

 

:cheers:

post #1010 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Would be sad to frame a world view of only black or white, quality or profit.

Well, no offense but that's why I'm a shoemaker and you're not....and probably never will be...will probably never understand. Read my signature. I think that all good makers have to have a hierarchy of quality firmly affixed in mind. And that implies, even demands, that a person look at the world in black and white to some extent. If you're going to reach for excellence there can be no such thing as "relative quality." If you live in a grey scale world you cannot make a clean cut.
Quote:
What's your opinion of using similar strong adhesives for gemming?

See my responses above. Adhesives aren't the problem it's the expectations that adhesive can magically stand in for better, more appropriate methods. It betrays a fundamental laziness. And an unequivocal dismissal of any objective standard of quality.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/16 at 12:01pm
post #1011 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post

I to have several decades experience. I won't dispute the fact that HW is a superior construction than gemmed. However, IMO the argument is overblown in terms of the failure rate VS the cost of the 2 methods. Add to that every business including bespoke NEEDS to make a profit. Needless to say it's important for any business to meet the demands of their market. Fact is it would be impossible to supply the demands of the men's shoe market if the factories were to continue using the HW process. Machinery is an absolute need in order to supply the consumer demands.

Like it or not you can't stop progress.

There are several things that need addressing here....to repeat myself (because it applies to you as well) "that's why I'm a shoemaker and you're not." That's why I am a craftsman/artisan and you're not. It's an attitude thing. I have a perspective that starts with the fundamental understanding that any rate of failure that can be avoided is unacceptable. Period.

And the second point is that for all my reputation, you and those like you are essentially more mired in the past than I am. I recognize that a person makes their own market. Esp. in this day and age. I have built my reputation on excellence and quality and not compromising those principles. It is a world wide market that has kept me busy for more than 45 years. It is a market that had me 4 years backlogged at one time.

And the third point is that I own my own house and property. I have no debts. And I have all that primarily from my shoemaking. There is a concept that most people on this forum and in Western Societies no longer recognize--"enough." I am not acquisitive in terms of material goods or money (knowledge yes, I am very acquisitive) and as a result my values are different from yours...and chogall's and others.

If a person has enough...and can be satisfied with enough...there is less chance that they will become enslaved to the concept of "profit," or "more" or "efficiency" or any of the other stupid things that cause us lose our sense of perspective and ourselves. Which means you can concentrate on being a human being and not a shill for products or corporate mentality or fall prey to pretense and rationalizations. It's kind of liberating.

It also frees you up to drop the pretense. To say "I don't know." To side-step lecturing people on subject you really don't know anything about.

You can mouth or parrot slogans like "you can't stop progress" all you want but it is almost babble in my view. I simply don't care one way or the other. Beyond bdavro's suggestion that "progress" is relative, the whole notion of progress and whether it can be stopped or not, is moot. Thinking about it, it seems patently absurd to suggest it has to be one or the other.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/16 at 3:19pm
post #1012 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

There are several things that need addressing here....to repeat myself (because it applies to you as well) "that's why I'm a shoemaker and you're not." That's why I am a craftsman/artisan and you're not. It's an attitude thing. I have a perspective that starts with the fundamental understanding that any rate of failure that can be avoided is unacceptable. Period.

And the second point is that for all my reputation, you and those like you are essentially more mired in the past than I am. I recognize that you make your own market. Esp. in this day and age. I have built my reputation on excellence and quality and not compromising those principles. It is a world wide market that has kept me busy for more than 45 years. It is a market that had me 4 years backlogged at one time.

And the third point is that I own my own house and property. I have no debts. And I have all that primarily from my shoemaking. There is a concept that most people on this forum and in Western Societies no longer recognize--"enough." I am not acquisitive in terms of material goods or money (knowledge yes, I am very acquisitive) and as a result my values are different from your. If a person has enough...and can be satisfied with enough...there is less chance that they will become enslaved to the concept of profit, or "more" or efficiency. Which means you can concentrate on being a human being and not a shill for products or corporate mentality or fall prey to pretense and rationalizations. It's kind of liberating.

You can mouth or parrot slogans like "you can't stop progress" all you want but it is almost babble in my view. I simply don't care one way or the other. Beyond bdavro's suggestion that "progress" is relative, the whole notion of progress and whether it can be stopped or not, is moot. Thinking about it, it seems patently absurd to suggest it has to be one or the other.

The fact is almost everything written above applies to myself as well. This is not an admission rather a statement of fact "I am not a shoemaker" But like you I am a businessman. If you weren't how would you be able to payoff your house? Whether it modest or elaborate that's not the point in spite of the fact that I enjoy living very modestly.

Yes we have work in the shop from all over the world. Yes, my reputation is built on excellence as well. No I don't have a 4 year backlog. More like a week to 10 days, Sometimes a bit more. For the shoe repair business that's a substantial backlog and I appreciate the fact that customers are willing to wait that long. You have no idea of what my values are. So, by you speculating you are discrediting yourself. I'm surprised that you don't recognize (understand) that.


Getting back to my point....Allen Edmonds makes somewhere around 2600 pair of shoes a day. Why? Because the demand for their product warrants that quantity of production. Does that make them evil? How many people do they keep off of the unemployment line. How many of those people bought their own houses? Put their children through school?
Call me a shrill if you feel the need but, IMO AE contributes a lot more to our society and economy than you do in your one horse town behind your bench.
Am I comparing AE's product to a bespoke? Only a delusional fool would try that stretch. All I'm saying is they know their market and meet it's demands.

Call it what you want but the fact is you can't stop progress.
post #1013 of 1515

As some things can't be said enough times and can be generalized beyond the world of shoemaking...

 

When one works for oneself and considers oneself a craftsman or an artist, one can put quality before profits.  It doesn't mean one still doesn't need to earn a living; it means one won't compromise on quality.  It might not be rational, but that is what one does.  There are frequently long-term financial rewards for doing things this way, but not alway.  Putting quality first, as opposed to just saying that, is almost certainly never the best business decision, when considering value of the business and profits.  For some people, there is no satisfaction that can equal doing one's absolute best at something.  Not always, but frequently, people can tell when they are experiencing or handling the very best.  We have all felt that way, even the cheapest among us, when watching certain movies or reading certain books or looking at certain paintings.

 

I once owned a business and made things as well as I possibly could.  I am still proud of what I made.  I still feel good about my choices.  

 

However, as soon as one has shareholders other than oneself, one has a legal duty, a fiduciary duty, to maximize value for shareholders in any legal, or perhaps not legal, manner possible.  You can be sued if you don't do that.  You can be sued by shareholders for actually putting quality before their profits.

post #1014 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post

The fact is almost everything written above applies to myself as well. This is not an admission rather a statement of fact "I am not a shoemaker" But like you I am a businessman. If you weren't how would you be able to payoff your house? Whether it modest or elaborate that's not the point in spite of the fact that I enjoy living very modestly.

Yes we have work in the shop from all over the world. Yes, my reputation is built on excellence as well. No I don't have a 4 year backlog. More like a week to 10 days, Sometimes a bit more. For the shoe repair business that's a substantial backlog and I appreciate the fact that customers are willing to wait that long. You have no idea of what my values are. So, by you speculating you are discrediting yourself. I'm surprised that you don't recognize (understand) that.


Getting back to my point....Allen Edmonds makes somewhere around 2600 pair of shoes a day. Why? Because the demand for their product warrants that quantity of production. Does that make them evil? How many people do they keep off of the unemployment line. How many of those people bought their own houses? Put their children through school?
Call me a shrill if you feel the need but, IMO AE contributes a lot more to our society and economy than you do in your one horse town behind your bench.
Am I comparing AE's product to a bespoke? Only a delusional fool would try that stretch. All I'm saying is they know their market and meet it's demands.

Call it what you want but the fact is you can't stop progress.

Off topic. I thought they made 60.000 pairs a year. So what you are saying they are making a million pairs a year?
post #1015 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmss View Post



Off topic. I thought they made 60.000 pairs a year. So what you are saying they are making a million pairs a year?

http://access.van.fedex.com/made-in-america-allen-edmonds/

Impressive isn't it?
Would it be possible to satisfy their market using the HW method?
post #1016 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post


The fact is almost everything written above applies to myself as well. This is not an admission rather a statement of fact "I am not a shoemaker" But like you I am a businessman. If you weren't how would you be able to payoff your house? Whether it modest or elaborate that's not the point in spite of the fact that I enjoy living very modestly.

Yes we have work in the shop from all over the world. Yes, my reputation is built on excellence as well. No I don't have a 4 year backlog. More like a week to 10 days, Sometimes a bit more. For the shoe repair business that's a substantial backlog and I appreciate the fact that customers are willing to wait that long. You have no idea of what my values are. So, by you speculating you are discrediting yourself. I'm surprised that you don't recognize (understand) that.


Getting back to my point....Allen Edmonds makes somewhere around 2600 pair of shoes a day. Why? Because the demand for their product warrants that quantity of production. Does that make them evil? How many people do they keep off of the unemployment line. How many of those people bought their own houses? Put their children through school?
Call me a shrill if you feel the need but, IMO AE contributes a lot more to our society and economy than you do in your one horse town behind your bench.
Am I comparing AE's product to a bespoke? Only a delusional fool would try that stretch. All I'm saying is they know their market and meet it's demands.

Call it what you want but the fact is you can't stop progress.

Again, I feel compelled to take issue with your use of the word progress. As the owner of a fair few pairs of Allen Edmonds, one pair I am wearing as I type this message, I can confirm that the quality is horrendous. They are, in short, unmitigated pieces of shit. The quality even over the last few years has nose dived dramatically and is actually part of their business model at this point. They sell so many second quality shoes through their outlet that it would actually hurt their business to make a better product and cut down on mistakes. If that is progress, you keep it. 

 

Now, from a purely economic stand point, yes, they employee people and there is a run on effect from that. However, to put it closer to home, B. Nelson is generally regarded as one of the top shoe repair firms in the US. As the standard bearer of quality, if @Nick V. chose to make the quality of his repairs shit in order to service more customers, and the net effect of that is to lower the standard of repairs in general, then we are all for the worse. Again, if that is progress, you keep it.

post #1017 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick V. View Post

http://access.van.fedex.com/made-in-america-allen-edmonds/

Impressive isn't it?
Would it be possible to satisfy their market using the HW method?

Side question but can you resole a hand welted shoe in your shop? I've been there and had a good experience but I'm curious if I bought a Vass or Buday if I need to send it back to Europe for resoling. I have no problem giving them business I just don't want to ship over the Atlantic twice...
post #1018 of 1515
Quote:
Originally Posted by makewayhomer View Post


Side question but can you resole a hand welted shoe in your shop? I've been there and had a good experience but I'm curious if I bought a Vass or Buday if I need to send it back to Europe for resoling. I have no problem giving them business I just don't want to ship over the Atlantic twice...


I'd like to know as well.  Maybe Nick could drop us PMs.

post #1019 of 1515
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmss View Post

Off topic. I thought they made 60.000 pairs a year. So what you are saying they are making a million pairs a year?

You know, with all due respect (and in a general sense...not directed at you or anything you said), it doesn't make a damned bit of difference how many pairs of shoes they or any other manufacturer make a day.

There's an incoherence in such arguments that just makes rational, objective people shake their heads. It's almost the intellectual equivalent of blurred vision.

Are the mass manufacturers satisfying their market? Maybe, but only a fool would suggest that it is a market that is focused on quality. Could they satisfy a market that did respect quality...objective quality? Depends on how far down the consumer...or the people in this discussion want to dumb the concept of quality.

Could any mass manufacturer satisfy a market for real quality? Like my market? For most, the answer is a resounding "no." For those that might, it only comes by changing the way they do things--in order to make a high quality bespoke shoe you have to do things more like a bespoke maker, IOW...you can't do GY or use celastic or paperboard, etc.. And the results are fundamentally one-offs.Special orders. That's not satisfying a market.

Of course you can always pretend...and some do. And with a high enough shine and a good deal of money in deceptive advertising, you can even pull it off. Sometimes.

But we're talking about two different markets. Two different perspectives. Two different set of choices. Two different objectives and reasons for existing. It's one of the reasons I don't criticize any maker, not even the manufacturers. But I suspect it takes a special incoherence...a "factory mentality" if nothing else...to try to impose perspectives that apply in one market to an entirely different market.

And despite the fact that such niceties of perception don't fit in with the imagined dialogues people have in their heads, I have never denied that mass manufacturers are necessary. In fact, I have said the opposite on a number of occasions.

But is this the Kmart forum??!! Do we really need or want to extol the virtues of ticky-tacky??!!

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/16 at 6:21pm
post #1020 of 1515
The problem with the "AE buyers don't look for quality argument" is that the vast majority of those shoes will last exactly as long as their owners care for them to.


Yes they are lower quality than what you produce, but mainly in an academic way. Like a car that will drive for 300,000 miles instead of another that will last for 250,000. Yes it's better from a longevity POV but most folks will never actually experience that benefit

I'll tire of my Alden and C&J before they die on me. Certainly the welt anyways. And if they do die... It will be after a long meritorious service well worth their price
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