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shoe construction...behind the veil - Page 2

post #16 of 137
I have just found some pics of some shoes you made, considering I understand your forte is boots, these look very nice. The sole work looks very nice



post #17 of 137
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cdmoore1855 View Post
I have just found some pics of some shoes you made, considering I understand your forte is boots, these look very nice. The sole work looks very nice
Thank you for both of your replies. My forte, as who should say, is shoemaking, my business over the last four decades has been mostly cowboy boots. Two comments on that score... In the States...especially in the western states...a bespoke bootmaker has a much bigger clientele to draw from than a bespoke shoemaker. And that clientele understands that there is a quality and price difference between bespoke and RTW. The market for bespoke shoes in the US is problematic. Several shoemakers I know who have been in business as long as I have...in the Northeast...have struggled to survive without making sandals nearly full time. The other comment is that unlike a lot of my bootmaking peers, over the last 20-30 years, I have come to understand that the measure of a maker is his range---the ability to do boots and shoes and not just one or the other. Really, except for the mythology, it's all shoemaking. The shoes were totally bespoke...even the size and shape of the toe cap and counter were specified by the customer.
post #18 of 137
Many thanks DWFII for this refreshing an interresting thread.

Adrian
post #19 of 137
This is really impressive. It also reminds me why I first came to SF, it's for articles like this.

I have a question though: Some shoemakers use a metal shank inside the sole obviously to add more support to the shoe. But some other shoemakers (in the same league I may add) don't do this. Is there any real advantage or disadvantage for such use of the metal shank? Also, does it depend on welting techniques?
post #20 of 137
Thanks for taking the time to put this together, it's very informative and interesting.
post #21 of 137
Wow. You should do a YouTube video on shoemaking.
post #22 of 137
DWFII, something that is always on my mind is leather upper quality. What makes a long last durable upper, is it the hide itself, the tanning process, or the care that ultimately makes for a crackless upper? You hear this term breathability all the time, but does leather actually breathe? Is anything you do to an upper mostly cosmetic in the end?

Thanks very much for all of your posts.
post #23 of 137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onix View Post
This is really impressive. It also reminds me why I first came to SF, it's for articles like this. I have a question though: Some shoemakers use a metal shank inside the sole obviously to add more support to the shoe. But some other shoemakers (in the same league I may add) don't do this. Is there any real advantage or disadvantage for such use of the metal shank? Also, does it depend on welting techniques?
Thank you. Re: metal shanks...well, the theory is that any heel height below an inch doesn't need a metal shank. Certainly a five-eighths inch heel wouldn't need it. But personally, I can't see a downside at any heel height except for weight...which would be minimal in any case. So perhaps it is just a "maker's choice" as who should say. Above an inch in heel height...boots for example...and the metal shank is nearly a must (I have seen some exceptions but I never cared for the results). Without it the shoe will collapse in the waist (between the heel and the sole). Without support for the foot between the height of the heel and the ball of the foot, the boot is going to get pretty uncomfortable. I can't see how welting technique would have any bearing .
post #24 of 137
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post
DWFII, something that is always on my mind is leather upper quality. What makes a long last durable upper, is it the hide itself, the tanning process, or the care that ultimately makes for a crackless upper? You hear this term breathability all the time, but does leather actually breathe? Is anything you do to an upper mostly cosmetic in the end? Thanks very much for all of your posts.
We can have all kinds of disagreements about this subject. Bottom line is that all things being equal, the younger the animal the denser the fiber mat that is what we call leather. So...calf is a better leather than cow or bull or what have you. It will crease more evenly is less likely to contain stretch marks, scars, warble holes and other assorted reminders of the hazards of life. The downside is that calf is likely to be thinner than an older animal. So on one hand you have a leather that is refined and supple and so forth and on the other, you have a leather that may be more impervious to hard wear and even superficial damage. Sometimes tannages are tailored to fit the hide. An older animal might get a rougher treatment or a combination of tanning agents to produce a certain effect and might also be oil-stuffed. As for breathability...it is not like air is being pumped in and out of the shoe with each flex or each step. Breathability just refers to the fact that leather will tend to wick moisture away from the foot and towards the ambient atmosphere. That attribute all by itself is one of leather's great strengths, however and AFAIK has never been duplicated in a synthetic. On edit...the type of tannage may have a lot to do with whether a leather is prone to cracking or not. But the finish may have something to do with it as well. Once upon a time shoe were made entirely of vegetable tanned leather...uppers included. After WWI (?) WWII(?), mineral tannages--chrome tans in particular--became the new thing for upper leathers. Today most upper leathers are chrome tanned. One of the reasons chrome tans have dominated is that they stretch better than vegetable tannages. But they also are easier to finish with a flexible and resilient top coat--essentially a paint job...and not necessarily to be dismissed. That said, there is much to recommend using vegetable tans for uppers especially in light of the research and advancements in vegetable extracts for tanning being made. A good deal of European making is done with "crust"--a product which we don't see here in the states. It is my understanding that the crust being used is a veg tan that is undyed...allowing the after-completion finishing and antiquing that is so popular here on SF. Some will tell you that cracking is due to the tannage. Some will tell you it is due to the finishes, some will insist it is the conditioners...or lack thereof...that are used on the shoe after it is completed. There was even an English gentleman of some note , some years/decades back, who asserted that cracking was due to floor level urinals.
post #25 of 137
Eloquently stated as usual. Thank you. I hear that most leather linings are vegetable tanned and uppers are chrome tanned. Does vegetable tanned leathers have more moisture wicking properties as to not absorb as much foot sweat? Also, I have noticed in videos of shoemaking factories leather uppers seem very pliable and flexible, however when you actually purchase a shoe the leather is very stiff. Is this due to just the lasting process, or is it because of the vegetable tanned linings providing most of that stiffness?
post #26 of 137
DW,

My english is not well, it is also very diffcult for me to talk about shoe construction in english too.
But I think you get most of the ideas of what I was talking.

Would you kindly comment on the method of welting on this link?
post #27 of 137
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post
Eloquently stated as usual. Thank you. I hear that most leather linings are vegetable tanned and uppers are chrome tanned. Does vegetable tanned leathers have more moisture wicking properties as to not absorb as much foot sweat? Also, I have noticed in videos of shoemaking factories leather uppers seem very pliable and flexible, however when you actually purchase a shoe the leather is very stiff. Is this due to just the lasting process, or is it because of the vegetable tanned linings providing most of that stiffness?
Patrick, Most vegetable tans do not have a very dense finish--the paint job I was talking about. So naturally the leather is more open and it wicks moisture better. This is especially important since linings are ordinarily turned fully or partially grainside to the foot. As for stiffness...I don't see what you're seeing in the videos. If the leather of the shoe seems more pliable before lasting it may simply be that the addition of toe and heel stiffeners during lasting...plus the three-dimensional shape...makes it seem stiffer after the last is pulled. That said on a really well made shoe, there is usually a "mid-liner" that bridges the distance between the heel stiffener and the toe stiffener to provide extra support (and stiffness) along the side of the shoe. I have never felt that even in top name RTW.
post #28 of 137
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishball View Post
DW, My english is not well, it is also very diffcult for me to talk about shoe construction in english too. But I think you get most of the ideas of what I was talking. Would you kindly comment on the method of welting on this link?
Without seeing the insole prior to inseaming I can't be sure of anything, but it looks like a simple channeled leather construction (not a ribbed holdfast)...although, parenthetically, the stitches do seem further apart than one would like.
post #29 of 137
DWFII, how do you look at vegetable tanned uppers versus chrome tanned uppers? I spoke to a very experienced belt maker who said that there is only one reason to use chrome tanned leathers when working with leather goods: profit margin. Do you agree?
post #30 of 137
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gruto View Post
DWFII, how do you look at vegetable tanned uppers versus chrome tanned uppers? I spoke to a very experienced belt maker who said that there is only one reason to use chrome tanned leathers when working with leather goods: profit margin. Do you agree?
Oh, I don't know. I suppose there's a certain saving using chrome tans but it's probably not significant. Maybe by the time you get done with all the finish work and antiquing, it's more expensive to use veg but everything else being equal the best chromes I've seen were at virtually the same price mark as good vegetable tans. I do think that experienced makers would often rather work with vegetable tannages. Despite the hassle of finishing.
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