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shoe construction...behind the veil - Page 103

post #1531 of 1611
Thanks, all.
post #1532 of 1611
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post

This is a combination leather/construction question. What leather and construction would the makers here recommend for a shoe/boot intended to be worn in city winters, where they will be subject to snow, ice and slush and, worse of all, road salt? Can anything be expected to perform well in those conditions and not dry out and crack? If reasonable care is required, e.g., wipe clean, occasional conditioning, that is o.k. Complicated care, like frequent soaks in vinegar solution followed by ph testing and heating with conditioners is not o.k.

In my experience simple pebble grain, or scotch grain (or any stamped grain for that matter) works well in snow. I have a pair of boots Ron Rider made for me years ago in scotch grain that I wear exclusively in the snow and they are still looking great, in fact they are wearing better than my shoes that don't get wet, get conditioned, and love. Go figure. I guess the stamping of the grain seals the pores and such. Admittedly if they get very dirty after daily use for a while when it gets bad, I clean them off, use reno and bull the toes and heel.

Then there is the corrected-grain boogeyman option...
post #1533 of 1611

Morning All,

As this thread is ‘Behind the Veil’, I thought you might be interested in how I re-ferbished my personal pair of shoes, as the way they are constructed directly relates to what I was able to do with them.

 

 

 

 

I made this pair a bit over a year ago (on the first lasts I'd made, and they need some altering), and in that time I have worn them for around 5,100 hours, around the house, in the garden, feeding the animals, walking (and sometimes running if I’m late) down the street, moving furniture, welding (though just the once; I thought better of it after that :) ) etc. To put that into a days context, that’s 14 hours per day, 7 days a week for the last 365 days. If they were used as dress shoes for two evenings a week, at 7 hours each night, that’s 7 years worth of wear. There are a lot of dirt and rocks in our area and, though I have tried to be aware of where my feet were, there have been the odd miss-haps with them with people stepping on the toes, and I put a steel filing cabinet down too close to myself......
We were due to exhibit at a ‘Lost Trades Fair’ and I wanted to be able to show them ‘as worn’ and ‘re-furbished’. I use Saphir Dark Brown polish on them, and so to remove it I used paper towelling, dampened with Pure Turps (pine turpentine), trying not to make the leather too wet with it. 
 DW and I use leather to make our toe puffs (boxes) and heel stiffeners. This, combined with the Herschkleber Paste I use to bond and stiffen them, means that it is possible to soak them down and re-shape them. The vamp on this pair isn’t lined (Summer shoes) but the quarters are. In order to, originally, keep the toe puff in place, I used a thin bead of latex glue along it’s skived leading edge (going across near the root of my toes) sticking it to the inside of the vamp. This isn’t water soluble once dry, and bonds well. The rest was liberally coated in the paste. As the quarters are lined I just pasted inside the quarters and lining, and both sides of the counter (stiffener) and slipped it in place prior to lasting. If heat, or solvent activated, synthetic stiffeners had been used, I don’t think much could be done to re-shape them
 
These photos show the bulk of the polish removed and the darkish line going across the tip of the toe is where the filing cabinet caught them.
 

 

 

 

  And a side view. The one on the left is re-furbished, the right is after all the little miss-haps of every day wear.

 

 

 

Several weeks after I’d first made them I accidentally stepped on the back of the right shoe in the dark, when I got up in the middle of the night. That was disappointing…
 

 

 

 

It took about 3/4hour of squirting, and rubbing in, water, inside and out, in the toe and heel areas for the leather to become soft enough for me to be confident the paste had liquified and the re-forming would work smoothly. Bodes well for if I get caught in the rain. I talced the insides of the shoes, as the paste does soak through the leather to some extent (not something you notice in wearing), and re-fitted my lasts. 
A couple of smooth bones were used to rub out the wrinkles (esp. in the heel areas) and generally smooth the leather and re-profile the toes.
After shot of the crushed toe above.
 

 

 

 

The arch area had taken a bit of a beating, and the design was no longer easy to see, so I scraped back the surface,

 

 

 Re-burnished in ‘resist’ lines ( to provide a bit of a barrier to the leather dye) with a bone ‘stitch prick’ tool,

 

 

 Then re-dyed, and used hot tools and brown ‘Parade Gloss’ and Neutral shoe polish to finish.

 

 

 

 

Open to suggestions on improving the shank area  :) There were a lot of ‘dings’ and dirt.
 
The edges of the soles and stacked heels were scraped and sanded and old edging irons, dipped in brown Parade Gloss polish, brought into play to improve the edge finish. I was experimenting when I first made these, and was low on soling leather, so the heels, sole and internal shank are just made out of hammered insole leather. As such it’s a bit harder to get a crisp square edge around the sole, but the shank has shown no inclination to ‘drop’ in the arch. New heel rubbers and treads were also put on.
 
This is the crushed heel I showed above.
 

 

Based on a comment I remember from one of my 1800’s shoemaking books (though couldn’t find it when I tried to double check), I wiped a coat of thin paste over the outside of the quarters and toes, when they were majority dry, and then wiped the surplice off with a damp cloth. I think this should provide a little extra rigidity and a smother surface. Saphir Mahogany shoe-cream went on first, and buffed off, followed by Saphir Dark Brown polish. I think the level of shine, from my basic, quick polishing, is better than when I first made them. 

 

 

 

I did not re-dye the uppers, as a result of which there is a slight ‘antiquing’ of the colouration where there were wrinkles and the turps had taken more of my original dye off. See previous heel photo above.
 
I haven’t tried this level of re-furbishment before, but the results are very encouraging.  And, yes, there are moulded ‘ankle bumps’ in the upper :)
 

 

 

 

 

I hope this has been interesting, and not too much of a marathon.
Thank you for your time.
Cheers
Duncan
post #1534 of 1611
Phenomenal and thanks for taking us along.

Regards.
post #1535 of 1611
Duncan, that is awesome. What kind of uppers are those?
post #1536 of 1611

Thanks Shikar and Patrick.

The uppers are all Veg. Kangaroo, as are the heel and toe stiffeners. Even though Packer Tannery's 'roo is very soft, it has worked out OK for this task. Recently, on the recommendation of a fellow shoemaker, Brendan Dwyer, I have bought a veg. 'roo from another tannery, specifically for heels and toes as it is quite stiff to begin with; the difference is like cloth verses card. I'm looking forward to using it on my up-comming orders. See comparison photo below; I'm holding the two hides in the same way and place.

Cheers

 

 

post #1537 of 1611
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by duncanbootmaker View Post

Thanks Shikar and Patrick.
The uppers are all Veg. Kangaroo, as are the heel and toe stiffeners. Even though Packer Tannery's 'roo is very soft, it has worked out OK for this task. Recently, on the recommendation of a fellow shoemaker, Brendan Dwyer, I have bought a veg. 'roo from another tannery, specifically for heels and toes as it is quite stiff to begin with; the difference is like cloth verses card. I'm looking forward to using it on my up-comming orders. See comparison photo below; I'm holding the two hides in the same way and place.
Cheers

Duncan,

Great set of posts.

Re: the stiff 'roo...care to share?
post #1538 of 1611
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Duncan,

Great set of posts.

Re: the stiff 'roo...care to share?


There's a tannery near the regional city of Ballarat (State of Victoria, Aust.), called Greenhalgh, that still tan with Wattle bark ( an Australian native tree). Their bovine hides are quite malleable and have a fine texture (I use it for insoles etc), but the 'roo hides, for some reason, are quite hard. I ruled out using their 'roo, years ago, on account of this characteristic, until Brendan Dwyer told me he used it for heel and toe stiffeners. "Duh" moment :)  The hide, above post, will see me through quite a few pair.

Cheers

post #1539 of 1611
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by duncanbootmaker View Post


There's a tannery near the regional city of Ballarat (State of Victoria, Aust.), called Greenhalgh, that still tan with Wattle bark ( an Australian native tree). Their bovine hides are quite malleable and have a fine texture (I use it for insoles etc), but the 'roo hides, for some reason, are quite hard. I ruled out using their 'roo, years ago, on account of this characteristic, until Brendan Dwyer told me he used it for heel and toe stiffeners. "Duh" moment smile.gif   The hide, above post, will see me through quite a few pair.
Cheers

Ballerat...interesting, that's where the Dr. Blake series was filmed. Still waiting for him to propose to Jean. rolleyes.gif
post #1540 of 1611
Thread Starter 
BTW...your signature, Duncan, is spot on.
post #1541 of 1611
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Ballerat...interesting, that's where the Dr. Blake series was filmed. Still waiting for him to propose to Jean. rolleyes.gif


My wife, Sandra, pointed out it would be an element of 'dramatic tension', so you might be waiting a while :D Nice to see some Aussie stuff being enjoyed over at your end. We live about 35kms away from where they film. And this week a re-make of 'Picnic at Hanging Rock' is being filmed 1/2 a block down the street from us. I can see preparations out my workroom window.

But we digress...

My signature was in answer to a supportive comment, a few pages ago, about very fine hand sewing, and it seemed my brain was working well that day, and I was happy with how the words came out, so...

post #1542 of 1611
Duncan, are you saying you put a fine coat of paste on the uppers of the leather in the toe and heel? Could you clarify?

Also, could you post a closeup of that swirly stitching design those look to have?
post #1543 of 1611

G'day Patrick,

Yes. To the best of my memory, in my most frequently referred to shoemaking textbook, Paul Hasluck's 'Bootmaking and Mending' from 1896, there is a comment towards the completion of the shoes to put a thin coat of paste over the outside of the toes. My guess is that it soaks in and imparts a little more rigidity, but the feeling I got from it's context, is that it's primary purpose is to smooth out the surface so you can get a better shine, to which end I think it's worked. Mind you I've been looking at the Japanese Bespoke thread here, and the polish some of those guys can get is amazing. I continue to learn :) 

I diluted some paste and, when the leather was mostly dry, with the hope it would suck in the paste, spread it on the toe, and also the heel cup (figured the extra firmness and shine there wouldn't go astray), then wiped off the surface with a damp cloth. Once all dry I then, with a heat gun on low about 1 1/2 feet away, I applied dark brown polish with a soft paintbrush (my new favourite applicator), left it for a while then buffed with t-shirt and horsehair brush.

 

 

It turned out it's very hard to get a good pic of the stitching, the shine etc. keeps getting in the way :) 

 

 


These also show, very clearly, the lack of sewing holes visible when you hand sew with a hand rolled thread.

 

Here's a view from inside the shoe that's a bit clearer.

 

 

One of the nice things about Veg. tanned kangaroo, is that, when cut with a very sharp knife, the edges polish up to a high finish without turning them due to the extremely fine texture. The next two photos are plain cut edges.

 

 

Cheers

Duncan

post #1544 of 1611
Amazing Duncan! Thanks as always!
post #1545 of 1611
Thanks for sharing @duncanbootmaker. Your posts are always a great read.

I notice that you add vibrams to your outsole. I am just wondering, what do you feel about this, and about what it does to the breathability of the leather? Do you think it would ultimately be detrimental?

Not judging, just curious.
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