Originally Posted by poorsod
What do you look for to differentiate hand vs machine stitched?
This is a hand-stitched sole made the traditional English way. The "˜maker' (the person doing the "˜bottom work') uses a "˜fudge wheel'
which gets pressed into the damp welt and leaves indentation marks. These indentations are his guide where to place the hand stitches: one stitch goes right into every "˜valley' (s/he has different wheels, depending how many stitches he wants to place per inch).
Once the stitching is finished, the same fudge wheel goes right over it again, pressing the stitches deep into every valley. If the second wheeling doesn't hit the original indentations, but creates additional ones, then he is "˜making babies' (bad).
Here is a shoe made by Marcell in Budapest. He uses a different (fork-like) tool, called a "˜stitch marker'
to place his indentations. Again, he stitches into the indentations and once all the stitches are done, he uses the same stitch marker to "˜separate' the stitches and squeeze them down. What both methods have in common, each stitch sits right at the bottom of it's individual indentation.
By contrast, this is stitched by machine: all the stitches sit on top of the welt. There is a wheeling at the outside edge, but this is purely decorative. (There are other industrial methods where hundreds of tiny cuts are placed into the welt to let the stitches sink in.)