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post #13891 of 19067

Travers, you  tell us that " I don't buy...the typical bullshit they call hand grade."

 

Well, Church's, Tricker's and Crockett and Jones (to name but a few) have hangrade or benchmade lines. So those are 'typical bullshit' in your view?

post #13892 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munky View Post
 

Travers, you  tell us that " I don't buy...the typical bullshit they call hand grade."

 

Well, Church's, Tricker's and Crockett and Jones (to name but a few) have hangrade or benchmade lines. So those are 'typical bullshit' in your view?

OMG, did I say "as in believe" above?

 

If I like, I'd buy a pair or two, but as in believing in the typical marketing bullshit, please, no.

 

Please do fully quote the line next time, Munky. 

post #13893 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munky View Post
 

Travers, you  tell us that " I don't buy...the typical bullshit they call hand grade."

 

Well, Church's, Tricker's and Crockett and Jones (to name but a few) have hangrade or benchmade lines. So those are 'typical bullshit' in your view?

And, let's be frank, Munky, the typical bullshit that made it look so negative was the fact that they heavily abused marketing tricks and strategy. I'd completely agree that it's the mass market they were and are aiming towards, but in many senses, they made it look so dirty, it wasn't even fun anymore. Hand grade? Please! More like a few hands passing the shoes around the factories to complete the process.

 

While admitting that they made very good shoes to the standard (Church's book binding was surprisingly good, even for CG shoes), some of them heavily abused the concept to a point where it literally compromised. 

 

They made the names looking so dirty by doing so, and thus, at a glance, instead of making their shoes looking more attractive, they just, indeed, literally smeared them with dirt.

 

Come to think about it, abuse of marketing strategy is so harmful beyond imagination. What is more harmful is when people were so into it, it hurts bad when they realized they've been tricked, and it gets nasty from then on.

post #13894 of 19067

I suspect that  most people who buy G&G also have twenty pairs of shoes, and look after them.  A $200 pair of Loake's Indian-made beaters will no doubt last a long time, too.  What the purists might argue (I'm looking at you, DW), is that a gemmed shoe has a fundamental potential weakness: the welt is sewn to the gemming that is glued to the insole, i.e. the upper and the welt are at some point held together with gum.  And it can fail.  In reality, most people's won't.  But it could.  And in a business of rapidly diminishing returns as you multiply up the purchase price, a $1000 gemmed shoe doesn't make sense to everyone.  Personally, like I said, I'd buy it.  Just not for that price.  G&G's style, their leather, even their quality control perhaps, are better than cheaper shoes.  But on one level, they're the same.  That is all.

 

As for the "bench grade"/"hand grade" thing, they are both marketing terms.  "Hand grade" implies a greater level of hand work by a skilled shoe maker.  I believe that the term "bench grade" exists solely to describe an item that is more industrial in its manufacture than the "hand grade" without making it sound cheap.  But essentially, both terms are bullshit, in that there is no agreed definition of what either one means.  You might as well call them "category A" and "category B".  Or red and blue or first and second class.  What it means exactly - if anything at all - is known only to the maker.

 

But that's no worse than the terribly insincere "hand made".  I believe that hands are involved at some point in making any shoe - even those made entirely on machines.  That would appear to be the minimum definition of those manufacturers that use the term.

post #13895 of 19067
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

I suspect that  most people who buy G&G also have twenty pairs of shoes, and look after them.  A $200 pair of Loake's Indian-made beaters will no doubt last a long time, too.  What the purists might argue (I'm looking at you, DW), is that a gemmed shoe has a fundamental potential weakness: the welt is sewn to the gemming that is glued to the insole, i.e. the upper and the welt are at some point held together with gum.  And it can fail.  In reality, most people's won't.  But it could.  And in a business of rapidly diminishing returns as you multiply up the purchase price, a $1000 gemmed shoe doesn't make sense to everyone.  Personally, like I said, I'd buy it.  Just not for that price.  G&G's style, their leather, even their quality control perhaps, are better than cheaper shoes.  But on one level, they're the same.  That is all.

As for the "bench grade"/"hand grade" thing, they are both marketing terms.  "Hand grade" implies a greater level of hand work by a skilled shoe maker.  I believe that the term "bench grade" exists solely to describe an item that is more industrial in its manufacture than the "hand grade" without making it sound cheap.  But essentially, both terms are bullshit, in that there is no agreed definition of what either one means.  You might as well call them "category A" and "category B".  Or red and blue or first and second class.  What it means exactly - if anything at all - is known only to the maker.

But that's no worse than the terribly insincere "hand made".  I believe that hands are involved at some point in making any shoe - even those made entirely on machines.  That would appear to be the minimum definition of those manufacturers that use the term.

Purist?! Me? lol8[1].gif

But seriously

What makes a purist? Experience? Knowledge? Objectivity? I don't say or argue that if you like or want gemmed footwear you should not satisfy your desires. I say that you should be aware of the inherent weaknesses; that you are paying for planned obsolescence; that you're not, despite appearances and what the manufacturers would have you believe...not getting the kind of quality that your grandfather got.

What makes me say that? Experience? Knowledge? Objectivity? An intimate understanding of the materials and techniques? An understanding that can only be acquired by doing...an understanding that comes "straight from the bench."

For the rest, I agree with you, "hand grade" and "bench grade" are marketing hype for the most part. Esp. when taken out of context. Such terms only assume more meaning when you are able to sift out the deceit and the misinformation. And most of that is due to the inescapable fact that people tend to sweep aside differences or ideas that make them uncomfortable by ignoring commonly accepted definitions for words. They invent their own definitions.

Once upon a time "bench grade" may have meant something specific. Now the language has been so mangled by politicians and PR people that no one knows what it means exactly.

And everyone accepts this state of affairs. Maybe that's what makes me a "purist"...I don't.

That said, "hand sewn" means something specific. "Hand welted" means something specific. "Goodyear welted" means something specific---despite people's wish that it meant something more like "hand welted."

And "hand made"...in the context of a bespoke maker...still means something specific. I don't think it is "insincere" at all. "We have turned our backs to the machine."

Although...in a world of information overload, the tendency is to not let ourselves be pinned down, or held to specific meanings. So almost without knowing it, we dumb down the language...our primary means of communications...until the only meaningful expressions are grunts and chest thumps.

In such a world we're all purists...if only because we all have our own definition of "purist."

---

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 3/5/15 at 5:03am
post #13896 of 19067

You're a purist because of what you think "hand made" should mean.  For what it's worth, I agree with you.

 

And like you said, people should buy what they like, for any number of reasons.  But it's nice to know what one's buying: I believe in always doing stupid things with maximum information. :)

post #13897 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post
 

You're a purist because of what you think "hand made" should mean.  For what it's worth, I agree with you.

 

And like you said, people should buy what they like, for any number of reasons.  But it's nice to know what one's buying: I believe in always doing stupid things with maximum information. :)

cant agree more!!

post #13898 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post

You're a purist because of what you think "hand made" should mean.  For what it's worth, I agree with you.

WADR, I don't agree.

Again, I'm a "purist" because of what you think "purist" should mean.

I think I am what I am because I do what I do and have done it for a long time...no bullshit. I think I am what I am because I have experience and objective knowledge....because I am a traditional, bespoke shoemaker. Plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

Those who are not shoemakers may think that I'm too narrow in my focus but that's what it means to be a "traditional, bespoke shoemaker"...to be craftsman. Focus.
post #13899 of 19067

I'm something of a pragmatist. I would think that we could ignore many of the descriptors that are used in the shoe business and discussed here (bench made, etc.) I would imagine that we don't buy many shoes on the basis of these labels. I would think that we buy shoes a) because we like them, b) because they are affordable - whatever that might mean to the particular buyer and c) because - if we are sensible - we know something about the manufacture of the shoes. 

post #13900 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munky View Post

I'm something of a pragmatist. I would think that we could ignore many of the descriptors that are used in the shoe business and discussed here (bench made, etc.) I would imagine that we don't buy many shoes on the basis of these labels. I would think that we buy shoes a) because we like them, b) because they are affordable - whatever that might mean to the particular buyer and c) because - if we are sensible - we know something about the manufacture of the shoes. 

Two things...

First, I believe that words do matter. and I deplore the dumbing down of the language.

Second, at risk of being called a purist, I would only ask...how pragmatic is it to knowingly buy into a product, or culture, that is based on, dependent on, "planned obsolescence?"
post #13901 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimo View Post
 

I suspect that  most people who buy G&G also have twenty pairs of shoes, and look after them.  A $200 pair of Loake's Indian-made beaters will no doubt last a long time, too.  What the purists might argue (I'm looking at you, DW), is that a gemmed shoe has a fundamental potential weakness: the welt is sewn to the gemming that is glued to the insole, i.e. the upper and the welt are at some point held together with gum.  And it can fail.  In reality, most people's won't.  But it could.  And in a business of rapidly diminishing returns as you multiply up the purchase price, a $1000 gemmed shoe doesn't make sense to everyone.  Personally, like I said, I'd buy it.  Just not for that price.  G&G's style, their leather, even their quality control perhaps, are better than cheaper shoes.  But on one level, they're the same.  That is all.

 

As for the "bench grade"/"hand grade" thing, they are both marketing terms.  "Hand grade" implies a greater level of hand work by a skilled shoe maker.  I believe that the term "bench grade" exists solely to describe an item that is more industrial in its manufacture than the "hand grade" without making it sound cheap.  But essentially, both terms are bullshit, in that there is no agreed definition of what either one means.  You might as well call them "category A" and "category B".  Or red and blue or first and second class.  What it means exactly - if anything at all - is known only to the maker.

 

But that's no worse than the terribly insincere "hand made".  I believe that hands are involved at some point in making any shoe - even those made entirely on machines.  That would appear to be the minimum definition of those manufacturers that use the term.

I don't know much about GG (apart from the fact they carried a very conservative model of balmoral boots), but their gemmed shoes seems to be of some top grade. Again, either they have a model I am so in love with, or their price just made it so attractive (bespoke England has got a very interesting payment program).

 

JM Weston had some of the weirdest gemming that seems to last, but I don't know. This I have to ask some of JM Weston's owners.

post #13902 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


WADR, I don't agree.

Again, I'm a "purist" because of what you think "purist" should mean.

I think I am what I am because I do what I do and have done it for a long time...no bullshit. I think I am what I am because I have experience and objective knowledge....because I am a traditional, bespoke shoemaker. Plain and simple. Nothing more, nothing less.

Those who are not shoemakers may think that I'm too narrow in my focus but that's what it means to be a "traditional, bespoke shoemaker"...to be craftsman. Focus.

I think besides being traditional, you gotta admit this, DW, you're quite conservative as well, but that was all by positive means. 

post #13903 of 19067

DWF

As you well know, words change according to the way they are used. As a philosopher in the last century said, 'meaning is use'. 

 

Buying shoes that have 'built in obsolescence built  can be pragmatic. For example, the younger person might buy such shoes, knowing that they don't cost much and can be replaced. And, of course, built in or otherwise, every material thing is 'naturally' obsolescent.'  We can put off the wearing out of something through the use of highly skilled workmanship (such as yours) but we cannot put off, for ever, the fact of something wearing out. 

 

AND...I think you know all of this!  :) 

post #13904 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by traverscao View Post

I think besides being traditional, you gotta admit this, DW, you're quite conservative as well, but that was all by positive means. 



All that means is that I'm not a flibberty-gibbit running off after every new (read different) thing like a teenaged girl in spring.

Conservative is another word for 'thoughtful."
post #13905 of 19067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munky View Post

DWF
As you well know, words change according to the way they are used. As a philosopher in the last century said, 'meaning is use'. 

Buying shoes that have 'built in obsolescence built  can be pragmatic. For example, the younger person might buy such shoes, knowing that they don't cost much and can be replaced. And, of course, built in or otherwise, every material thing is 'naturally' obsolescent.'  We can put off the wearing out of something through the use of highly skilled workmanship (such as yours) but we cannot put off, for ever, the fact of something wearing out. 

AND...I think you know all of this!  smile.gif  

If "meaning is use" then what is using a word incorrectly, or indifferently, or deceptively? The meanings of words don't change just because some one individual or one segment of society decided they can twist the meaning to their own ends (or, at least they shouldn't). IMO, it's "use" alright--it's using the instinctive trust that people want to have in the language and each other to manipulate.

And no, I don't agree that buying shoes for nebulous or impetuous or even transitory reasons is pragmatic. Those may all be valid reasons for any particular individual but if you knowingly buy into a product...or, again, a manner of thinking...that deliberately misrepresents and actively pursues failure of the product, that is not pragmatic or practical by any definition. It might be supremely gratifying but not pragmatic.

And, in that context, I must draw your attention to the fact that I stipulated "planned" obsolescence--referring to the deliberate choice of less than optimal techniques or materials to create premature failure and thus bolster aggregate sales. The whole of the fashion world is predicated on this approach. Shoes are not exempt. Men's fashions are not exempt. Men's shoes are not exempt.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/5/15 at 9:34am
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