Why do you say that? "What I've heard" is what undermines 90% of what you've said here. It's hearsay. Speculation. And just plain wrong --like the Blake-Rapid business. On the other hand, maybe you just weren't listening when someone...maybe someone who incidentally shares my POV--like James Ducker, for instance...told you different.
Ask Nick V. (he's online right now) how hard it is to replace welt on a HW shoe. He's not awfully fond of me and takes issue with a lot of my views, so I have no idea what he'll say. But I've been in and worked in a number of shoe repair shops in my time and never was it a problem.
DW I wouldn't say that I'm "not awfully fond of you". I don't feel that way at all. We differ with many of our opinions. You have your opinions based on your experience and knowledge and mine are based on the same criteria. We have different experiences based on decades in our fields. It's just that when I'm meet with rude remarks and someone trying to shove something down my throat I give it right back to them. No matter who they are. And when it gets to a point where I'm being accused, my integraty being question, only on the basis of total false speculation my gloves come off. Been like that all my life. Nothing personal, I don't even know you.
Any shoe repair shop worth their salt can easily repair/replace a welt. Personally I feel the correct way of doing it is with a last inside the shoe. Either way as mentioned the holes are already there on a HW.
I would like to bring something up that I mentioned a while back.....I don't recall if it was in this thread -or- not.
As I stated many times in the past, from my experience gemming failure happens so infrequently that it's inconsequential. We just fix it on the rare occasions that it occurs. What happens much more frequently (compared to the two) is the the thread used for applying the welt fails. That happens on both GY and HW's. So if you compare the over-all picture regardless if the shoes are gemmed -or- HW it's more likely the thread will fail before anything else.
You could put that in the bank.