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Sole Welting - Page 56

post #826 of 1182
I've been out of the loop of this thread (pun intended) as I have been in Cambodia but this thread as inspired me to consider a coffee table book of gemming pictures. Don't worry it will be produced in the good ole US of A by machine, appropriately.
post #827 of 1182
Cambodia is an awesome place to visit. The living conditions very sad unfortunately. I know a couple shoe factories there; despite all those bad press about 3rd world blood/sweatshops, people working there do make more money and enjoy better live than their peers.
post #828 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

No, I questioned why you posted the link...to what point?! To what purpose?

And yes, I do consider myself a bigger and better authority than you...on this subject or any other subject dealing with shoemaking. I don't care how many third party observers and pop culture raconteurs you've interviewed or schmoozed.

And I damn sure consider people like June Swann and Al Saguto--and others who have spent their entire lives...devoted, dedicated...their entire lives to researching, testing, validating, and understanding the intricacies and the histories and antecedents of shoemaking...and yes, again and again and again, getting their hands dirty-- in fact, not in fantasy...bigger and better authorities than all the kibitzers, contrarians, charlatans and outright bored-and-looking-for-a-fight poseurs who know nothing about the issues that they presume to pontificate and conjure phantasms around. And who, while having a right to comment and share, ought to have better sense. Or, at least, the grace to be ashamed of themselves.

You bet!

[Fact of the matter is, I don't remember having said anything of the sort...my philosophy is that ignorance is never to be trumpeted, esp. without qualification, and have said so explicitly and repeatedly.]

There must be a better use of time than to spend all this energy actively seeking to refute unimpeachable sources like June Swann for no more valid reason than the sake of argumentativeness. Because if you comb this thread and particularly focus on the energy expended by all the usual suspects, what really stands out is the number (a small but avid number) of people who have, in all the blather, added nothing of objective substance except controversy and contentiousness.

All of it truly is "a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

And once you take away all the air...the oxygen...from the repeated oxymorons, contradictions, and argument for argument's sake, all that is left is the morons.

--

Very well said, DW
post #829 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrybrowne View Post


Bespoke shoes are also significantly lighter in my experience.

Don't say that too loud! - Another point DW furiously disputes.
post #830 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Don't say that too loud! - Another point DW furiously disputes.

Well at least for me it is true. I have never asked specifically for this, but it happens. I'm going to ask why this is the case next week when I am in London.

Anywhere I should go visit aside from the usual suspects?
post #831 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Don't say that too loud! - Another point DW furiously disputes.

Another mis-interpretation. This is why for all the good info you contribute and and all the knowledge you do have you'll always be a shoe groupie--because understanding escapes you. You can't put it all together. It's all theory to you with no practical or wax-under-the-fingernails experience.

If you manufacture a shoe using 7 iron leather or leatherboard insoles, a partial cloth lining, resin impregnated cardboard toe and heel stiffeners and plastic or stacked paperboard heels...and a good many are, in part or entirely...it literally, by the laws of physics, has to be lighter than a shoe made with a 9-10 iron leather insole, leather lining, stacked leather heels, leather heel and toe stiffeners and the additional, seldom-if-ever-used-in-RTW, leather mid-liners.

What goes missing...and I made this same observation in this same context before...is the idea that a bespoke shoe will most often come closer to fitting your foot than RTW. Because of that, the bespoke shoe will move with the foot as if it were part of your foot.. And its weight will go unnoticed.

If a shoe does not fit correctly (heel to ball length, heel seat and tread width, etc.) the foot will shift around inside the shoe a bit and the shoe will not move when the foot moves.The discrepancy in fit may seem minor...even unnoticeable...but if you take a step, for instance, and the heel of the foot comes up out of the heel of the shoe--even a little, the shoe does not fit properly and is not moving with the foot.

And it will seem heavier.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/14 at 5:30am
post #832 of 1182
well put, DWFII, never thought of it like that about the weight of the shoes before. smile.gif
post #833 of 1182
It is possible to make a bespoke shoe that is lighter in weight than a similar RTW shoe. I don't deny that. I can make a shoe using 2 ounce kangaroo for the uppers and a similar weight of leather for the lining. That will cut a lot of weight when compared to a shoe made with a 4 ounce kudu and a 3 ounce lining. And we can quibble about these things til the cows come home. In the end, it don't signify.

I am passionate about things that are created by human hands and human hearts. Bespoke shoes and hand welted inseams fall into that category if only by comparison with everything else in the world of shoes.

But the inescapable fact is that leather is sold by weight and if...as the demands of "profit and loss" dictate...a maker or manufacturer decides to use a thinner leather for insoles simply because they need not bear the rigours of handwelting, it will not only cost the company less, it will reduce the weight of the required insoles by comparison to what was being used before.

Wasn't it Einstein who proposed a "Unified Theory?"

In shoemaking, as with so many other endeavors that require physical involvement, the Grand Unifying Theory is the work itself.

It doesn't make any difference how many books you read.

It doesn't make any difference how many sketches you've made or how many standards you've drawn up--these are just incompletely fleshed out fantasies. So you take a pencil and you make a sketch...or more elaborately, you make a standard. And suddenly you're telling yourself "Now I are a shoemaker!" ??!!

It doesn't make any difference how many shoes you own. Or even how many...if any, actually...you've taken apart and cobbled back together.

All of that is undeniably valuable...as far as it goes.

But only when you've made a shoe from start to finish...from conception to realization...and tested it--tested your ideas about fit, about structural stability, about functionality, about durability, etc., over and over and over again, does it all start to gel. To form a gestalt. Only then, does understanding come.

You can't declare yourself, or pose as, or pretend to be an expert (in any field)--you have to work for it and pay your dues.

And presuming to give advice to people earnestly seeking answers without that understanding; or questioning the credentials of people who have dedicated their entire lives to testing, validating...doing the work, paying the dues....in search of that understanding, is petty pretense, pure and simple.

I think bespoke, hand-welted shoes are the apex of the shoemakers craft / Trade / art, whatever. But I'm not going to defend straw men or principles that I know aren't true simply for the sake of making bespoke shoes into some some sort of Holy Grail.

Fit is an important reason for having a bespoke shoe made esp. if you have difficult to fit feet. But it is not the only reason, it may not be even reason number two. I could probably build a significant case...maybe I already have...for bespoke being the only way to get a correct fit. And in a world where even people like Bengal Stripe don't know their own heel to ball measurement or their tread and heel seat width, I could probably make it stick. But lots of people get a satisfactory fit...even if only by happenstance...from RTW. They fit themselves...and if they fit themselves wrong they had better be satisfied because there's no one else to take responsibility

I'm not going to tell anyone that bespoke will always be lighter than RTW, because it won't. Some bespoke shoes will be lighter than others. Some RTW shoes will be lighter than others. Some bespoke shoes will be lighter than RTW.

But none of that is a principle worth generalizing about much less a Unified Theory .

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/14 at 8:25am
post #834 of 1182
I sure hope more "shoe groupies" like bengal-stripe participate in this thread. Such contributions are invaluable to the ends of both accuracy and balance, IMO.
post #835 of 1182
My two cents on a topic raised by DW somewhere in this thread. As I recall, DW said that one of the advantages of a handsewn welt is that it makes for a simpler repair job, usually, than a gemmed welt if for no other reason that access to the original last is less necessary to ensure stability since the rib should remain in place. That makes sense to me as an abstract matter, but what I struggle with is that despite the theoretically lower cost of a simpler repair job, the coat of ownership of a bespoke shoe is pretty high. Where exactly can I go to get the soles replaced on a pair of bespoke shoes? Does Nick do it? Will I get as beautifully closed seams? Does he charge less than a Goodyear welt repair because it is easier? I know the stitching on my is handsewn shoes is finer than on the work he usually does on GyW. Dies that mean it will cost me more? Ercolino charges $400 last I checked? That's not nothing. I don't even know how much the London shops charge to resolve their own shoes, but I would expect as much as Perry or more. Anyone have an idea? Anyone know where else one can go to do a resole on a handsewn shoe? And what kind of work do you get if you use a cobbler rather than sending it to the maker?

Does anyone have experience with the long-term cost of ownership of bespoke or handsewn shoes. My oldest pair is about 17 years old, from Seville. When I noticed some wear, I was concerned about how to get then repaired and decide to just put a Topy on them. They are paddock boots so the appearance wasn't a concern. But I certainly didn't want to worry about ruining them with a bad repair.
post #836 of 1182

Everyone can do a resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes. A good resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes is rarer. A perfect resoling requires the original last and is better done by the original maker.

 

The standard way used by (roman) cobblers is simply to level the old sole, glue a new half sole, skive the joint between old and new and call it a day. Someone, feeling a bit more careful, will actually do a pass with a Blake machine, regardless of the original construction. That's why they don't see much work out of Topys and rubber heels...


For me, worrying about resoling a pair of bespoke shoes is like worrying about the standard manutention on a Mercedes: its a necessary cost, if you want to enjoy it completely.

post #837 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalzolaiFeF View Post
 

Everyone can do a resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes. A good resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes is rarer. A perfect resoling requires the original last and is better done by the original maker.

 

The standard way used by (roman) cobblers is simply to level the old sole, glue a new half sole, skive the joint between old and new and call it a day. Someone, feeling a bit more careful, will actually do a pass with a Blake machine, regardless of the original construction. That's why they don't see much work out of Topys and rubber heels...


For me, worrying about resoling a pair of bespoke shoes is like worrying about the standard manutention on a Mercedes: its a necessary cost, if you want to enjoy it completely.

 

Good info (and good question, dopey).  Do you have any idea of the range of cost for the perfect resoling of a bespoke shoe - using the original last / done by the original maker?

post #838 of 1182

It's a hard question, because there are quite a lot of variables: stitches per inch, state of the shoe*, age of the shoe, type of sole requested...


We usually charge about a fifth of the original price for our shoes.
 

 



*once a customer brought us an Alden tassel loafer, repaired by someone who clearly hated his work: the first cobbler had sanded away all the stitches, before reglueing a new sole with cyanoacrilate (!). Maybe the hardest reparation we've ever done.

post #839 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalzolaiFeF View Post

Everyone can do a resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes. A good resoling on a pair of bespoke shoes is rarer. A perfect resoling requires the original last and is better done by the original maker.

The standard way used by (roman) cobblers is simply to level the old sole, glue a new half sole, skive the joint between old and new and call it a day. Someone, feeling a bit more careful, will actually do a pass with a Blake machine, regardless of the original construction. That's why they don't see much work out of Topys and rubber heels...

For me, worrying about resoling a pair of bespoke shoes is like worrying about the standard manutention on a Mercedes: its a necessary cost, if you want to enjoy it completely.

All of that's true...but what is not being mentioned is that in English, and then American shoemaking Traditions, making and repairing were two separate and sacrosanct trades, as I understand it. Shoemakers worked with new leather and cobblers worked with used leather. And never the twin did meet...by law. And by law, cobblers were not allowed to make shoes unless they had passed muster with one of the shoemaking guilds.

In today's world we may find that not only unfathomable but unfair. But the point is that shoemakers, understanding that shoes were a device that facilitated mobility, evolved the shoe...maybe only by serendipity... so that it could be repaired / re-soled without access to the original last.

And what's also gone missing is the fact that all other things being equal, a handwelted shoe can be repaired far closer to the original specs, without the last, than a GY welted shoe can. Sometimes the difference may be marginal...mostly as it relates to the skill of the cobbler...but it is there. The manufacturers acknowledge that fact when they void their warranties if you do not send your shoes back to the factory for recrafting.

Any competent shoe repairman can repair any damage to the insole or welt, and position an outsole near-as-nevermind perfectly on a HW shoe...all, without the original last, and with little fear of distorting the shoe. The rest is up to the skill of the cobbler. Outseam sewing can be done, by hand...as it is done in bespoke--with channeled outseam and at a remarkably tight frequency. Don't need a last for that, either..

It makes no sense to make good the enemy of the perfect.

And yes, it will cost you---I'm not a paragon or a speedster by any means, but sewing outseam at 11-12spi, by hand, generally takes four plus hours per shoe (and that doesn't count channeling the outsole or closing the channel)...versus 5 minutes per pair if I sew it by machine.

--
Edited by DWFII - 2/3/14 at 10:37am
post #840 of 1182
Quote:
Originally Posted by CalzolaiFeF View Post
 

It's a hard question, because there are quite a lot of variables: stitches per inch, state of the shoe*, age of the shoe, type of sole requested...


We usually charge about a fifth of the original price for our shoes.
 

 



*once a customer brought us an Alden tassel loafer, repaired by someone who clearly hated his work: the first cobbler had sanded away all the stitches, before reglueing a new sole with cyanoacrilate (!). Maybe the hardest reparation we've ever done.

 

Thanks.  I figured there would be a number of variables, which is why I asked for a range - and your 1/5 of original cost does at least give me some idea..  Appreciated.  It does tend to inform dopeys question about the comparative cost and convenience of resoling GYW versus hand welt.

 

And yes - your experience with the Alden loafers is not nearly so unusual as one would hope.  And the sad part is that many of the customers / victims of such shoddy work are none the wiser.

 

This is why I would rather spend the extra $ to ship my shoes to someone like Nick at B. Nelson for quality work.  Sadly, the one local cobbler whom I would trust with anything more than the most basic work has retired.

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