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Brass Nails used to impede shoe wear - Page 2

post #16 of 89

I have been using that anti slip tape method for a few months now. So far it is working great. It does fine in wet weather. It protects the sole and improves traction on smooth floors and carpet. I have only walked on ice once with the tape in place. I was careful and did not slip, but it is too soon to tell how well it works for winter wear. I use grey tape, rather than black. I think it looks better. Much cheaper than rubber sole protectors, and does not make the shoe hot. I find the sole protectors provide so much insulation that they get make the shoes uncomfortable.

post #17 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

I have been using that anti slip tape method for a few months now. So far it is working great. It does fine in wet weather. It protects the sole and improves traction on smooth floors and carpet. I have only walked on ice once with the tape in place. I was careful and did not slip, but it is too soon to tell how well it works for winter wear. I use grey tape, rather than black. I think it looks better. Much cheaper than rubber sole protectors, and does not make the shoe hot. I find the sole protectors provide so much insulation that they get make the shoes uncomfortable.

Interesting, never heard of this before.

post #18 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by onix View Post

As a related discussion, this is how I solved my problem, nearly 3 years ago (see original discussion). They worked beautifully. I now don't do that anymore, since I now have enough shoes in my rotation.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

img6743l.jpg

 

Interesting, looks like a pretty decent DYI alternative.

post #19 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by upintheair View Post

I spent some time chatting with a bespoke shoe maker when i visited Florence (her site http://www.saskiascarpesumisura.com/it/) and she was of the opinion that nails in the heels are purely decorative and do nothing for increasing longevity in the sole. She will add nails for the shoes she makes for display purposes but doesn't for any of the actual shoes for her clients.

Brass nails do slow down the wear on leather heels, and, provided they do not cut the inseam, could do the same for leather soles. The brass is harder than the leather but not so hard as to cause significant slipping.

Brass nails in rubber are borderline ridiculous.

Solid brass nails are expensive and good ones hard to find.
post #20 of 89

Some people asked for details on the anti slip tape, so here it is

 

I use 3M anti slip tape. It is available from Amazon. I first got a short 2 inch wide roll. This is somewhat of a hassle, since it takes several strips to cover the sole. However, 4 inch and wider rolls are available only in very long lengths. I wanted to make sure I liked it before spending that much. Once I decided I liked it I found a source that sells rolls in 4 and 6 inch widths. The 6 inch was too expensive, so I got 4 inch. I will see whether I can find where I got it. Using the 4 inch, my material cost is a little under $2 per pair.

 

The AAAC poster "Crownship" gave detailed instructions, but basically you lightly scuff the sole, apply glue (2 coats), then apply the anti slip tape. Trim the edges with small scissors. It pays to be very careful about fully coating the sole with glue, since the edges are where peeling occurs. Crownship used rubber cement. I tried that, but it does not hold all that well. He used tiny nails to tack down the edges when they came up. I picked up some Barge cement from my cobbler, but it is also available from Amazon. I used the new toluene free (blue tube) version. Apparently the old (yellow) version had higher VOC but also held better. I find the blue stuff works very well, so I am not considering a switch.

 

If you use rubber cement, you apply one coat, let it dry ~ 10-15 minutes, then apply a second coat and put on the tape immediately. You get a few seconds while it binds and you can reposition the tape during that time. If you use Barge, you apply one coat, let it set ~15-20 minutes, apply a second coat, wait another 15-20 minutes, then apply tape. It will bind instantly, so be very careful of the position of the tape, you will not be able to change it.

 

I don't know how much it matters, but I put the tape on the center first, carefully smooth it towards the edges, then first press, then lightly pound it in with a hammer. I saw a cobbler hammering a glue down resole, so I figured it was worth a try. He was really banging hard, which I am not willing to do to my shoes.

 

The first shoes I did have now had 15 wears 6 of these one wet pavement, 3 of those with long walks (~2 miles) on wet pavement. No detectable wear yet.

 

I also tried Jessup safety tape, which comes in a translucent version. It lets the original color of the sole show through, but it does not seem to be nearly as sturdy.

 

DWFII,

 

Always interested in anything you have to say. Why are brass nails in rubber ridiculous? Is the problem brass, specifically, or putting any nails in rubber? I can find brass nails listed online that don't seem that pricey. How would we do it ourself types know good from bad nails?

thanks

post #21 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

DWFII,
Always interested in anything you have to say. Why are brass nails in rubber ridiculous? Is the problem brass, specifically, or putting any nails in rubber? I can find brass nails listed online that don't seem that pricey. How would we do it ourself types know good from bad nails?
thanks

Well, because if the nail itself is left exposed in order to create a foil to abrasion, then the nail is not really holding the rubber in place. So it loses that function. Since the rubber is not hard enough to support the nail which, being brass is a softer metal, bends easily.

Most readily available brass nails are really just plated so be aware. And what solid brass nails that there are online, are generally not suitable for shoemaking purposes.

I myself did find some online but I must have searched every nail and fastener company on the net. IIRC, I finally found something that was close to what I wanted at Marsh Fastener. But subsequently I bought the last two boxes of old stock solid brass nails from Gurney--a company that has for many years specialized in shoe nails. They're the best. I think each box weighs a quarter of a pound and cost more than $30.00 each.

Such nails may be more readily available in other countries--the UK, for instance.

Length is important, esp. if you intend to use them in the outsole, as is the diameter/gauge of the wire and the size of the head. The cross-section is important too--round, oval, square. All that and the way it works with the material of the shoe has to be taken into consideration.

Iron or steel nails are so hard that not only does the leather wear away faster than the nail (as it does with the brass although to a lesser extent) but iron or steel is also generally harder than most surfaces that we walk on. Or at least hard enough that the heads of iron nails tend to become like small ball bearings underfoot.

Solid brass is softer. Even on hard cement it is soft enough to actually adhere a bit to the sidewalk. In that sense it is a lot like the solid aluminum sheet metal screws (also rare and expensive) that I use on the bottom of my wading boots. Even on slime covered basalt and granite-like boulders, aluminum will grip. Steel, even carbide steel, will tend to slide until it hits a crack or rough spot that it can catch on.

The famous "Kitchen Table" in the Kitchen Pool on the storied North Umpqua River is almost silver with the residue of aluminum cleats of some sort and the passage of many anglers.
post #22 of 89
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the thorough information DWFII. If you had to wager a suitable nail length for inserting into the outsole and serving as toe tap, what would it be? I assume for the heel portion, I would simple aim for a nail long enough to pass the rubber and enter into the leather?

post #23 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Well, because if the nail itself is left exposed in order to create a foil to abrasion, then the nail is not really holding the rubber in place. So it loses that function. Since the rubber is not hard enough to support the nail which, being brass is a softer metal, bends easily.
Most readily available brass nails are really just plated so be aware. And what solid brass nails that there are online, are generally not suitable for shoemaking purposes.
I myself did find some online but I must have searched every nail and fastener company on the net. IIRC, I finally found something that was close to what I wanted at Marsh Fastener. But subsequently I bought the last two boxes of old stock solid brass nails from Gurney--a company that has for many years specialized in shoe nails. They're the best. I think each box weighs a quarter of a pound and cost more than $30.00 each.

It is dead simple to order solid brass tacks and nails from Gurney's website, and quite frankly I would consider it highway robbery to have to pay $30+ for a 1/4LB box of them.

AFAIK Gurney's site has been around for a while too, so no idea on why you werent able to find it.

http://www.dbgurney.com/product.php?productid=18206&cat=274&page=1 - This is what I would use as a "heel tap" to prevent wear at the back edge, on a typical dress shoe heel.
8 Ounces (~1100 Individual pieces) for $23, not bad if you are splitting with someone, as it is a tremendous quantity of nails.

I've had no problem with odd wear or deformation when driving them into rubber heels, we are talking about dress shoe heels and lifts here, not crepe rubber soles or anything silly like that.

There is even another leather craft supply e-tailer selling 1 Ounce quantities for $4.00 (Approx. 65-100 pieces, depending on length).
post #24 of 89


Here is another picture of the bottom of a Vass shoe, showing the nails in rubber.

I've had the same done on plenty of similar shoes, no problem.
post #25 of 89
Thread Starter 
I believe the argument being made was to not simply add nails to a heel made solely (harhar) of rubber. The nails being shown above are indeed serving two purposes, including attaching the rubber to the heel.
post #26 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucidream View Post

I believe the argument being made was to not simply add nails to a heel made solely (harhar) of rubber. The nails being shown above are indeed serving two purposes, including attaching the rubber to the heel.

i'd be willing to bet that the rubber lift on the end of that shoe is secured by glue, and that the nails role in attaching the rubber is minimal.



heels like these get by just fine with glue.

and besides, what dress shoes from any decent+ maker do you know of that have heels made solely of solid rubber? I can't think of any.
post #27 of 89
The nails in the link are lasting tacks and are not what is used in the photograph of the heel.

I have spoken directly to Gurney many times during the 40+ years that I have been making bespoke boots and shoes (I order from them...in bulk regularly) and I am not certain that that particular product is indeed solid brass. But even if it is...I wish you good luck trying to replicate the refinement as well as the utility that real solid brass nails of the kind shown in the Vass photo bring to the work. Gurney does not have, on their website, the nails that are used in high end shoes such as G&G or any bespoke work.

While the nails in the rubber appear to be holding the rubber in place, again brass is too soft to do that without a firmer matrix around it. All one needs to do is strike a glancing blow with a hammer to those nails and chances are they will bend. The same mechanics apply to heel strike.

Here is a photo of an unfinished heel just after the brass nails have been driven.
post #28 of 89
If ever there was someone who could explain and elaborate, it is DFWII. Here's hoping he can expand on his earlier comments. What kind of nails are suitable for shoes, composition of nails...
post #29 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

The nails in the link are lasting tacks and are not what is used in the photograph of the heel. I have spoken directly to Gurney many times during the 40+ years that I have been making bespoke boots and shoes and I am not certain that that particular product is indeed solid brass. But even if it is...I wish you good luck trying to replicate the refinement as well as the utility that real solid brass nails of the kind shown in the Vass photo bring to the work. Gurney does not have, on their website, the nails that are used in high end shoes such as G&G or any bespoke work.
While the nails in the rubber appear to be holding the rubber in place, again brass is too soft to do that without a firmer matrix around it. All one needs to do is strike a glancing blow with a hammer to those nails and chances are they will bend. The same mechanics apply to heel strike.

the way that the nails are driven with the head flush into the rubber really makes me doubt that they will ever be hit with a glancing blow (especially arising from some sort of heel strike that would create an equivalent force), so I think that your concern is quite unfounded.

the layer of rubber in the heels of the shoes is quite stout, i've not seen any widening of the nail holes when the nails were removed that would indicate that they nails are moving around like that, but if you are marching on gravel or something, perhaps it can happen (why one would march on gravel with such shoes is another question)

http://www.dbgurney.com/product.php?productid=18440&cat=278&page=1 - reminds me of exactly the type of nails that are in my vass, flat roundish head, solid brass.

next time I am at my cobbler getting some work done, i'll retrieve one of the nails and cut it in half, i really think you are off your rocker in alleging that gurney's nails are not solid brass.
post #30 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennkim View Post

the way that the nails are driven with the head flush into the rubber really makes me doubt that they will ever be hit with a glancing blow (especially arising from some sort of heel strike that would create an equivalent force), so I think that your concern is quite unfounded.
the layer of rubber in the heels of the shoes is quite stout, i've not seen any widening of the nail holes when the nails were removed that would indicate that they nails are moving around like that, but if you are marching on gravel or something, perhaps it can happen (why one would march on gravel with such shoes is another question)
http://www.dbgurney.com/product.php?productid=18440&cat=278&page=1 - reminds me of exactly the type of nails that are in my vass, flat roundish head, solid brass.
next time I am at my cobbler getting some work done, i'll retrieve one of the nails and cut it in half, i really think you are off your rocker in alleging that gurney's nails are not solid brass.

The lasting tacks and the basketry tacks (your links) have heads that are roughly four times the diameter of the nails that I am using. The heads are also not perfectly round. Neither the 3 ounce lasting tacks and especially not the 1/2 ounce basketry tacks (which are roughly 1/4" long) are long enough to secure a rubber or leather toplift. Furthermore the "shaft" of both the lasting tack and the basketry tack are cut metal, squarish/flat, and probably not more than 1.5 millimeters at the thickest point.

The tacks you've linked to fall into a category known as "clinch point " tacks. The design is intended to strike a metal plate or anvil and the point of the tack will "turn" back into the leather, clinching the tack. The reason why I surmise that they may not be solid brass is because the turned point on a brass clinching tack is too brittle and too soft to hold. I've seen solid brass clinching tacks but I also know that most of those on the market are plated. Whether Gurney markets a solid brass clinching tack, I don't know...I don't use them.

I may be off my rocker but ignorance is worse.

PS...a cobbler is not necessarily a shoemaker and 99 out of a 100 have never made a shoe. In fact, by Tradition and all but contemporary definition cobblers are repairmen...period. Sometimes itinerant repairmen. More,with the Great Leather Act in 1603, the Crown of England codified most of the practices, measurements and standards which defined the Trade of Shoemaking and actually barred cobblers from using new leather. Shoemakers are properly called "Cordwainers."

--
Edited by DWFII - 1/1/13 at 8:15pm
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