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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 54

post #796 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

You mean, like a ruler?

 

If that's all it takes, then I suppose so.  Simply using a ruler seems like it would be awkard, but perhaps not.

post #797 of 1338

Bengal,

 

I can see the pre-stitching use of the fudge wheel to mark the location of the stitches. But once the welt has been stitched, why do you do it again? Does it have a functional purpose? Is this to make things look tidier?

 

Thanks

post #798 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post


All English and French makers (of repute) use the fudge wheel. Judging by 'nutcracker's' thread, the majority of Japanese makers use it as well). The pricking iron is the preserve of the Austro-Hungarian school (Vass uses it). I'm not sure about the Italians.

Simply not true or not complete.

At Colonial Williamsburg, shoes are made by hand as closely...after years and years of research...as possible to 18th century English standards and techniques. No fudge wheels are used. Stitch pricks are.

R.A. Salaman, in The Dictionary of Leather-Working Tools c.1700-1950 (a particularly authoritative source for primarily English based shoemaking techniques)says:
Quote:
The Stitch Prick is a handled tool c 6 in. (15.2 cm) long overall...[snip]

The purpose of the Stitch Prick is to make an indentation on the welt between each stitch in order to tighten the stitches and to improve their appearance: the operation makes the stitches look bolder and more prominent. The Fudge Wheel serves a similar purpose, and was developed to reduce the labour of separating the stitches one by one. But in the opinion of a retired London shoemaker ( Mr. W.B. Glasow, 1977) the Fudge was 'less successful in tightening the stitches and moreover some Masters would not allow a Fudge to be used in their work for when applied too hot it was said to overheat the upper in the region of the welt.'

Salaman goes on to quote remarks by Plucknett and Hasluck regarding the Stitch Prick.

Illustrations are integral to the section.

F.Y Golding, who was for over 38 years principal of the Cordwainers' Technical College in London, writes in volume III of Boots and Shoes (I don't have the exact dates for this publication at hand but if memory serves it is late 19th early 20th century) :
Quote:
Where the maker has thrown up stitches on the welt, the finisher will assist the obvious intention to show up the stitches by using the pricker-up or stitch pricker. ( See fig 35). Where the stitches have been sunk into the welt (as in the first photo of post 817--DW) , the fudge wheel is employed to make a series of impressions according to the style of the shoe, ie. light or heavy.

In machine-sewn work the fudge wheel (fig,. 36) is used as there are no stitches on the welt to be thrown into prominence.....
He then goes on to describe the use of the stitch prick in some detail.

All of this derives and is focused on English shoemaking practices with absolutely no reference to Austro-Hungarian techniques.

All of it is in reference to hand techniques except where machine work is referenced in relation primarily to the fudge wheel.

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Edited by DWFII - 11/6/13 at 1:48pm
post #799 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post
 

Bengal,

 

I can see the pre-stitching use of the fudge wheel to mark the location of the stitches. But once the welt has been stitched, why do you do it again? Does it have a functional purpose? Is this to make things look tidier?

 

Thanks

 

My guess is that is to press the stitching flat against the surface of the ridges to seal and conceal the thread.  Sort of like leatherworker hammer threads into leather to create a flat surface after they sew.

post #800 of 1338
Shoemaker and forum member Janne Melkersson extolling the virtues of the fudge wheel and showing three samples of his (fudge-wheeled) work

http://www.styleforum.net/t/59653/a-tour-of-northampton/135#post_1184949


The workshop of Japanese shoemaker Ryota Hayafuji showing a large selection of fudge wheels



http://www.keikari.com/english/

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

F.Y Golding, who was for over 38 years principal of the Cordwainers' Technical College in London, writes in volume III of Boots and Shoes .....He then goes on to describe the use of the stitch prick in some detail......All of it is in reference to hand techniques except where machine work is referenced in relation primarily to the fudge wheel.

It appears to me, that Allan D Worchester who writes in F Y Golding (1935) gives equal prominence to both methods (pricked and wheeled)
Quote:
Fudge wheels are usually numbered to the impressions they make per inch. For instance, a No 12 will make twelve impressions to the inch. The tool is slightly warmed and past round the welt or runner firmly and evenly. When reaching the toe, place the thumb of the hand in which the tool is held on top of the upper at the toe, and with free wrist action pass round the toe. Do not run back over the impressions, but endeavour to create a series of even and distinct impressions in one operation (avoiding interference with the jigger crease).

This description definitely refers to handwork. Obviously, you only have one go with wheeling and you end up with either a good job or a botched-up one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

...as possible to 18th century English standards and techniques. No fudge wheels are used. Stitch pricks are.

Since when is 18th century Edwardian? As I said, I have seen fudge-wheeled Edwardian samples. Whether the method was quickly established or took a number of years to become the gold standard of British shoemaking, I wouldn't know. Maybe some 80 years ago when Golding edited his magnum opus, both methods had equal prominence. (There was a time when symmetrical and asymmetrical lasts fought it out to the bitter end. We all know who won.)

Can you name any present day English or French company who spurns the fudge wheel and show a recent photograph of their work? You regard John Lobb (London) as the best shoemakers in the world, all their stuff is wheeled.
post #801 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Shoemaker and forum member Janne Melkersson extolling the virtues of the fudge wheel and showing three samples of his (fudge-wheeled) work

It appears to me, that Allan D Worchester who writes in F Y Golding (1935) gives equal prominence to both methods (pricked and wheeled)
This description definitely refers to handwork. Obviously, you only have one go with wheeling and you end up with either a good job or a botched-up one.
Since when is 18th century Edwardian? As I said, I have seen fudge-wheeled Edwardian samples. Whether the method was quickly established or took a number of years to become the gold standard of British shoemaking, I wouldn't know. Maybe some 80 years ago when Golding edited his magnum opus, both methods had equal prominence. (There was a time when symmetrical and asymmetrical lasts fought it out to the bitter end. We all know who won.)

Can you name any present day English or French company who spurns the fudge wheel and show a recent photograph of their work? You regard John Lobb (London) as the best shoemakers in the world, all their stuff is wheeled.

First I introduced the notion of fudge wheel in this thread. That's one way of doing it. It not the only nor the most Traditional.

Yes, Janne likes the fudge wheel. He's a terrific shoemaker. Whether he works more in the Austro-Hungarian or British Traditions is debatable. I like Janne.

Janne taught/instructed me in the use of a fudge wheel. I tried it. I have fudge wheels. I didn't like using it, but then I was trained to use a stitch prick, so I can entertain the idea that I'm biased.

That said, a fudge wheel will not tighten and separate the stitches the way a stitch prick will. One of the sources I quoted above made that very point further on in the text. In fact, the last I heard, Janne was using a plyer tool that, AFAIK, originated in the American SW. It's more laborious than the the stitch prick by far.

No, the 18th century is not Edwardian, I didn't say it was. I was establishing that British shoemaking traditions, from Georgian times to 1950 (Salaman), include and respect the stitch prick...regardless of what they say about the fudge wheel.

As far as symmetrical or asymmetrical lasts are concerned...the history says that whenever shoe fashions evolved to more naturalistic forms--esp. lower heels--asymmetry tended to dominate. Asymmetrical lasts can be found well before the 19th century. When heels got high it was much harder to carve matching lasts and so easier forms came into vogue. It really wasn't until the US invented the last making machine that asymmetrical lasts triumphed.

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Edited by DWFII - 11/6/13 at 5:22pm
post #802 of 1338
DW, if you don't mind, could you elaborate on the process of stitch pricking? What does the tool look like? Do you make the indentation before or after stitching, or both like with a fudge wheel? Also, how does pricking allow you to make a tighter stitch?
post #803 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

My guess is that is to press the stitching flat against the surface of the ridges to seal and conceal the thread.  Sort of like leatherworker hammer threads into leather to create a flat surface after they sew.

At one point, unless you have a fudging machine (bench) or press fairly hard, a fudge wheel will not do what a stitch prick does--tighten and separate the stitches. So the fudge wheel is more ornamental than functional even though welt pricking has a functional purpose.

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Edited by DWFII - 11/6/13 at 5:01pm
post #804 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoneyWellSpent View Post



That does remind me of a question I had for DWF.  How did you manage to get the "pricks" so perfectly spaced if you did that by free hand?  Is there some sort of tool that you used to ensure perfect spacing?

It's simply experience and skill. That said if there were a longer stitch in amongst the tighter ones, it is possible to prick up so that they all look perfectly straight even if the stitches are not perfectly even. The makers at Colonial Williamsburg not only prick up by eye, they stitch by eye--and the mark of a "master" is the closeness and evenness of the work.

Also the pricking should be perpendicular to the edge of the welt even when going around the toe.

As for myself, I use a double prick set to 12 spi and simply mark the stitch spacing out before stitching ...sometimes in small sections(as I am stitching along) sometimes the whole welt ahead of time. I also use a caliper if I want larger stitches...like 10spi.

The fudge wheel doesn't take near as much skill to use as the stitch prick.

Parenthetically, when hand stitching of the welt is done correctly and pricked up correctly, the stitching appears as if it were a row of tiny beads. There is no "rope-like" twisting of the stitches apparent. That's why I said I thought I was much improved from that 2008 photo--you can see the "twist" in the stitching. I haven't had a problem with that for the last five/six + pairs...I'm pretty sure I've got it licked.

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Edited by DWFII - 11/6/13 at 5:01pm
post #805 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd13jd13 View Post

DW, if you don't mind, could you elaborate on the process of stitch pricking? What does the tool look like? Do you make the indentation before or after stitching, or both like with a fudge wheel? Also, how does pricking allow you to make a tighter stitch?

Here is a photo of two pricks...the bottom one I made myself (it's actually my favourite because it spreads the indent better. The top one is manufactured, probably of British and Edwardian provenance. nod[1].gif



The tool is held in the hand with the shoe in the other hand and often braced against the knee. The welt is moistened and the prick is eased, point first, in against the vamp. It is then pressed firmly into the welt between each stitch and given a sharp flick outward. It is quite fast. Maybe not as fast as fudging but not tedious or laborious--maybe 5-7 minutes per shoe?

I've always liked the term "fudge wheel" because in my opinion, it is exactly that--"fudging." Fudging precision. In fact, Salaman suggests that the term "fudge wheel" came about because "it can be used to 'fake up' the welt to appear stitched."

As the prick is pressed into the welt it firms up the leather, it draws the thread deeper into the welt and the hole, and it forces the leather under the stitch up a little to make the stitch a little more proud.

Any tool that would flatten the stitches (and I'm not saying a fudge will) is counter-productive.

And a good prick man can even push stitches that have jumped out of "the line of stitch" back into place and straighten twisted stitches. A fudge wheel can't do that.

In passing, fudging does no harm. Whether is does any good, or anything in the way of what stitch pricking evolved to do, is another question. I wouldn't argue with or condemn anyone for preferring to use the fudge...I just don't care for it myself. It doesn't fit into my view of "best practices."

If nothing else, pricking is, IMO, just another little bit of refinement that just doesn't seem to "get there" when fudging is used.
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Edited by DWFII - 11/7/13 at 5:12am
post #806 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Here is a photo of two pricks...
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Thanks for the detailed response, just to clarify, do you first make indentations to mark where the stitches are going, or only after stitching?
post #807 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by jd13jd13 View Post

Thanks for the detailed response, just to clarify, do you first make indentations to mark where the stitches are going, or only after stitching?

Well, I kind of answered that in response to another question. But the answer is "no, I don't make indentations first"...at least not with the stitch prick or a fudge wheel. But I do mark the spacing with a caliper or the points of a double stitch prick. It may seem like putting too fine a point on it, as who should say, but I want to distinguish between using the blade of a prick to make an indentation similar to what we do when actually pricking up and just making a tiny mark (smaller than the point of the awl) with another tool. In this case, the double prick is functioning more like a brad marker than a stitch prick.

Both the double prick and the calipers allow me to set the distance between stitches and the distance from the line of stitching and the vamp/welt junction. That last bit is important and, again, something that the fudge won't give you.

I could do it by eye...pretty well too, I believe...but I'm not at a point where I need to feel so proud.

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Edited by DWFII - 11/6/13 at 7:49pm
post #808 of 1338

I don't want to side-track this thread but thought that you might be interested in this. I seem to recall DWFII talking a while ago about leather soles and how they had been used on boots that had climbed Mt Everest. I was in Marylebone a couple of months ago and happened to pass James Taylor when, lo and behold, I saw the boot in the photograph below. Apologies both for the quality of the image (on my way somewhere else, absolutely my fault) and for the state of Taylor's window (not my fault at all). Chi

 

post #809 of 1338
Those are the boots used to climb Everest?

Anyone know why are hiking boots styled that way?
post #810 of 1338
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Those are the boots used to climb Everest?

Anyone know why are hiking boots styled that way?

 

This is one that was mislaid along the way and returned to James Taylor unused. The boots that were actually used were identical in every way. Can't help you on the style question I'm afraid, though I guess that form follows function. Chi

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