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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 68

post #1006 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


The Crispin Colloquy has never been very active but when it became clear that government laws regarding tax-exempt organizations precluded those "commercial interests" promoting and specifically self-promoting involving the quoting of prices, etc., many of the more ambitious moved over to FB.

And there are some good makers over there. But of those you mention, many are not only old in the Trade but came up in the Trade using and respecting the Traditions and Traditional techniques. (Point of fact, the owner of the forum said quite explicitly, in one of his blogs, that using a outsole stitching machine wasn't shoemaking.)

Most of the rest are new to the Trade and / or promoting manufacturing enterprises. And fit my characterizations as if they themselves were the basis for the definition of "factory mentality" and "unwilling take the time to master the skills."

And for that very reason I think you'd be more at home there than in a thread that is dedicated to Traditional techniques. And exploring "quality" and "excellence" for their own sake.

And FWIW, it doesn't matter whether I approve or not...in truth, I don't care much one way or the other on the face of it. There is room enough...and maybe even reason enough...in this world for factories...and expediency...and cheap.

But they aren't morally, qualitatively or functionally equivalent to Traditional shoemaking.

That's always been my focus--Traditional shoemaking and quality---hence the name of the thread...your inability to see the difference notwithstanding.

edited for punctuation and clarity

 

You can never avoid people with commercial interest in those semi-open groups/forums. 

 

I like how there are occasional gem of information/exchanges between shoemakers within the litters of commercial/WTB/WTS spams.  Sure those exchanges might not further your shoemaking skills much but its always a delight to hear for me as a consumer.

 

I seek and pay for quality, but have no commercial interests.  Factory mentality? Meh.

post #1007 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirling View Post


I used to write software. My experience was rather similar to yours. It is just a bit sad that consumers and end-users often don't understand that better quality is very possible if they demand it and are willing to pay more. I think a certain number of consumers really are willing to pay more to get better quality software. With software, especially for popular software from large companies, the expense can be divided between so many consumers that it becomes trivial, but the added time to develop better software becomes the "prohibitive expense."

Just as many software users are unaware of the possibilties for quality, so too was I unaware of the possibilities for footwear quality before I stumbled upon SF and starting reading posts by @DWFII. I thought my RTW GYW John Lobbs were about the same as the bespoke John Lobbs, except that they weren't customized to fit me perfectly. I even thought GYW meant a high quality product, just as a certain Reddit group's name declares. I remember buying some high-end Santonis that included specific literature describing how great they were because they had GYW construction. I am mentioning this because I want to attest that my personal experience confirms that DW is making a difference.

 

Well, engineers are trained and taught to optimize between Time, Cost, and Quality.  Can't achieve all three at the same time!  Reddit GYW is meh, they have to suffer from quality due to the average price points of the shoes appearing on that forum.

 

@DWFII is certainly making a difference and inspired me to learn a lot about the crafts.

post #1008 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

You can never avoid people with commercial interest in those semi-open groups/forums. 

I like how there are occasional gem of information/exchanges between shoemakers within the litters of commercial/WTB/WTS spams.  Sure those exchanges might not further your shoemaking skills much but its always a delight to hear for me as a consumer.

I seek and pay for quality, but have no commercial interests.  Factory mentality? Meh.

It depends on what you want to achieve. The Crispin Colloquy has, for almost 15(?) years...almost unheard of on the Internet...avoided exactly that kind of self-promotion and self-congratulatory spam. As a deliberate choice.

And we were, and are, completely open to the public. In fact, we were the model for other groups to the point where even the same forum software was used. Many old timers in the Trade wrote to me (or in one case called me from England) to tell me how revolutionary and admirable our efforts were.

Of course the CC is still open and still answering questions; still sharing insights and learning. And still the largest Internet archive of information about Traditional shoemaking techniques and practices.

But it has never been a chat room. As a group, we tacitly agreed that being a chat room wasn't consistent with our goals nor the nobly conceived founding principles of The Honourable Cordwainers' Company...although no one was ever penalized, or even openly discouraged from idle gossip.

So, there wasn't / isn't that incessant yammering, as @ntempleman said, about "LadBible or The Daily Mash updates, and what people I vaguely knew were eating for dinner" that is so prevalent elsewhere.

All of which, IMO, in a forum that is supposedly focused on shoemaking, would suggest a lack of focus perhaps or at best a serious conflict of interest.

All that said, if such static / white noise is "a delight" for you, think how delightful your factory-visit compendium of disconnected trivia would be to them.

You've so much to contribute. devil.gif

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 3/23/16 at 7:03am
post #1009 of 1710
In another thread, somebody referred to a method of hand welting without a holdfast, but instead splitting the edge of insole and stitching through that. Is this something that the shoemakers here have any feelings about? I assume it isn't as good? It then begs the question of how hard it is to cut a holdfast into an insole, or is it just another way of using thinner leather for the insole?

I thank the experienced sages here, as always, for taking the time to consider my questions and potentially answer them.
post #1010 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirling View Post

I used to write software. My experience was rather similar to yours. It is just a bit sad that consumers and end-users often don't understand that better quality is very possible if they demand it and are willing to pay more. I think a certain number of consumers really are willing to pay more to get better quality software. With software, especially for popular software from large companies, the expense can be divided between so many consumers that it becomes trivial, but the added time to develop better software becomes the "prohibitive expense."

Just as many software users are unaware of the possibilties for quality, so too was I unaware of the possibilities for footwear quality before I stumbled upon SF and starting reading posts by @DWFII. I thought my RTW GYW John Lobbs were about the same as the bespoke John Lobbs, except that they weren't customized to fit me perfectly. I even thought GYW meant a high quality product, just as a certain Reddit group's name declares. I remember buying some high-end Santonis that included specific literature describing how great they were because they had GYW construction. I am mentioning this because I want to attest that my personal experience confirms that DW is making a difference.

Very well put!

And in case that wasn't clear: Much thanks to DFW from me too. It wasn't SF for me but actually first Marcell Mrsan's blog, then the CC with the books and lots of great posts by DFW and others and then also the Carreducker blog that informed me. I really want to make my own HW shoes but can't spend nearly as much focused time on it that I wanted to so I settled on GYW shoes as a step up at least in the meantime.
post #1011 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Thanks to both of you for the support and kind words.

cheers.gif
post #1012 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whirling View Post

I used to write software. My experience was rather similar to yours. It is just a bit sad that consumers and end-users often don't understand that better quality is very possible if they demand it and are willing to pay more. I think a certain number of consumers really are willing to pay more to get better quality software. With software, especially for popular software from large companies, the expense can be divided between so many consumers that it becomes trivial, but the added time to develop better software becomes the "prohibitive expense."

Just as many software users are unaware of the possibilties for quality, so too was I unaware of the possibilities for footwear quality before I stumbled upon SF and starting reading posts by @DWFII. I thought my RTW GYW John Lobbs were about the same as the bespoke John Lobbs, except that they weren't customized to fit me perfectly. I even thought GYW meant a high quality product, just as a certain Reddit group's name declares. I remember buying some high-end Santonis that included specific literature describing how great they were because they had GYW construction. I am mentioning this because I want to attest that my personal experience confirms that DW is making a difference.

 

I can totally relate to @Whirling’s experience, and, I too think that @DWFII is making a difference.

 

Incidentally, I write software too, and, what’s more, I write software to test the quality of other software.  So, I probably should have known better although I certainly do not pretend to be an expert in shoe making. 

 

Some of my favorite words from @DWFII are pasted right below:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


[...] Sometimes when you become so immersed in what you are doing and so caught up in the moment that your ego slips away from you, you find yourself open to influences that you cannot ordinarily tap into. I call it a "divine wind." The breath of creativity. Perhaps the breath of God.

It blows through your soul and you do things that you literally don't have the skills to do. It's a state of mind that I think every craftsman subconsciously knows and yearns for. Even if they haven't been working at their Trade long enough to achieve it. Maybe it's what keeps us at our benches even when we know we have long since missed the mark as far as being "successful" in the eyes of the rest of society.

No machine can know that state of mind. No machine process can leverage it. In fact, the more machines involved the less likely it will occur.

It is, however, the undeniable wellspring of all creativity and artistry.

And a blessing that cannot be commanded or called forth.

 

Artistry or industry?  I have faced this difficult quandary in my job more than once as writing software can be quite a creative process too and as the pressure to deliver quickly is very high.  And, @DWFII's words above are nothing short of inspirational to me. 


Edited by cypi2 - 3/24/16 at 6:19am
post #1013 of 1710
vmss, for what it's worth, a local shoemaker once told me that leatherboard is "better" for factory-made pairs as it's more consistent than full leather stiffeners, and offers enough of the same qualities for a smaller unit price. These are the words of one guy only, though. I guess most (or normal people) don't care what's inside their shoes as long as they are stylish, trendy, affordable, from the right brand, nice enough or whatever.
post #1014 of 1710
Thread Starter 
FWIW, I don't think leatherboard is a malleable as leather by a long shot. At one point, I tried to use if for insoles in fitter's models---I had it, why not? I was going to discard it, anyway. But I couldn't get it to shape to the bottom of the last even after extensive soaking.

So I would guess that more modern iterations (or at least what I have) must be specially treated...maybe steam or chemicals?...to get it to take a shape other than flat. If it were as shape-able as leathe,r it would tend to break apart with contact, esp prolonged or repeated contact, with moisture. It is a form of particle board, after all.

Bottom line you just can't beat leather.

And no wonder. The shoe is a very specialized and unique artifact that evolved around the use of leather. Subbing out other materials and techniques changes it...makes it something else with its own other set of issues / problems that we really don't expect or know how to deal with. And which...the more we learn...almost invariably leave us gasping for air and disappointed.
post #1015 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cypi2 View Post

Artistry or industry?  I have faced this difficult quandary in my job more than once as writing software can be quite a creative process too and as the pressure to deliver quickly is very high.  And, @DWFII
's words above are nothing short of inspirational to me. 

Yr. Hmb. Svt.

fing02[1].gif

I'll tell you a secret, just between you and me--sometimes when I'm writing...about shoemaking in particular...I almost get into that frame of mind I mentioned in the clip you quoted. Not always but sometimes...it's almost "stream of consciousness. I write it and then I forget it.

And then some time later I run across what I've written and I almost don't recognize it, or recognize who wrote it. And I mutter under my breath "Gee I wish I'd said that."

I'm sure others must think such stuff is sappy or unrealistic or even divorced from reality--at least the reality they know. But for whatever it's worth, it's not only real it's not unique to me. Just not all that common, perhaps, in contemporary society.

Thank you for your kind words.
post #1016 of 1710

This may be better placed in the shoe repair thread, but selfishly I wanted the opinions of DFW and the other shoe makers here: Is it possible to change a goodyear welted shoe into a blake rapid soled shoe? What would be the benefits/ drawbacks?

 

As a very simple example, would it be possible to take a somewhat clunky Allen Edmonds shoe and make it more sleek and dressy through Blake Rapid? I believe I remember reading that it is not possible to make a factory 360 degree welt into a 270 welt but I don't recall the exact mechanism. Thanks in advance for the knowledge and time.

post #1017 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavro23 View Post

This may be better placed in the shoe repair thread, but selfishly I wanted the opinions of DFW and the other shoe makers here: Is it possible to change a goodyear welted shoe into a blake rapid soled shoe? What would be the benefits/ drawbacks?

As a very simple example, would it be possible to take a somewhat clunky Allen Edmonds shoe and make it more sleek and dressy through Blake Rapid? I believe I remember reading that it is not possible to make a factory 360 degree welt into a 270 welt but I don't recall the exact mechanism. Thanks in advance for the knowledge and time.

Probably not. Almost certainly not. Blake and Blake-Rapid rely on having sufficient upper leather turned over the insole such that it can be caught by the Blake stitching.

When a shoe is Goodyear welted (or handwelted) the upper is trimmed close to the inseam...which invariably means right up next to the internal edge of the welt. Take that inseam loose and you might have about 3-5mm of excess...and in some cases that might even be optimistic. Not enough by a long shot
post #1018 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Probably not. Almost certainly not. Blake and Blake-Rapid rely on having sufficient upper leather turned over the insole such that it can be caught by the Blake stitching.

When a shoe is Goodyear welted (or handwelted) the upper is trimmed close to the inseam...which invariably means right up next to the internal edge of the welt. Take that inseam loose and you might have about 3-5mm of excess...and in some cases that might even be optimistic. Not enough by a long shot


Presumably the same reasoning is behind not being able to change to a 270 degree welt as there isn't enough upper to attach the pegs/ heel stack?

post #1019 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdavro23 View Post


Presumably the same reasoning is behind not being able to change to a 270 degree welt as there isn't enough upper to attach the pegs/ heel stack?


That's right. Although there are some very good 18th century shoemakers who...if I understand the technique correctly...could probably do it. And sew your heel on, as well.
post #1020 of 1710

Thanks for the responses!

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