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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 82

post #1216 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Well, if you don't have enough substance to create a real holdfast, there's not much else you can do. That said, a lot of it is in the technique...how the hole is made, how far from the edge.
 

Hi DW,

 

That is what I always understood:  good material and expertise in the execution of the technique equal to a great shoe. Moreover, if a feather is not skived in the insole (no holdfast & no feather), the hollow to fill with any kind of material in the shoe will be higher.  I do not consider this to be a problem either.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

I can't speak for them. I don't see it done much except for historical work and generally speaking the insoles are thinner than I generally use, but not necessarily poorer quality. And I myself have inseamed aloft when making women's shoes with thinner insoles.
 

 

From your words I understand that stitching aloft has being the original technique for HW shoes. So when was the holdfast/feather technique introduce in the Trade?

 

DW, FYI  some HW shoemakers are using this technique currently; Enzo Bonafe (Ita), Meermin (Spain), Sagara (Indonesia)....Maybe they never heard about the holdfast/feather technique, want to save time or  their insoles are a bit thin.  I really do not know but I think all of them make really good shoes with this technique.

 

What it  would be your main concerns if you had to make a stiching aloft shoe for me today with the same insoles you are using now?.

 

Cheers

 

 

PS.-I really wish that could happen. :fonz:

post #1217 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post

Here is a video showing a turnshoe being made (by machine)

Important is a turnshoe is constructed without an insole (just like in 'Bologna' or 'Sacetto' construction, although the latter are not turned.),

A lose insole might be laid-in or glued into the finished shoe to give more stability.

Thank you for that. I was surprised to see such a shoe...lining and all...being turned by hand.
post #1218 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapasman View Post

Hi DW,

That is what I always understood:  good material and expertise in the execution of the technique equal to a great shoe. Moreover, if a feather is not skived in the insole (no holdfast & no feather), the hollow to fill with any kind of material in the shoe will be higher.  I do not consider this to be a problem either.

Well, again depends on the maker and the selection of techniques and how they are applied. I, myself do not consider a thick fill in the forepart either necessary, wanted, or functional. Further I think it lacks finesse and grace. But I am sure there will be others who disagree with me.
Quote:
From your words I understand that stitching aloft has being the original technique for HW shoes. So when was the holdfast/feather technique introduce in the Trade?

Salaman says in the 1600's. I wasn't there. smile.gif
Quote:
DW, FYI  some HW shoemakers are using this technique currently; Enzo Bonafe (Ita), Meermin (Spain), Sagara (Indonesia)....Maybe they never heard about the holdfast/feather technique, want to save time or  their insoles are a bit thin.  I really do not know but I think all of them make really good shoes with this technique.

Never said otherwise.
Quote:
What it  would be your main concerns if you had to make a stiching aloft shoe for me today with the same insoles you are using now?.

Why would I do that? If I had enough substance to channel and feather, that's what I would do. My only concern would be that I'd have to disappoint you by refusing to sew aloft.

Thing is, I see no disadvantage in using a thicker insole, except perhaps, for some, the expense. Again depending on the leather and where it is cut from, it forms a deeper footbed and, of course, provides more substance for the inseam. There again, it depends on how it is done. I've seen holdfasts that were less than 1/8" wide. And I've seen such holdfasts fail.

Second, I like less forepart fill and I like it to be non-occlusive.

Third, if the edge of the insole is not feathered, the inseam itself cannot be tucked under the edge of the insole. When done like this, the inseam becomes vulnerable to being damaged by the the stitching or sewing that holds the outsole on. A good maker will probably be able to avoid such damage...at least theoretically...but if the outsole is trimmed close it becomes more and more likely that some piercing of the inseam will occur. And it begs the question: will the shoes always be sent back to the maker for resoling? Because another maker or a cobbler will not have that sense of where the inseam is and a curved needle stitching machine damn sure doesn't.

Finally, and further to my concerns, I have this sense, from my friendship with one of the foremost shoe historians in the world, my library of old and venerable shoemaking books, my training, and my analysis of the way shoes are Traditionally put together, that the Traditions and techniques arose for a specific reason...each and every one of them. For at least a hundred years...long enough to become a tradition by some definitions...sewing the inseam aloft was the way to do it. And it was the original way to do it. So why change? There must have been a reason.

I have this abiding sense that those reasons had to do with the shoemaker taking responsibility for his work and anticipating problems...regardless how theoretical or theoretically remote.

One of my contemporaries, and a good, good maker, once told me "It isn't enough to visualize or design the shoe for what it will look like when it comes off the last. You have to be able to visualize what it will look like when it has been worn for a year, or two or ten."

Beyond all that, everything I do is to satisfy my own sense of balance and aesthetics and grace. Esp. "grace under pressure" as it applies to the shoe. My philosophy is that a good shoemaker...or a good silversmith or a good cabinet maker...does what he does for his own sensibilities and to honour the materials and the techniques and the Traditions, and even the idea of the shoe. The customer is a catalyst, not the motive.

--
Edited by DWFII - 4/30/16 at 6:59am
post #1219 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Why would I do that? If I had enough substance to channel and feather, that's what I would do. My only concern would be that I'd have to disappoint you by refusing to stitch aloft.

I knew that would be your answer here, lol.  Be sure that if I had the chance to order a pair of shoes from you, I would never ask for a HW stiching aloft shoe, hahaha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Thing is, I see no disadvantage in using a thicker insole....again depending on the leather and where it is cut from, it forms a deeper footbed and, of course, provides more substance for the inseam. There again, it depends on how it is done. I've seen holdfasts that were less than 1/8" wide. And I've seen such holdfasts fail.

Second, I like less forepart fill and I like it to be non-occlusive.

Third, if the edge of the insole is not feathered, the inseam itself cannot be tucked under the edge of the insole. When done like this, the inseam becomes vulnerable to being damaged by the the stitching or sewing that hold the outsole on. A good maker will probably be able to avoid such damage...at least theoretically...but if the outsole is trimmed close it becomes more and more likely some piercing of the inseam will occur. And it begs the question: will the shoes always be sent back to the maker for resoling? Because another maker or a cobbler will not have that sense of where the inseam is and a curved needle stitching machine damn sure doesn't.

Very interesting observations.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Finally, and further to my concerns, I have this sense, from my friendship with one of the foremost shoe historians in the world, my library of old and venerable shoemaking books, my training, and my analysis of the way shoes are Traditionally put together, that the Traditions and techniques arose for a specific reason...each and every one of them. For at least a hundred years...long enough be become a tradition...by some definitions...sewing the inseam aloft was the way to do it. It was the original way to do it. Why change? There must have been a reason.

I have this abiding sense that those reasons had to do with the shoemaker taking responsibility for his work and anticipating problems regardless how remote. One of my contemporaries, and a good, good maker, once told me "It isn't enough to visualize or design the shoe for what it will look like when it comes off the last. You have to be able to visualize what it will look like when it has been worn for a year, or two or ten."

Beyond all that, everything I do is to satisfy my own sense of balance and aesthetics and grace. Esp. "grace under pressure" as it applies to the shoe. My philosophy is that a good shoemaker...or a good silversmith or a good cabinet maker...does what he does for his own sensibilities and to honour the materials and the techniques and the Traditions, and even the idea of the shoe. The customer is a catalyst, not the motive.

--

I always enjoy reading you specially when taking about the philosophy and passion you put into your craft.  

 

Thanks again for all your answers. 

post #1220 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Just a comment on a YouTube video that I recently saw--in it the maker, who is hand welting a pair of shoes, not only drops his inseaming thread between stitches but he wiggles the awl from the moment the stitch is begun to the moment the welt is pierced.

I was taught that "best practices" demand that the thread not be dropped--for two reasons: first, it tends to pick up dirt and so forth, esp. if the wax is any good. And second, because it can develop a knot quite easily.

I was also taught that one shouldn't wiggle the awl until the point emerges from the welt. It should be a smooth straight push. The reason not to wiggle it is simple: If the sewing awl is sharpened at all (and it usually is, even on awls coming straight from the finder/grindery) wiggling the awl moves that sharpened tip in an horizontal arc...like waving a sword. Doing that cuts and widens the holes made in the holdfast, the lining, the vamp, and the welt. it effectively makes the hole larger than it needs to be or wants to be for maximum strength and security. The thread, even well waxed, will not be able to fill and seal that hole and, of course, it makes the whole inseam a little weaker.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 4/30/16 at 8:53am
post #1221 of 1710

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK6gLL4iOB4

 

Hi DW, could you please watch the beginning of  this video  and tell me if this maker is creating an inside channel just with end of the knife and a feather (skiving the edge of the insole).  Do you call this technique "stitching aloft" or not.  Thanks for clarifications.

post #1222 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapasman View Post

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK6gLL4iOB4

Hi DW, could you please watch the beginning of  this video  and tell me if this maker is creating an inside channel just with end of the knife and a feather (skiving the edge of the insole).  Do you call this technique "stitching aloft" or not.  Thanks for clarifications.

Yes, he is cutting a bevel on the feather edge of the insole. I, myself, don't think that is as effective, or as protective, as cutting a rebate. But...horses for courses, different strokes...etc..

At 0.13 of the video, he is cutting an inside channel.

No, I would not call this "stitching aloft" or "sewing aloft" simply because the stitches will be under the edge of the inside channel and effectively covered and protected from wear, grit, etc..

In the EB thread I see the stitches being made in a similar channel at 2:02 of the video.

PS...I am having a hard time seeing the videos on this browser (Firefox) on this computer. I had to switch to IE.

--
Edited by DWFII - 4/30/16 at 5:44pm
post #1223 of 1710
@DWFII
Thank you once again for always taking the time to clarify things especially with us lay folk.
We certainly appreciate the effort you've taken.
Just a question, given that the inseaming process requires both hands, each pulling in one direction, how does a shoemaker manage to not drop the threads, maintain tension, and then at the same time, use his awl to create the holes needed to pull the thread through?
post #1224 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

@DWFII
Thank you once again for always taking the time to clarify things especially with us lay folk.
We certainly appreciate the effort you've taken.
Just a question, given that the inseaming process requires both hands, each pulling in one direction, how does a shoemaker manage to not drop the threads, maintain tension, and then at the same time, use his awl to create the holes needed to pull the thread through?

Aye there's the rub, laddie. tinfoil.gif

Fundamentally, you feed the bristles from opposite directions. Pick up the bristles and pull them enough to wrap a bit of thread around your fingers and then grasp the thread in another spot and pull to tighten...hard.

You never put down your awl.

And except when feeding the bristles, you never let go of them or the thread. The bristles remain in each hand throughout the tightening, hammering and holing. .

I can easily feed a bristle with the awl in my hand. What's more, my awl haft is purposefully shaped such that I can use the butt to hammer the stitches. And as for maintaining tension, if the wax is correct, once the stitch has been tightened, it will not slip.

It's a bit more complicated than that and I'm sure every shoemaker has his own trick / technique. But once upon a time it was almost a guaranteed dismissal, or failure to hire, in some shops if you dropped your bristles. At least in this country.
post #1225 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Aye there's the rub, laddie. tinfoil.gif

Fundamentally, you feed the bristles from opposite directions. Pick up the bristles and pull them enough to wrap a bit of thread around your fingers and then grasp the thread in another spot and pull to tighten...hard.

You never put down your awl.

And except when feeding the bristles, you never let go of them or the thread. The bristles remain in each hand throughout the tightening, hammering and holing. .

I can easily feed a bristle with the awl in my hand. What's more, my awl haft is purposefully shaped such that I can use the butt to hammer the stitches. And as for maintaining tension, if the wax is correct, once the stitch has been tightened, it will not slip.

It's a bit more complicated than that and I'm sure every shoemaker has his own trick / technique. But once upon a time it was almost a guaranteed dismissal, or failure to hire, in some shops if you dropped your bristles. At least in this country.

Crap, that sounds like quite a handful.. literally...!
I imagine that nowadays, even among makers capable of handwelting.... the standards aren't quite the same as before.
post #1226 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

Crap, that sounds like quite a handful.. literally...!
I imagine that nowadays, even among makers capable of handwelting.... the standards aren't quite the same as before.

Probably not. Even my own teacher didn't give it much thought, as I recall. But I made it a point to teach myself...esp. after I tightened down several accidental knots in rosin and pitch waxed linen thread.

I don't want to talk about it. lol8[1].gif

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 5/1/16 at 6:43am
post #1227 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Probably not. Even my own teacher didn't give it much though,t as I recall. But I made it a point to teach myself...esp. after I tightened down several accidental knots in rosin and pitch waxed linen thread.

I don't want to talk about it. lol8[1].gif

Haha, and of course, one would always respect another's right to privacy.
post #1228 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

Crap, that sounds like quite a handful.. literally...!
I imagine that nowadays, even among makers capable of handwelting.... the standards aren't quite the same as before.

FYI & FWIW...




post #1229 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

FYI & FWIW...





Thanks for the pictures DW!
post #1230 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

Thanks for the pictures DW!

fing02[1].gif
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