Originally Posted by Zapasman
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.
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.
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.
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