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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 102

post #1516 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JermynStreet View Post

How can one puncture thick leather with a hog bristle? Wouldn't it be too flexible?

Yes, of course. That's why shoemakers have "awls." The hole is made first.

Once upon a time awls were bone. Now they are steel.

The 1898 Barnsley catalogue had three pages of awls on offer.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 8/17/16 at 6:51am
post #1517 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Awls--c.1898





--
Edited by DWFII - 8/17/16 at 7:38am
post #1518 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

First, if I recall correctly, the Oxford English dictionary defines "Traditional" as being passed down from one generation to another. It cannot be just something that you yourself have started doing and have done for 10 or 20 years. Even if it is annually and faithfully. I realize that English is not your native tongue but that said, we are not talking about "common (emphasis 'common') practices" when we talk about Traditions.

In 1767, when. M. de Garsault wrote Art du Cordonnier, steel needles may not have even been invented. But whether or not they had been, every shoemaker in the Western world used hog's bristles. So, using hog's bristles is the Traditional way. And those of us that have been trained...at least to some extent ...in Traditional shoemaking still use and highly regard bristles. They may be nylon bristles now, due to the scarcity of Russia black or India white boar's bristles...esp. in 6"-9" lengths...but the functionality and usage is nearly identical.

As well as the advantages of a bristle over steel needles or even wire bristles.

I, for one, have used both in all variations and I would never, ever, use a needle or wire bristle when I could use a nylon or boar's bristle. Both nylon and boars bristles will "turn the corner" better than steel and you can use a heavier thread than with steel simply because, if you know how to properly make a lingle and taw, there are only two thicknesses of thread in the hole at any given time rather than close to four. And, of course, that also allows you to make your holes smaller.

In fact, I often wonder why any dedicated shoemaker would ever use steel needles or bristles--it begs the question: "what is gained?" In my opinion, having used both, the answer...the honest answer, IMO...is "nothing" except speed, perhaps, esp. in set up.

And I suspect that the reluctance...or inability....to learn to make a lingel and taw and a proper handwax is invariably the governing reason for resorting to steel bristles and / or pre-made, paraffin waxed threads. Using a steel bristle...it seems to me...is an easy "out"--it relieves a maker (?) of having to master another one of those tedious and arcane skills that are so frustrating to the novice.

"Mastery" ain't in it...to, once again, paraphrase Patrick O'Brian. .

edited for punctuation and clarity

Obviously English is not my native tongue but I understand perfectly the term "common practices".

 

The languaje has never been any problem for me, if I do not understand something; I study, translate, learn and work. Again.....I work, I study, I translate, I ask other people and learn .... and if the end, I don´t get it, I don´t participate, but I'm still learning and very important: Always, always I like to respect the rules. It is a disgrace? I don´t think so.

 

From his words I gather you are anchored in tradition, even, I would say that you have never practiced this form of sewing because you consider absurd, but.... you must remember that there are other ancient forms and other techniques of work, these forms and techniques are neither better nor worse than which have always used and the important thing is to know.

 

Now, I consider absurd upload a video for you, showing the different techniques that have been practiced here for hundreds years.

 

Again, not everyone can afford 1000,2000, or 3000 $ for a pair of boots or shoes

 

Boar bristles have been always used here, but the difficulty to find them gave way to the needles, but the work, measures, lasts or molds, sewing and finishing is done as hundreds years ago.... at least for me.

 

I would like to see how you make your own lasts, I would like to see how you take your measures to customers, as you cut patterns, as you sew machine, as plants placed, as riding his boots or shoes ..... all the process made by yourself. It would be extraordinary for me.

 

I never would have imagined that change a boar bristle by a sewing needle could break the traditions or rules of participation in this thread. You're right, so I apologize and I encourage you to delete images, links and any message that could have broken the rules of this thread.

I apologize again.

post #1519 of 1709
Thread Starter 
No need to apologize. But I would point out that in post #1513 you questioned "what is the Traditional way " as if it were some relative concept that everyone gets to define as they please. I simply observed that words do have meaning and in English "Traditional" doesn't mean "common practices," or old habits, or anything like that.

And that the Traditional way is with bristles, not steel needles. And describe by M. Garsault in 1767.

You also made the claim in post # 1502, that what you were doing was masterly--"The mastery of the craft is shown working." Personally I think if a person is going to make that kind of claim they ought to be able to show how it is true. Not just say "it is, it is."

I don't claim "mastery" for anything I do...I simply aspire to mastery. And regard it as a lifelong journey. Part of that means that if I can't do it as well as it was done Traditionally...as the old, dead, real masters did it... I can't call myself a master or claim that my work is "mastery."

It is true that I don't have any experience...much less mastery...doing channel stitching (hand sewn Blake) the way you do it. The question I keep coming back to, however, is "why would I want to?" I already know and have some skill in a far older and perfectly adequate technique that seems to address issues that other techniques (such as yours) do not.

If I read your posts correctly you seem to be saying you do it that way because it is fast, and because it is fast it allows you to charge less for a pair of shoes. But take that logic to its natural conclusion and one wonders why you don't own a McKay machine. That would be even faster and allow you to charge even less.

There's something dissonant...or at least it makes me uncomfortable...in such thinking. It's like "hand sewn Goodyear" (inseaming to gemming)--it's a rather obtuse answer to a question that never needed to be asked. And in the end, IMO, nothing objectively good is gained and much is lost.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 8/17/16 at 2:51pm
post #1520 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


If I read your posts correctly you seem to be saying you do it that way because it is fast, and because it is fast it allows you to charge less for a pair of shoes. But take that logic to its natural conclusion and one wonders why you don't own a McKay machine. That would be even faster and allow you to charge even less.

There's something dissonant...or at least it makes me uncomfortable...in such thinking. It's like "hand sewn Goodyear" (inseaming to gemming)--it's a rather obtuse answer to a question that never needed to be asked. And in the end, IMO, nothing objectively good is gained and much is lost.

edited for punctuation and clarity

There is nothing dissonant and you shouldn´t feel uncomfortable because you haven´t played well, it's normal.

A good shoes or a good boots made entirely by hand (bespoke shoes) never, never are cheap.

 

It is very easy, a good craftsman, (for me), is required to master all techniques.
If you master all the techniques and all processes can give variety to the customer and solve all the problems that may arise, otherwise, you will always depend on the other artisans; cutters, assemblers, Lasters teachers ......

 

If a shoe made with traditional sewn or common technical or traditional techniques,( I understand, each term has a meaning)  "for example", costs 5000 $ you can also offer another model with different technique to 4500 $ and if the customer only has 4000$ can also make another model with hand-stitched made at the top, or......... sewn Norwegian style for example..... 

 

The price depends on the work, that doesn´t mean they are cheap, that means that as a good craftsman and  "a good teacher" can offer different products made in different ways and with different sewn, always respecting the traditional techniques, and never, never using machines, but there is a very importan thing, you must provide the highest quality and a perfect fit, this last is the most important. (A perfect fit).

 

If you master only one technique you can offer only a way of working.

 It´s very simple for me, the customer is "the boss and who pays".

 

Personally I think we have reached the end of the topic.
It´s has been a pleasure for me to discuss with you.
Thank you for your patience.


Edited by Manuel - 8/18/16 at 12:08am
post #1521 of 1709
Exactly. Sorry to say but with self promoting and disjointed posts like yours,members must have lots of patience. Cheers
post #1522 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Personally, I don't care one way or the other whether we (you and I) continue this discussion or not. I'm fine either way. Nor am I going to try and moderate the discussion to the point of shutting it down or...as you asked in a previous post...call you to task or delete your posts and photos for not agreeing with me. Not my remit, if nothing else. I'm not a moderator. So no worries there.

That said, I feel compelled to point out that...as much as I admire John Lobb and their "we have turned our backs on the machine" ...in and of themselves, machines are not the problem.

In the first place, there are very few makers...despite what they would have you believe...that don't use any machines. Sewing machines are the rule even in workshops like Lobbs St. James.

You say "never, never using machines." Yet clearly...from the photos you've posted....you do use machines--a sewing machine is a machine. By definition.

Another point that needs to be reiterated is that just because a maker does everything...or most things...by hand, doesn't make it Traditional or, more importantly, "good," much less "better" or "best."

For instance...

Skiving or clicking with disposable blades is not Traditional nor conducive to the further....and essential...skills that learning to sharpen a knife properly can confer.

Using paraffin for your inseaming threads is neither Traditional nor as objectively suited to the goal of quality as making your own handwax with pitch and rosin.

Using a "jerk needle" (hooked awl) for inseaming or outseaming (or any kind of seam) is neither Traditional nor anywhere near as good as using bristles and a shoemaker's stitch.

Sewing the upper by hand at 10-12 stitches per inch is not particularly good, much less "fine," work and pretty far from Traditional when you consider the work that real masters have done in the past--64 stitches per inch. Even the apprenticeship program at Colonial Williamsburg here in the US demands that an apprentice can stitch at 16-18 spi (by eye and by hand) before he can graduate.

Inseaming, by hand, at 2 stitches per inch is neither Traditional nor good work.

Outsole stitching at 2-8 stitches per inch is neither Traditional nor especially remarkable. Doesn't matter if it's all done by hand or not. And nowhere near as fine or "tight" or as reliable a connection as 10spi done by a machine.

Steel bristles and/ or needles are not Traditional by any definition that encompasses a respect for the Trade.

Perhaps, in the end, it doesn't matter if it's Traditional or not as long as the results are as good or better than what the Traditions have achieved. Historic standards. Real, bona fide "masters." As long as the quality is there, IOW. That's a big assumption and a steep goal, in most cases, but maybe....

But there's the problem--because, almost invariably, the Traditional standards are abandoned only because they demand more of us than we can or want to bring to the table. Never because doing it another way results in better quality. But rather because it is "faster" (more profitable, IOW) or more economical (more profitable) or...simply...just convenient (more profit).

And it becomes a vicious circle--embracing non-traditional techniques almost always encourages... and makes it easier for us to accept...lower standards.

But if the Trade is going extinct it is almost certainly, if not entirely, because we too easily (and too willingly) accept lower standards...even in ourselves.

--
Edited by DWFII - 8/19/16 at 1:20pm
post #1523 of 1709
While I don't agree with everything that DWFII writes, his post (above) is very well written and I share his thoughts. The traditional ways are not always (but rather just usually) the best way of doing things. Our move away from these traditional methods are again not always (but rather just usually) rooting in making things easier not better.
post #1524 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by brax View Post

While I don't agree with everything that DWFII writes, his post (above) is very well written and I share his thoughts. The traditional ways are not always (but rather just usually) the best way of doing things. Our move away from these traditional methods are again not always (but rather just usually) rooting in making things easier not better.

 

I agree as to the abandonment of traditional standards due to market requirements and obtaining more benefits and effectively, never because doing it another way results in better quality. 

 

But I don´t agree with DWII on reviews or appraisals he does.

 

When I say: "never, never using machines". I refer to heavy machinery, Rapid type of sewing soles, Falan 750 type of blake sewing, machines assembling shoes ....... obviously a sewing machine ......  isn´t a heavy machine or influences the quality or tradition. Can you imagine some cuts shoes hand-sewn ?

 

I don´t use waxed thread, I make my own handwax With pitch and rosin.

 

I don´t understand the criticism of DWII to the distance between points, as a professional he should know that its function is not aesthetic, no points are not inside or outside, its function is only reinforcing, reinforcing an already stuck fence and over high adhesion gum, as a professional DWII should know that when 2,5- 3 mm rubber hand sewn, if the dots are too small in any tug raisins gum, sewing function is only to reinforce what already it is made, is a tradional and very durable system here, the problem is that nobody knows how is made.

 

I can intuit even guess that DWII is an elderly person, (aged.... between 73-78) and anchored to a single system, so I understand him.
 

I have visited this thread, http://www.styleforum.net/t/236180/my-oneboot-by-dwfii-updated-w-visit-to-dw and I have been very very disappointed, I will not criticize anything, DWII deserves my respect, everyone does what he has learned, now I understand why there isn´t live entertainment.

post #1525 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel View Post
 

 

 

 

I have visited this thread, http://www.styleforum.net/t/236180/my-oneboot-by-dwfii-updated-w-visit-to-dw and I have been very very disappointed, I will not criticize anything, DWII deserves my respect, everyone does what he has learned, now I understand why there isn´t live entertainment.

With what, might I ask, are you disappointed? The boots in that thread are spectacular, so surely it cant be with that...

post #1526 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel View Post

I agree as to the abandonment of traditional standards due to market requirements and obtaining more benefits and effectively, never because doing it another way results in better quality. 

I can intuit even guess that DWII is an elderly person, (aged.... between 73-78) and anchored to a single system, so I understand him.

I think you need a better translation app, or more study because the language clearly is a problem here. If you read what I wrote, you would realize that I never intentionally criticized any of your work. As it actually happened, my response to another member of the forum regarding a YouTube video (unattributed) was a little critical (although most of the criticism was about Youtube videos in general). But at the time, I didn't know who you were or that you had made that video. And I apologized for my remarks.

Yes, I answered your defensiveness regarding "what are Traditional techniques" and your assertion that you don't use machines "never." Almost entirely focusing on language. On the face of it, neither of my remarks were about your work. If anything, they were simply about an all too common lazy use of the words and thoughtless assertions.

A sewing machine is a machine...is a machine...is a machine...is a machine. And you never specified "heavy" machines...you simply said "no machines" "never." You'll have to forgive me if I think it a bit hypocritical (or perhaps "dissonant" is the better word) to make that distinction. Now you want to walk it all back...as if you didn't really mean the "never, never" bit.

Almost all the rest of my remarks were about techniques themselves and the reasons why we abandon Traditional techniques and the excuses we make when we abandon them. And what the inevitable and certain consequences of doing that are. None of it was specific to you.

That said, if we want to get into techniques and their rationales...several points can be made. My age has nothing to do with it (you are a bit high in your lowest guess) but maybe your age is a critical factor. Because the vast majority of people who abandon Traditional techniques (in favor of faster and less skilled and more profitable) are people who haven't the patience or the focus to master the Traditional skills.

The reliance on cement is a good example. Do you think they had neoprene contact cements in 1767? or 1850? Or 1880? The case can be made that the 18th and 19th centuries were the Golden Age of Shoemaking (18th century for women's work, 19th century for men's work). No cement. Yet some of the finest shoes ever made were made using no cement. What would you do if you were suddenly dropped back into the 19th century? I suspect you'd have to find skills and methods that didn't rely on expediencies.

And it is undeniable that cement is an expediency--fundamentally, it is not needed. But it makes things faster (and more profitable) and easier for those without the skills to do without. That's really the only rationale for using cement.

But probably just as important in the larger scheme of things...for me at least (can't speak for you)...I find it very dissonant to use, much less rely, on a product that is both harmful to me and to the environment while at the same time being, objectively and demonstrably, unnecessary. If nothing else, if 12 stitches to the inch is excellent work when no cements are used, it only stops being excellent work when the maker is in too much of a hurry and too reliant on expediencies to bother. Then the definitions change... don't they.?

Of course, I'm old and not as "moderne" and hip as you younger "shoemakers." I've had time...made time...to think about such things and to choose deliberately and mindfully how I want to exist in this world. I'm old enough (and curious enough) to have seen and experienced the work, the results, and the reasons for respecting and learning...and even mastering (to the extent I am capable)...Traditional work.

Younger folks seldom have the time or patience...or the discipline...for such niceties.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 8/24/16 at 12:50pm
post #1527 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel View Post

 

Personally I think we have reached the end of the topic.
It´s has been a pleasure for me to discuss with you.
Thank you for your patience.

 

 

It seems the "topic" continues on your side, I am glad of it. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel View Post

 

 

I have visited this thread, http://www.styleforum.net/t/236180/my-oneboot-by-dwfii-updated-w-visit-to-dw and I have been very very disappointed, I will not criticize anything, DWII deserves my respect, everyone does what he has learned, now I understand why there isn´t live entertainment.

 

Should you be so much dissapointed about DW´s work, would you mind to share with us what did not you like and what are your alternatives to increase the  final quality of DW´s work ?.  That would be fantastic for many here as far as we consider DW´s work just amazing.  Furtheremore, It seems to me that he is always open to learn new/better techniques (aspiring to get mastery as he said) so I am pretty sure he would apreciate to have your opinion too.
 
On the other hand, I would like to see how do you prepare your insoles for the HW inseaming.  So please, show us a picture of your work; I am sure you will be delighted to do so.
 
Thanks.
post #1528 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapasman View Post

It seems the "topic" continues on your side, I am glad of it. 

...you mind to share with us what did not you like and what are your alternatives to increase the final quality of DW´s work ?. That would be fantastic for many here as far as we consider DW´s work just amazing. Furthermore, It seems to me that he is always open to learn new/better techniques (aspiring to get mastery as he said) so I am pretty sure he would apreciate to have your opinion too.


I appreciate the kind words but if I had my druthers, I'd rather this thread didn't devolve into a pissing contest or an aesthetic critique of any maker's work. That's always been my policy--don't criticize or bad mouth any other maker's work. We can talk about techniques in a general sense...as I did, never making the connection between any particular maker and any particular technique. Much less knowing or acknowledging that a particular maker uses a particular technique.

But we all have our training and we all have our own aesthetic sensibilities. and there is no fault in any of that.

For instance, I like a bit more toe spring than most modern shoemakers--there is a logic and a mechanical and physiological theory that supports that idea but aesthetically it isn't currently popular. So I'm sure my work falls short of expectations in some circles. I've heard it before. Ad infinitum and ad nauseum. Etc,. etc., yada yada yada.

Beyond that, the styling of the boots in that thread is 90% the customer's--that's what bespoke means. Not to mention the fact that the thread and the initial photos are 5 years old. I keep learning...

If you don't keep learning, don't keep honing your skills ...if you stand still, IOW, the devil will catch you.
post #1529 of 1709

I understand you point DW.  However, I was not asking for subjective inputs such as boots model/design or aesthetics (customer´s decision) nor even fitting issues of course.  I just asked Miguel to enlight us with better techniques and/or materials and components than the ones you use for the good of the Trade .  The example would be the one you provided us with the link about the Hand Blake construction as a Traditional technique that adresses some flaws shown before. See if you keep learning with Miguel,you young man!!:)

post #1530 of 1709
Thread Starter 
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