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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 106

post #1576 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threeputt View Post



Hi DW, Thanks for your generous posts over the years. I recently received these hand welted shoes with shell cordovan uppers. You'll note some puckering around the toe inseam. Also, the left shoe is showing some of the inseam stitches themselves. Would you be so kind as to describe the causes of this and what problems I can expect should I decide to keep and wear them?

Other opinions are of course welcome.

Thanks Again.

The puckering comes from the lasting of the toe -- when you go around the toe, there is excess leather that needs to be 'chased' away from the edge and into the interior of the insole. That can be a fair amount of work and, with a thicker leather, a bit of a challenge, but (obviously) makers know how to do this, as most shoes/boots, including those made from heavier leathers, don't demonstrate this flaw.

More troubling are the visible inseam stitches. This would appear to be the result of two factors -- the length of the stitches and the tightness of each stitch. When you are inseaming around the toe, you have to really crowd the awl holes in the inside portion of the insole, because the stitches get much further apart where they pierce the welt (due to the nature of a curved toe -- the inside curve is much shorter than the outside curve). If you don't do this, the stitches in the welt are long -- in this shoe, I'm guessing the stitches are 1/2 inch long. The best practice is around 1/4" - 1/3". Also, when you inseam, you need to pull the stitches in really hard to tighten the welt and upper down to the insole. Finally, if the toe hasn't been well lasted, there may be a bit of excess material in the toe. All of that combined means it can be a bit challenging to really tighten the welt and upper down while also avoiding tearing through the holdfast.

To me, those grinning stitches makes these shoes unacceptable.
post #1577 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Regarding veg tans...I'm not saying you're wrong because you're not. I like using veg when I can get decent leathers and finishes. But I mostly I use chrome. Most of the kangaroo I use is chrome and it is gorgeous. And I use Annonay French calf when I can get it in preference to almost anything else and it is one of my premium offerings.

That said, I think it is a little "incomplete" or backward to extol chrome tans or diss veg tans without looking objectively at their strengths and weaknesses. And veg tans are getting better and better.

The St. Crispin Calf that AA Crack carries is veg tan, for instance. and though I wish it were heavier, it seems a fine leather....although without that heavy glazed surface that characterizes many chrome tans.

It also should be noted that many of the leathers so revered here are either veg or veg retans. Both the vintage and the contemporary Russia calf as an example.

And, by some definitions, all that veg tanned lining leather is really just crust. [Parenthetically, I've never seen any real problem with it cracking, but you would think that would be a real problem inside the shoe if it were a major weakness of veg tanned leather itself. ]

With regard to crust being veg or not...I don't know. We don't get much crust...if any...in the States. (That's why I qualified my remarks with "AFAIK.") But I have crust that was sent to me from Europe...the UK I believe (thanks @shoefan)...and it is veg. And when you get right down to it, the St. Crispin Baby Calf is just pre-dyed crust. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a chrome crust suitable for making shoes. (Doesn't mean there isn't any or that you're wrong just that I haven't seen it. )

I am sure both @ntempleman and @j ingevaldsson know more about what is available and choice in Europe and the UK than I do.

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 9/4/16 at 6:51am
post #1578 of 1710
Thread Starter 
@Threeputt, @shoefan

I agree with everything you have said, shoefan. And well said it was, too.

re: the stitch length--this is an issue I just addressed recently in another thread. Inseaming at 2spi is not "best practices" by any definition and certainly not Traditional. And this photo is an excellent example of why it is not best practices.With good insole shoulder a competent maker can inseam at 4 or even 5 spi and it makes for a tighter and better looking and more reliable inseam.

Of course...to underscore your other remark...the stitches have to be pulled really tight to draw the leather into the feather and a good rosin based handwax must be used to prevent slipping of the stitches. All the good handwax I've ever seen, both commercially made and made by respected masters, was black (or technically bronze) from the pitch in the wax. I am always suspicious of white hand wax...I've only seen rare examples of "summer wax" being anywhere near as tacky as winter wax. Of course, the "grinning" of white threads could also be simply a sign of very little, or no, wax.

Some of the "puckering" is residual tool marks from the awl, in my estimation (been there, done that bought the t-shirt), but much of it is, as you say, simply improper lasting.

Some of the hardest leathers to last are the reptiles .Especially around a very narrow toe. The leather is stiff...each "tile" a dense, hard plate... and eliminating the pipes and wrinkles can be very difficult. But it can be done. If the toe is properly "wiped," even shoes or boots with very narrow toes (cockroach corner killers) can be successfully lasted with no sign of the "surplus army goods" that has to be dealt with in the toe.

And on a shoe with a wide round toe...my own personal opinion is that such puckering is not only entirely avoidable but an indication of a shortfall of skill and / or experience. It is not happenstance.

When we look at the issues of stitch length, the wax, and the lasting--three relatively isolated, insignificant techniques--it becomes clear why the Traditions are Traditions and why "Best Practices' make a difference.
post #1579 of 1710

^^^DWF, did you make shoes in St Crispin's Babycalf? Curious, when I was at Janne we made the shoe in that leather, and it was super supple and sweet to touch, but extremely sensitive to most everything. Janne hated working with it :) And I've heard similar things from others, Meccariello being one if I remember correctly, who also found it very sensitive and hard to work with. My shoes got wrecked due to the last factory making faulty lasts, and I chose other leather for the remake pair, so never got to experience how the StC Babycalf held up in use.

 

There's some great clean crust chrome tanned leather from both France and Italy, but it's more common to use pre-coloured crust hides with a base colour applied on the entire skin. Also for patina, many use hides that are pre-coloured I believe, but then in a tan color.

post #1580 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

^^^DWF, did you make shoes in St Crispin's Babycalf? Curious, when I was at Janne we made the shoe in that leather, and it was super supple and sweet to touch, but extremely sensitive to most everything. Janne hated working with it smile.gif And I've heard similar things from others, Meccariello being one if I remember correctly, who also found it very sensitive and hard to work with. My shoes got wrecked due to the last factory making faulty lasts, and I chose other leather for the remake pair, so never got to experience how the StC Babycalf held up in use.

There's some great clean crust chrome tanned leather from both France and Italy, but it's more common to use pre-coloured crust hides with a base colour applied on the entire skin. Also for patina, many use hides that are pre-coloured I believe, but then in a tan color.


I recall the problems you had. Whether that was an inherent character of the leather or just a one time problem, I don't know. I wasn't there. It's a "word to the wise," for sure.

I have a small stock of it on the shelves but have not gotten around to using it. That said, I thought it might be a bit delicate...mostly because it is a little thinner than i like for men's shoes...but didn't really have any other reservations.

I use a lot of veg and veg retan. I line all my Full Wellingtons with a 3 ounce veg. To block a three ounce veg leather....and the blocking is a bit extreme for the front of a "long work" boot...requires some caution and finesse. Bottom line is that I don't think you can treat veg like you treat chrome...it doesn't have the elasticity, for one thing.

And, yes, I know Janne hates it. No disrespect meant, but it doesn't really signify--I hate working with shell. What does that mean?

Who knows? I've got several pairs of shoes in my field of vision that I am thinking of using the St. Crispin for...I might very well end up red faced.

--
Edited by DWFII - 9/4/16 at 7:50am
post #1581 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

......... Also in Italy, although they use more leathers that are first chrome tanned and then veg re tanned. We use a lot of those for the Italian brand I'm working for, and it has some great properties, but I have to say that the full chrome tanned leather we use is preferable in most ways when it comes to suppleness and overall quality (for example the veg re tanned tenned to easily get small cracks in the finish, don't know if it's just the ones we use, they are from two different tanneries, or if it's an overall thing with veg re tanned).
i;ve seen quite
high end veg retans
and they are spectacular
but are costly
so are used for higher
priced shoes
and none display
'cracking'
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

.....Meccariello being one if I remember correctly, who also found it very sensitive and hard to work with.
he said it
was a bit
moar difficult than
normal calf
but as long
as the shoemaker
knows how to work
with it there
is no issues
he considers
veg tans the
most luxurious of
teh calfskin
along with his
vintage stock of
baby annonay
(i prefer it over
his vintage freudenberg)

he says it is
more up to teh
final client in
how they treat the
shoe since
veg tans tend
to be a bit more
sensitive than
boxcalf
post #1582 of 1710
I've trialled the babycalf on a pair, it's very soft. Too soft, in my view. It creases over the vamp like an old cordovan after very little wear and doesn't hold its shine at all. It's not something I really promote if I can help it, it'll be good for a few things but not really the sort of things I get asked for.
post #1583 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


I recall the problems you had. Whether that was an inherent character of the leather or just a one time problem, I don't know. I wasn't there. It's a "word to the wise," for sure.

I have a small stock of it on the shelves but have not gotten around to using it. That said, I thought it might be a bit delicate...mostly because it is a little thinner than i like for men's shoes...but didn't really have any other reservations.

I use a lot of veg and veg retan. I line all my Full Wellingtons with a 3 ounce veg. To block a three ounce veg leather....and the blocking is a bit extreme for the front of a "long work" boot...requires some caution and finesse. Bottom line is that I don't think you can treat veg like you treat chrome...it doesn't have the elasticity, for one thing.

And, yes, I know Janne hates it. No disrespect meant, but it doesn't really signify--I hate working with shell. What does that mean?

Who knows? I've got several pairs of shoes in my field of vision that I am thinking of using the St. Crispin for...I might very well end up red faced.

--

 

Yeah, I believe it's more suitable (and used) for women's shoes. Would be interesting to see when you gotten around to make a shoe in it!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T4phage View Post


i;ve seen quite
high end veg retans
and they are spectacular
but are costly
so are used for higher
priced shoes
and none display
'cracking'

he said it
was a bit
moar difficult than
normal calf
but as long
as the shoemaker
knows how to work
with it there
is no issues
he considers
veg tans the
most luxurious of
teh calfskin
along with his
vintage stock of
baby annonay
(i prefer it over
his vintage freudenberg)

he says it is
more up to teh
final client in
how they treat the
shoe since
veg tans tend
to be a bit more
sensitive than
boxcalf

 

The veg re tanned leather we use is okay I guess, but it's surely not the best around (and also too much of the leather is used, but I'm not the one doing the finance calculations, and even if I nag a lot about it I always seem to lose). 

 

Okay, yeah seems reasonable. Antonio seem to have access to a lot of nice vintage leathers, both from Annonay, Freudenberg and Ilcea. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ntempleman View Post

I've trialled the babycalf on a pair, it's very soft. Too soft, in my view. It creases over the vamp like an old cordovan after very little wear and doesn't hold its shine at all. It's not something I really promote if I can help it, it'll be good for a few things but not really the sort of things I get asked for.

 

The fact that it seemed to crease quite heavily I noticed from the few steps I took in the shoes Janne made, before they were thrown in the garbage bin. A bit like the very thin Polish crust leather that Saint Crispin's use, which in many cases creases a lot (that can hold a shine very well though :) )

post #1584 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threeputt View Post



Hi DW, Thanks for your generous posts over the years. I recently received these hand welted shoes with shell cordovan uppers. You'll note some puckering around the toe inseam. Also, the left shoe is showing some of the inseam stitches themselves. Would you be so kind as to describe the causes of this and what problems I can expect should I decide to keep and wear them?

Other opinions are of course welcome.

Thanks Again.

I had the same "grinning" problem. As DW mentioned to me in a previous post,dust and water can get easily into the shoe so its integrity can be much affected. My HW paír was remaked by the manufacturer without hesitation.
post #1585 of 1710
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post


The fact that it seemed to crease quite heavily I noticed from the few steps I took in the shoes Janne made, before they were thrown in the garbage bin. A bit like the very thin Polish crust leather that Saint Crispin's use, which in many cases creases a lot (that can hold a shine very well though smile.gif )

I'd be interested in seeing a photograph of what you (or Nicholas) consider heavy creasing. I'm not sure what people are referring to with that complaint. Is it the leather itself or the thickness or the fit?

Not all leathers will crease like shell and the lighter weight it is the more likely the leather will crease in fine lines rather than large rolls. I make boots and shoes out of 3 ounce kangaroo...I would be surprised if it creased like 4 ounce calf. But some people like a finer break rather than the rolls of shell (and vice versa, of course). Either way it's one of the "prices" you pay for a lighter weight leather...and, by extension, a lighter shoe.

All that said....most of the photos I've seen on SF where heavy creasing was being reference, the problems originated with the fit over the joint and instep and not the leather itself. (not saying that's the issue with yours or ntempleman's trial shoes but I would like to see examples of what you're talking about...for my own education, if nothing else.)
post #1586 of 1710
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


I'd be interested in seeing a photograph of what you (or Nicholas) consider heavy creasing. I'm not sure what people are referring to with that complaint. Is it the leather itself or the thickness or the fit?

Not all leathers will crease like shell and the lighter weight it is the more likely the leather will crease in fine lines rather than large rolls. I make boots and shoes out of 3 ounce kangaroo...I would be surprised if it creased like 4 ounce calf. But some people like a finer break rather than the rolls of shell (and vice versa, of course). Either way it's one of the "prices" you pay for a lighter weight leather...and, by extension, a lighter shoe.

All that said....most of the photos I've seen on SF where heavy creasing was being reference, the problems originated with the fit over the joint and instep and not the leather itself. (not saying that's the issue with yours or ntempleman's trial shoes but I would like to see examples of what you're talking about...for my own education, if nothing else.)

 

I wouldn't compare it to cordovan creases like Nicholas did, not as I remember them at least, it was more thin deep creases so to speak, maybe with some rolling in between though. The Polish leather Saint Crispin's use (the shoe brand now) is also very thin, and I though it was more like that. And it's not necessarily a fault, more a matter of taste I guess. Here's a couple of example of StC shoes:

 

 

post #1587 of 1710


I volunteered my wife for Guinea pig duties, and this is how they look after no more than half a dozen wears.

It's worth bearing in mind that these, like most of my shoes, are a snug fit over the vamp (a little too snug in fact, which is why they haven't had too many wears until I have time to adjust them - there were a few years between lastmaking and actual shoemaking). Also these are a true wing cap, double layer of upper, no skiving underneath.

It's not "bad" per se, just what the material does. I wouldn't want this to happen on my smart shoes after a handful of wears though, and as a result I'm not comfortable selling it for that purpose. For a pair of Autumn/Winter-walk-to-the-office Derbies for my wife though, it's pretty good stuff.
post #1588 of 1710


Another angle.

(Excuse the mess, just got back from a week away and didn't have time to tidy before leaving)
post #1589 of 1710
i too was doubtful
about veg tanned
in terms of
hassle in maintaining
teh shoe..

so meccareillo sent
me a pic of a shoe
he made for
teh ready to wear
line of rubinacci back in
2000s
and the client went
to see him in jan of
this year to greet him
wearing teh shoe

2upp8qg.jpg

2zoyxjc.jpg
post #1590 of 1710
Worth clarifying that my last two posts were specifically in regards to the St Crispins stuff rather than anything veg tanned
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