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Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..." - Page 110

post #1636 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

@DWFII

Was not quite sure which thread to place this question.
But some days ago on another thread, the topic of round closing was brought up.
You provided a link to an entry made by Master Al Saguto on the CC, of which I quote:

"These stitches are made one at a time by eye ........ No pre-holing, or nothing will align right."

Also on that same thread, there was another picture of another maker executing the round closed stitch but it does clearly show that all the holes were already "pre-awled". 
Do you think this would pose a significant problem in the final product?

Hard to say. But I will tell you that Master Saguto's standards are perhaps a little higher than most of us.

The problem with preholing (and I think he spoke of it in the write-up from the CC), is that when you prehole you're not compensating for differences of temper that can exist even in as short a distance as a quarter inch. Multiply those differences by two...once for each side of the seam and then again by the number of stitches in a seam and you can get puckering or an uneven "lie" in the finished seam.

Whether that will be significant or even whether it will look off is hard to say . Maybe yes sometimes, maybe no sometimes.
post #1637 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Hard to say. But I will tell you that Master Saguto's standards are perhaps a little higher than most of us.

The problem with preholing (and I think he spoke of it in the write-up from the CC), is that when you prehole you're not compensating for differences of temper that can exist even in as short a distance as a quarter inch. Multiply those differences by two...once for each side of the seam and then again by the number of stitches in a seam and you can get puckering or an uneven "lie" in the finished seam.

Whether that will be significant or even whether it will look off is hard to say . Maybe yes sometimes, maybe no sometimes.

Thanks DW, for your time and explanation.

post #1638 of 1709
One comment. If I am correct, the picture you refer to is a apron of a dover-like upper. Note that these uppers only have the 'tunnel' stitch (aka 'split' stitch (?) per Mr. Saguto, or 'skin stitch' per E. Green) on one of the pieces of leather. So, assuming that is a correct recollection, that is a different situation from the one to which Mr. Saguto refers.

It is reasonable to pre-hole the leather in a Dover like apron -- the hole in the other piece of leather will be made as the sewing is done, so there is no issue in lining up the holes. Given the aesthetic importance of consistent spacing of the stitches in the apron of the shoe, pre-holing gives a consistent look to the apron. Of course, there remains a challenge if/when the leather is not of suitable temper, but that is of less consequence when one is using quality leather, and also the apron seam isn't a high-stress seam on the shoe. The 2 guys at E Green who sew these uppers spend their entire day sewing such seams, and if it were the case that doing it by eye were superior, I dare say they would be doing so.

As DW and Mr. Saguto say, trying to pre-hole a true round-stitch seam is madness, because in that case not only are there the temper/leather quality issues, but achieving consistent alignment of the holes on both pieces of leather will be virtually impossible if the leather is pre-holed. (BTW, the E Green guys do not pre-hole the seam of the toe on Dovers, etc, as this is a round stitch, not a split and lift stitch.)
post #1639 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoefan View Post

One comment. If I am correct, the picture you refer to is a apron of a dover-like upper. Note that these uppers only have the 'tunnel' stitch (aka 'split' stitch (?) per Mr. Saguto, or 'skin stitch' per E. Green) on one of the pieces of leather. So, assuming that is a correct recollection, that is a different situation from the one to which Mr. Saguto refers.

Now I am not sure which image @ThunderMarch was referring to...I thought it was this one:



If so, quite clearly the leather of the soon-to-be "round stitched" split-toe has been pre-holed. ...as has the forepart of the soon-to-be "split and lift" apron.

I can't speak for or second guess the maker in that photo but I suspect Master Saguto...coming, as he does, from a Tradition that aspired to and extolled 50+ spi, done by hand, and who teaches 18+spi by hand...might have a somewhat different perspective than most of us with regard to what is acceptable, much less "good better, best."

Nevermind "best practices."
post #1640 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderMarch View Post

Thanks DW, for your time and explanation.

No problem...

cheers.gif
post #1641 of 1709
Actually yes @DWFII
That was exactly the photo I was referring to. And I'd thought that it was indeed pre-holed on both edges.
But thanks for your input @shoefan, that was still very informative.
post #1642 of 1709
Yes, I now see that your surmise appears correct. I must say that pre-holing the round seam is surprising to me. However, I would note that the toe seam features two straight, equal length pieces of leather, which will make the pre-holing less difficult than a curved seam would be. I do agree with DW that is would not be consistent with tradition.

When I've cut a split toe, to be round-closed, I cut the pieces with a curve (akin to how the 'forme' comes off the last); it makes sewing the seam a bit more difficult but makes lasting in the toe easier, as it reduces the excess leather than one needs to last around the toe. Trying to pre-hole a curved, round-closed seam would be very difficult.

Also, those awl holes on the vamp look pretty large, which may make the sewing easier when doing the apron seam, but will reduce its strength. I would imagine the closer likely still uses the awl a second time when doing the actual sewing, because finding the hole in the edge of the leather with the bristle (or a needle) is pretty challenging if you don't have something to follow into the hole.

The one benefit I can see to the pre-holing is it will help insure the apron ends up being correctly aligned with the vamp pieces. If you are making the holes (even in just the vamp pieces and not the apron) as you go, it is easy to get the apron a bit out of alignment, which then makes the toe a bit mis-shaped and the upper sit a bit askew on the last (believe me, I have experience with this, unfortunately).
post #1643 of 1709
(for some reason most of my reply didn't show before, tried editing it to see if it works now)

^^^Regarding the above discussion, Edward Green does in fact pre-punch their round-stitched toe seam. Here's some pics I've taken of Andy Peach of Edward Green doing the stitching:






And here's a film:


Edited by j ingevaldsson - 9/29/16 at 10:29pm
post #1644 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

And here's a film:



Interesting. Do you have also a video of round stitching the tongue?
post #1645 of 1709
Thanks @shoefan.
Much appreciated indeed.
post #1646 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by j ingevaldsson View Post

And here's a film:



Guess my memory has failed me!
post #1647 of 1709
Quote:
Originally Posted by vmss View Post


Interesting. Do you have also a video of round stitching the tongue?

 

No video unfortunately, but a few pics. It doesn't show perfectly here, but as I remember it the vamp/tounge part is pre-punched, while the sides are not:

 

 

post #1648 of 1709

Hi DW, I have read most of your post about shoemaking Tradition, but the concept of the term is not still clear to me.   Is the use of nails part of the Tradition?.  What about the use of metal shanks?.  Would you say that HW without a carved holdfast is part of the shoemaking Tradition?. What about the use of rubber outsoles commonly used by most shoemakers recently?.  Is the shoemaking Tradition evolving nowadays and accepting innovations as part of the Traditions?.  Who or what institution/s preserves and updates the content of Tradition?. Are they generally accepted by most cordwainers? Is the Guild of Craft in the shoemaking static?.  Are there different shoemaking Traditions depending of shoemaking schools (english/american/austro-hungarian and the like). Why are you the only shoemaker in SF who does great effort to explain and preserve the content of that term?. I  do not think cordwainers today pay much attention to the term Tradition but it seems very relevant to a small minority.

 

I would like you to clarify me what is all about for a better understanding. TIA.

post #1649 of 1709
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapasman View Post

Hi DW, I have read most of your post about shoemaking Tradition, but the concept of the term is not still clear to me.   Is the use of nails part of the Tradition?.  What about the use of metal shanks?.  Would you say that HW without a carved holdfast is part of the shoemaking Tradition?. What about the use of rubber outsoles commonly used by most shoemakers recently?.  Is the shoemaking Tradition evolving nowadays and accepting innovations as part of the Traditions?.  Who or what institution/s preserves and updates the content of Tradition?. Are they generally accepted by most cordwainers? Is the Guild of Craft in the shoemaking static?.  Are there different shoemaking Traditions depending of shoemaking schools (english/american/austro-hungarian and the like). Why are you the only shoemaker in SF who does great effort to explain and preserve the content of that term?. I  do not think cordwainers today pay much attention to the term Tradition but it seems very relevant to a small minority.

I would like you to clarify me what is all about for a better understanding. TIA.

What a strange question. With all due respect...and I hope I'm wrong...it's almost as if you weren't really asking about shoemaking Traditions so much as challenging the idea that there is any authority above and beyond the self and the arbitrary.

If you want a definitive definition of "tradition" I can think of no better one than can be found in the Oxford English dictionary which stipulates that a tradition must be passed down from generation to generation. It cannot be something that we suddenly decide is a tradition because we've done it for two years in a row. Or ten years, or even faithfully for 100 years. And "passing it down"...which implies a certain level of respect, a recognition of our own place in the scheme of things, and perhaps most importantly a certain level of humility...is a critical part of Tradition. Any real Tradition.

If you want a more specific definition of Shoemaking Tradition you need to first be able and willing to bend the knee, to sit at someone else's feet, to listen, learn and openly acknowledge your own ignorance. Openly acknowledge and respect the effort and the achievements of those who have gone before and who, by every objective measure, have reached skill levels that you yourself can only marvel at. And hope to emulate, if only roughly.

At that point, you might be able to read the literature and look at the history and the artifacts of past shoemakers and honour and appreciate "what a piece of work is man...."

Therein lie the Traditions.

And yes, you are right, only a small minority of people today...in this age of continuous selfies and unbridled self absorption...consider anything outside of themselves worth allegiance, or respect or, as you say, relevant.

Why am I the "only shoemaker" who goes to "'great effort to explain?" I don't think I am. But if so, perhaps it is simply because I am foolish enough to think it is worthwhile in and of itself. Or maybe it's because I cannot allow myself to give up on my fellow man. Or more likely, it is because somewhere along the line of my life I ran across someone who was wise enough and generous enough to pass that lesson of respect...even reverence...on to me. Maybe I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time.

Maybe it's just the luck of the draw.

Karma, neh?

edited for punctuation and clarity
Edited by DWFII - 10/12/16 at 6:33am
post #1650 of 1709
Thread Starter 
And FWIW...there is a big difference between "changing" and "evolving." No one would deny the changing part. I, myself, deviate (occasionally and, hopefully, only as necessary) from Traditional shoemaking techniques and have even "invented" techniques that are outside Traditional paradigms.

But unless techniques and processes can equal or even surpass the objective quality and finesse of that which has gone before, it cannot, by any stretch of the equivocating imagination, be called "evolution."
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