Originally Posted by ntempleman
I'm not sure what you're trying to dispel or correct, because I don't think there were any claims made about certain practices being "better" than others - it's just a description of how I work, nothing more.
To continue your analogy, you're right in that it doesn't matter too much which process you use to get to the end result, much like a good tailor can made a good coat by adjusting a standard block pattern rather than going to the bother of creating a new one. In my experience though, people fitting up lasts rarely touch the wood/plastic itself to avoid damaging one of their "stock" and you end up with areas that aren't properly fitting - the sole is probably the most overlooked when I consider it to be the most important, personally.
I'm not saying you don't, of course, just generalising. There's pros and cons to every approach, this one is just mine and it works for me. Usually. It's also worth noting that when I go back to a last and adjust it, it's rarely for purposes of fit - 9/10 times its aesthetic; fine tuning a toe shape etc.
Again...I was not addressing the issue of how you work. I respect anyone who can take a block of wood and carve lasts that, though being left and right, have the exact same radii in the forepart and heel seat and the same degree in the heel, same same exact toe spring, etc..
And again that's why I quoted the issue and the individual I felt needed to be addressed.
As far as not touching the wood/plastic to avoid damaging stock...yes, that's common and maybe even one of the chief reasons people choose that approach. However, if you start with a last that is smaller (or spot on) than what you ultimately want to achieve, there's no more harm...and no less
rationale...in doing that than starting with a rough cut that is several sizes too big.
That said, I have never been reluctant to cut a last if needed. But IMO, all build ups (or removals) are, on some level and at some point in the process, ultimately aesthetic.