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Shoes Explained - Page 6

post #76 of 119
A further comment... It is almost in the nature of one of those "eternal verities" that shoemakers...even those who respect and admire each other...will do some things differently. Depending on the point you want to prove you can always find someone to quote or hold up as an examplar of your point of view. Before I would get excited about such sampling, I would ask "How does Anthony Delos do it?" "How does Jan Petter Myrhe do it?" How did Golding or Sabagge or Rees or Leno or Swayland do it?" How did John Lobb do it?" How does John Lobb St. James Street do it?" It may be stating the obvious but I suspect that I have spent more years actually making shoes and boots than most of the "shoes groupies" (no disrespect intended) on this forum have been alive. This is one of the reasons that I so seldom reference other makers or even even the literature...I simply don't need to. I get up every morning thinking about boots and shoes. I spend every hour of my work day handling, evaluating and cutting leather. I spend time almost every week lasting shoes or boots, making up waxed ends, and inseaming or outseaming. I don't need to fall back on quoting other sources to fill in for my lack of hands-on experience. What you get from me comes straight from the bench. That said, I am not immune to the influences or expertise of someone like Marcel. But quoting a book or referencing one or two (or even a dozen) makers out of hundreds(?) doesn't speak to me or to the issues that bring me to StyleForum. Most people here simply have no frame of reference for information such as this. It almost becomes an exercise in "branding" or marketing to put forth (or even accept) explanations that are not really explanations but merely citations. Understanding only comes by thinking through the processes and the results...intended and/or, more importantly, unintended. "You pays your money, takes your choice." Indeed.
post #77 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Depending on the point you want to prove you can always find someone to quote or hold up as an examplar of your point of view.

Well, that works either way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
I would ask "How does Anthony Delos do it?" "How does Jan Petter Myrhe do it?" How did Golding or Sabagge or Rees or Leno or Swayland do it?" How did John Lobb do it?" How does John Lobb St. James Street do it?"

Have you asked them, have you seen their work, have you inspected it?

I stick my neck out and I claim, all English shoes "˜made to West-End standards' will use a tarred felt filler. (West-End standard means the shoes come from one of the half dozen or so firms, which will charge top-whack.)

This method has been around since at least one hundred years and is just the traditional English way of doing things. Equally they will all work with a fudge wheel, while in Austria and Hungary they use a "˜stitch-marker'. Jan-Petter Myrrhe and Janne Melkersson pride themselves in making "˜English shoes', so in all probability, they will use those long-established English techniques which are considered "good practice. (I've never seen a pair of either man's shoes in the flesh, but I know the work of Janne's favourite maker, a Swede, who lived and worked for quite a few year in England and working for many of the top West-End firms.

Marcell, using cork sheets and a stitch-marker (just as Vass does) is very much within the Austro/Hungarian main stream. Italian shoemakers use all kinds of fancy stitching (Norvegese, Bentivegna) and have their own traditions, which is removed from the Austro/Hungarian and English school.

And within the American shoe/boot making tradition your use of no bottom filler (or scrap leather)might well be main stream but why do you assume that continental makers do likewise?

Of course we can sort it out once and for good, contact some three or four dozen of international shoemakers and ask them about the way they do things. But then. Shoemakers are a secretive lot. Until the 1950s or 60s, there used to be in Soho (London) a workshop ("like out of Dickens"), where jobbing makers could hire a bench and a stool on a daily basis. Apparently all these workbenches had curtains in between, that you could hide your "˜secrets' before the prying eyes of your colleagues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
This is one of the reasons that I so seldom reference other makers or even even the literature...I simply don't need to. I get up every morning thinking about boots and shoes. I spend every hour of my work day handling, evaluating and cutting leather. I spend time almost every week lasting shoes or boots, making up waxed ends, and inseaming or outseaming. I don't need to fall back on quoting other sources to fill in for my lack of hands-on experience.

What you get from me comes straight from the bench.

Well, from one bench!

So, because you do things in a certain way, you presume that is the only way to make a shoe. So if you read or see or inspect a shoe that was made differently to your way, it doesn't pique your curiosity and you never wonder whether or not this is a better way to do things than the way you established?

Try it out, if it doesn't work for you dismiss it, but try it out! - Only the cat got killed through curiosity!
post #78 of 119
Personnally I would far prefer that the filler be real leather but is it possible that the tarred felt is used to prevent moisture from wicking to the insole when walking in water?

If this is a possibility wouldn't tarred leather or greased leather be better anyways?

Like why have gold jewelry made with a zinc core, wouldn't you also want the core to be gold as well?

Aside from the jewelry example above (where cost would be a huge factor) the use of other fillers instead of leather can't just be cost, but there doesn't seem to be any other good reasons.
post #79 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post
Well, from one bench!
Well yes, but despite your tremendous wealth of knowledge...which I readily salute...it is better than no bench. My point is not to get into a pissing contest about this but to point out that actual work and thinking about these things day and night does more than create a database of knowledge, it forces a way of thinking about things. Insights that don't come with book learning. For instance, 99% of the time I can pick up a shoemaking tool and know instinctively how it is/was held in the hand even if I've never seen it before. 99% of the time I can run my hands over a piece of leather and know if it will be suitable for shoes or boots. I'm not unique in that regard...not personally, not as a shoemaker. That said, I suspect that it would be nearly impossible for someone who is not similarly engaged to acquire those insights. It is like "sitting on the dock of the bay" with your toes dangling in the water as opposed to someone actually swimming in the bay. You have the better of me as far as knowledge about the English shoe trade goes. Personally, I like English shoes and the West End trade. I think they are a benchmark of quality that is unparalled in the history of the Trade. But that doesn't guarantee that all English or even all West End shoemaking practices are "best practice," anymore than the techniques that DW has developed over the years are best practice (as much as I would like to think they were.) If I don't have an underlying rationale for my practices, chances are they are not going to be well thought-out or understood. Anyone who can provide such a rationale deserves my attention whether I agree with them or not. Anyone defending a technique who cannot articulate the reasons why it is to be preferred over another, shouldn't be. At the very least it should be understood as a moment for learning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post
So, because you do things in a certain way, you presume that is the only way to make a shoe. So if you read or see or inspect a shoe that was made differently to your way, it doesn’t pique your curiosity and you never wonder whether or not this is a better way to do things than the way you established? !
Of course. I learn from every maker I come into contact with. That said, sometimes the things I learn are not what was intended. IOW, I don't always agree. Part of it is seeing the connection and the understanding that that particular individual brings to their work. Things done just because...or just because a famous maker or respected mentor did it that way in the past...do not add up to understanding. Such work is likely more rote than right. I don't claim to speak for every maker...nor do I claim to be the last word...but "presuming" is also something I don't do. If it makes no logical sense or clearly detracts from the quality of the work then I question whether there isn't a better way. I begin to doubt whether it could possibly be the right way. And I strongly suspect that it cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called "best practices."
post #80 of 119
Well that pretty much puts English and European shoemakers in their place !
They have been using funny materials and doing second rate work all this time. How dare they .
Come on get real, make your shoes your way , let them do it their way and the world will still spin.
You have very strong opinions and they are valid but I find it confusing that you respect such firms as John Lobb London, J.P Myhre, and other European makers but you find their preferred methods less than optimum.
Your shoemaking could well be the finest ever seen, I hope so. Don't waste your time trying to educate people who have no clue of your trade, make shoes and blow the rest away. You know your the best, it's only a matter of time
post #81 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by sully View Post
....
I suspect you have a problem with reading and comprehension. Your remarks are so divorced from what I was saying as to be virtually incoherent.
post #82 of 119
thanks dwf and bengal stripe!
post #83 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
In my opinion..as a maker...both tar and cork are answers to questions that never were and never needed to be asked in the first place. Solutions to non-existent problems, IOW.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sully View Post
Well that pretty much puts English and European shoemakers in their place !
They have been using funny materials and doing second rate work all this time. How dare they .

Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Your remarks are so divorced from what I was saying as to be virtually incoherent.

I think, that was the statement, sully is refering to.
post #84 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post
I think, that was the statement, sully is refering to.
Let's have a snipe hunt. I don't care who was referring to what. It's a stretch in any case--but comforting, I suppose, if that's what you're looking for. Bottom line...people who engage in cheap shots are almost always incoherent for the simple reason that they seldom bother to read for content and are always looking for opportunities to jump in without the commitment of having to engage in rational discussion. And, AFAIC, "we do it that way because we've always done it that way" isn't really rational discussion, either.
post #85 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenon View Post
Personnally I would far prefer that the filler be real leather but is it possible that the tarred felt is used to prevent moisture from wicking to the insole when walking in water? If this is a possibility wouldn't tarred leather or greased leather be better anyways? Like why have gold jewelry made with a zinc core, wouldn't you also want the core to be gold as well? Aside from the jewelry example above (where cost would be a huge factor) the use of other fillers instead of leather can't just be cost, but there doesn't seem to be any other good reasons.
But wicking would be a good thing, don't you see? The problem is that we tend to see wicking as being akin to a sponge--water moving from wet to dry. And it's not a bad analogy except it doesn't hold up in detail. Wicking is far more passive...moisture has a place to go rather than building up around the foot. I suspect tar paper, as a forepart filling, just arose accidentally--some shoemaker had just been tar papering his shop and ran out of glue at the same time. Rather than make up a new batch...which often requires boiling and a mulling stage of a day or more...he just slapped a scrap of tar paper in there, reasoning that the tar would keep the outsole and insole from rubbing against each other and squeaking. And it's not really a bad approach or even faulty reasoning...it's just unnecessary--as the tragic centuries of shoemakers wandering in a wilderness devoid of tar paper prior to its invention would suggest. Personally and professionally, I have less problem with tar paper than with cork...which as I say I is fugitive. A very good case can be made, however, that tar paper is a gratuitous expense...one that adds absolutely nothing to the objective quality of the shoe. And any shoemaker that can afford redundant materials and costs is doing a lot better than I am. That said, if he wants to indulge himself (and his pocketbook) in such extravagances, he has my blessing...for whatever that's worth. Beyond all that, 100 years is a small time in the history of the Trade...that only takes us back to the early 1900's, which, IIRC, just serendipitously coincides with the beginnings of big petroleum. It wasn't all that long after that and we begin to see a lot of petro-chemical based cements and toe puffs and plastic heels etc.. It also should be noted...for the record...that without question, we on this side of the pond have probably introduced more deleterious practices to shoemaking than any other country or culture.
post #86 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
But wicking would be a good thing, don't you see? The problem is that we tend to see wicking as being akin to a sponge--water moving from wet to dry. And it's not a bad analogy except it doesn't hold up in detail. Wicking is far more passive...moisture has a place to go rather than building up around the foot.
.

Believe me, I totally get this!!. This is one of the reasons i find fiberboard or other composite materials so offensive.
post #87 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by daruma View Post
thanks dwf and bengal stripe!
Yr. Hmb. Svt.
post #88 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
First, there is no last sizing standard that can be relied on 100% of the time.

There are many reasons for this...not the least is that each model of last is turned from a prototype. The shape and length and girths determine how all lasts turned from that prototype will grade. But more importantly if the original designer/modelmaker determines that the prototype is a, say, 9C--for whatever reason...capriciousness, vanity, whatever--all subsequent lasts will be graded and labeled relative to the prototype. And, as implied, the original sizing can sometimes be a mite arbitrary.

Compounding this, lasts lasts don't grade up or down arithmetically: a size five last will be relatively shorter than a size nine--you cannot just take a size five, add four-thirds of an inch, and arrive at a size nine.

Compounding that, within a "run"/model set, a size 9E will be longer than a size 9A.

And to make matters worse, last sizes are not congruent from one manufacturer to another.
And UK sizes are not congruent with US sizes or European sizes, etc., and vice-versa.

Beyond all that the length of the foot is not the end all and be all of foot size or last selection (although many people buy shoes based on information conveyed to them by sales people who measure the length of foot...only..to determine size).

The length of the foot from the back of the heel to the medial ball joint is far, far and away more important for determining the proper size of last.

Heel seat width, tread width...and even such esoterica as short and/or long heel measurements...can be critical in obtaining a good fit.

The average joe doesn't know how to measure any of these dimensions and the shoe salesman is in no better position.

The bottom line? You cannot buy shoes off of Ebay (or anywhere online) with any real sense of surety that you will get a good fit.

Thanks so much. It just proves to me I need to try on shoes and figure out what I like before buying.
post #89 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Thomas View Post
Thanks so much. It just proves to me I need to try on shoes and figure out what I like before buying.
Yr. Svt.
post #90 of 119
is tooling leather ever used for insoles? the outsole is NOT the same leather used for insoles, right?
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