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Shoe Damage Report & Shoe P0rn Central - Part II

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Oyaji, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Icarus

    Icarus Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the same thing. A bit harsh. Even if one doesn't care for the fashion forward look of those shoes, they do look well crafted. Not that there's anything wrong with a functional pair of brogue boots to muck around in, but the main value of that featured pair is function, not aesthetic. Also, I feel I should add the clicking doesn't look like its hand done, probably stamped by a hydro clicking machine, Blake McCabe welted, cheap leather, gimping is improperly shaped and over 300 pounds! But, you can't have enough pairs of brogues.
    I know learning any craft makes one want to sort of "show people the light", but... There is no benefit to hand clicking, other than not having to invest in machinery. To me, preserving cutting leather by hand is more-so something to keep alive for tradition's sake. Sargent was part of the whole "industrial revolution" so I don't think they should be criticized for using machines. Most of the modern facilities don't use hydro stamping presses, they use CAD system to cut the leather. Those still using the presses do so because of the high cost of the machinery. About the welt...huh? Blake McCabe was once famous for their lock-stitch machine. That's used to make most loafers and "blake stitched" shoes. If nothing has changed, Sargent still does goodyear and with custom machinery that really speeds up the process. Using a Landis curved-needle machine is impractical their purposes. Those kinds of mass produced machines are targeted towards the shoe repair segment. The leather is clearly corrected-grain but 90% of leather is. For prices they charge, paprika is unquestionably the better choice. Edit: Back from new years, just realized this is my first post of the year
     
  2. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I know learning any craft makes one want to sort of "show people the light", but... There is no benefit to hand clicking, other than not having to invest in machinery. To me, preserving cutting leather by hand is more-so something to keep alive for tradition's sake. Sargent was part of the whole "industrial revolution" so I don't think they should be criticized for using machines.
    I suspect that you really haven't though this through. CAD/CAM or hydraulic clickers(either/or) share the same weakness that all mechanized operations designed to work with natural materials share--there's no one at the wheel. All you have to do is read Thornton or even earlier writers (Golding, Swaysland, etc.) who began to set this down at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to see the trends and the eventual actualities. With mechanized clickers, patterns are laid on, and cut from, leather hides with no regard for strength, direction of stretch, or thickness. The sole purpose is to maximize cutting and ostensibly, minimize waste. Hand clicking means the maker has actually look at and evaluate the leather under his hand. Each piece...and always with an eye towards the individual shoes being made. For instance...one instance...high quality shoes benefit when certain components are deliberately cut "tight" in one direction or another. Another good example of one of the least detrimental results is simply the way so many pairs of shell cordovan shoes look like they were made from mis-matched hides. They weren't....the patterns were simply fitted on the shell with no regard to direction. All this can be done by the operator of a clicking machine but in the end it takes as much time...sometimes more...as when clicking by hand. And the operator still has no real, intimate knowledge or concern or responsibility for what happens when the pieces leave his station. You may be a great fan and advocate of machine made...anything and everything. But be careful in what you wish for. No major name in shoemaking that started out as a highly regarded and premium product and which subsequently converted to mass produced methods has retained either the value or the worth that it originally commanded. And, to my knowledge, none has ever reversed the decline once mass production methods were introduced. Soon there won't be a significant difference...let me reiterate--significant difference...between AE's and EG's or G&G's (if there is one now), regardless of the marketing hype or the price. Not that the manufacturers...or the fan boys...would ever admit to such even in the face of something so clearly devolved as fiberboard insoles. And of course, there's no reason that you won't still be able to feel that "shine" of social superiority at having paid more for shoes than the poor unenlightened slobs who are all around us..and more than they are worth when considering the cost of production. All that's just a function of marketing and your willingness (gullibility) to buy into it. When everything is reduced to ticky-tacky, perceived value is only a function of marketing. But in the end, if you're honest, you'll have to acknowledge that it's a world of your own making and you'll have to live in it.
     
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  3. Icarus

    Icarus Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that you really haven't though this through. CAD/CAM or hydraulic clickers(either/or) share the same weakness that all mechanized operations designed to work with natural materials share--there's no one at the wheel. All you have to do is read Thornton or even earlier writers (Golding, Swaysland, etc.) who began to set this down at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to see the trends and the eventual actualities.

    With mechanized clickers, patterns are laid on, and cut from, leather hides with no regard for strength, direction of stretch, or thickness. The sole purpose is to maximize cutting and ostensibly, minimize waste.

    Hand clicking means the maker has actually look at and evaluate the leather under his hand. Each piece...and always with an eye towards the individual shoes being made. For instance...one instance...high quality shoes benefit when certain components are deliberately cut "tight" in one direction or another.

    Another good example of one of the least detrimental results is simply the way so many pairs of shell cordovan shoes look like they were made from mis-matched hides. They weren't....the patterns were simply fitted on the shell with no regard to direction.

    All this can be done by the operator of a clicking machine but in the end it takes as much time...sometimes more...as when clicking by hand. And the operator still has no real, intimate knowledge or concern or responsibility for what happens when the pieces leave his station.

    You may be a great fan and advocate of machine made...anything and everything. But be careful in what you wish for. No major name in shoemaking that started out as a highly regarded and premium product and which subsequently converted to mass produced methods has retained either the value or the worth that it originally commanded. And, to my knowledge, none has ever reversed the decline once mass production methods were introduced.

    Soon there won't be a significant difference...let me reiterate--significant difference...between AE's and EG's or G&G's (if there is one now), regardless of the marketing hype or the price. Not that the manufacturers...or the fan boys...would ever admit to such even in the face of something so clearly devolved as fiberboard insoles.

    And of course, there's no reason that you won't still be able to feel that "shine" of social superiority at having paid more for shoes than the poor unenlightened slobs who are all around us..and more than they are worth when considering the cost of production. All that's just a function of marketing and your willingness (gullibility) to buy into it.

    But in the end, if you're honest, you'll have to acknowledge that it's a world of your own making and you'll have to live in it.


    Mr. Frommer,

    As I've said before, I think you're a remarkable shoemaker. The shoes you make are clearly superior to anything being mass produced.


    You are wrong about machines, however. You are not to blame as a lot of the developments are somewhat recent, and news of their use has stayed primarily within the industry.

    I've visited the upholstery shops of Gulfstream and Rolls Royce and have seen the technology in use. Highest yields are not the priority, time efficiency is. Using a laser projector held by a human, each piece of the pattern is "placed" on the hide. The machine then cuts the patterns as they've been placed for it. The workers take into account imperfections, thickness, and the grain/pull of the entire hide. It's like digging a ditch with a crane instead of a shovel. It's faster and more efficient. The operators have an incredible amount of skill, they know the leather first, and machine operating second. They have an enormous amount of pride and responsibility for what leaves their "station"; this is dictated by the operating mantra of the company, and what you point out is in no way inherent in machine manufacturing, though I agree it is prevalent.

    You also make some pretty big assumptions about what I like and do not like, which I forgive you for because if you do not defend your craft, then who will?

    I do not think that machine made anything and everything is "best". It's more efficient. The free market calls for people to fill demands faster, cheaper, and more effectively. The flip side of that coin is that if the standards of shoes fall too low, people will demand higher quality. The shoe manufacturers will most likely not listen, as they've invested so much in their processes to change them at that point, but people will enter the marketplace to fill in the gap. This explains the enormous renewed interest in hand made, quality goods.

    You also seem to think that hand made = quality, but the truth is a see plenty of hand made crap. Not all hand made shoes are made to your standards. The old European system of guilds was meant to set a level of quality, but effectively it just kept people out of the market. Nettletons used to make great shoes here in the states, but they weren't able to wait out consumer's return to quality. Saying that all shoe brands will be the same is totally illogical as well -- again this totally goes against free market principals and the fact that there are different levels of machine made goods. A BMW and a Daewoo are both machine built but of totally different quality. I do not see BMW's quality falling, and brands like Daewoo are significant upping their R&D budget to make higher quality cars.

    As far as the whole, "It's your world bit", I found this to be the strangest thing in your post. You are the shoemaker, not I. Have you trained 100 shoemakers, then sent them off to cities around the world to "fight machine made shoes"? How exactly am I forming the world in the regard to refer to? I do not buy shoe made by EG, etc. If you are talking about this generation (and myself...though what generation, I'm not sure) failing to live to certain standards, the majority of the blame lies with you and your generation. What do you want the average consumer to do about it? You talk about it like everyone has equal access to both hand made and machine made shoes, yet still "make the wrong choice".
     
  4. rnoldh

    rnoldh Well-Known Member

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    I can provide answers to any technical shoe related questions to any fellow shoe lovers who want to know how shoes are made. Happy New Year,
    Andrew


    Happy New Year to you Andrew.

    Your shoes are certainly a labor of love and one-off ( or whatever the term ).

    We have another shoe lover here on SF named Andrew. He is in NYC and I doubt even he has a pair like these, though he has quite a collection.[​IMG]
     
  5. Icarus

    Icarus Well-Known Member

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    Also, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to everyone in here!
     
  6. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Well-Known Member

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    Also, I feel I should add the clicking doesn't look like its hand done, probably stamped by a hydro clicking machine, Blake McCabe welted, cheap leather........

    It is highly unlikely those AS "country range" boots are clicked using a "die" (a punch form like a cookie cutter). The investment in a set of dies is extremely high, not only do you need a die for each piece of the pattern (which can be five or more per design), you also need for every size a separate set of dies. You would only invest that kind of money if you have a long-running model which you can produce in significant quantities. Boots, at one time the main stay of footwear factories, have become a niche product. For those few boots, any Northampton shoe factory turns out these days, dies would be a totally unwarranted expense.

    Whether a shoe is hand clicked or utilizes dies, has no difference on the final product. With either method, you can click as many pieces or as few pieces as you want to get out of a particular hide. Either method employs an operator and it's the skill of that clicker, (and his brief, whether or not he has to cut "˜economical"˜) that decides the final outcome. Those clicker, doing all day nothing else than clicking, are highly experienced to see flaws in the leather and cut around those flaws.

    One thing used in quality work (but not in lesser grades) is the fact that all parts of a particular pair are cut from the same hide. It is much simpler and quicker to use the same form (whether it's a die or a cardboard pattern) and continue clicking that same piece over and over until you have enough, and than take another form and continue.

    Who is Blake/McCabe? You might mean Blake/McKay, but this is not a welted method.
     
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  7. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Frommer, As I've said before, I think you're a remarkable shoemaker. The shoes you make are clearly superior to anything being mass produced. You are wrong about machines, however. You are not to blame as a lot of the developments are somewhat recent, and news of their use has stayed primarily within the industry.
    I apologize if my remarks came off as personalized. I was using a somewhat generic "you" when I made the post. I am not going to address specific points but answer what I think is the gist of your remarks. I wonder if you (generic "you") can point to a significant difference between the perspectives, objectives or even the results of shoe manufacturers and those who want or have already begun to nationalize the health care system in this country? Isn't it really "mass medicine" in the same sense as "mass production"--with all it's good points and all its drawbacks--but, inevitably, with everything reduced to an homogenized mediocrity? I am not looking to take this analogy very far or to make this an issue but it seems to me that it's not machines per se or even methods that is at fault here but a way of thinking that we all buy into. You may live long enough to find yourself sitting in front of input terminal of some kind entering your symptoms...never talking to a real human being...and waiting for a "triaged" diagnosis for which there is no appeal. And perhaps you (a generic "you") will be able to take comfort in the fact that in the end it's not much different than an RTW shoe. But again, think it through...when that day comes (and if it's like every other aspect of our society, it must) what will happen to the doctors? Will there be a demand for them? Will their skills and perspectives be footnoted in some data bank as a rather interesting bit of history? Will that be a good day? Sure, there's bad bespoke shoemakers...some are new, some are over their heads, some are just hacks...but there's no line of bespoke seconds. The point is that every manufacturer not only makes as many mistakes as the individual shoemaker but then...as much because we accept it as any other reason...sells those mistakes, usually above the cost of production. The thing that gets to me, I guess, is that possibly...probably...unwittingly, we all tend to dismiss, disparage and demean excellence when we can't afford it or are preparing ourselves to accept "second best." We set ourselves up for, and embrace, the lowest common denominator. It's not a healthy attitude but when it so pervades our thinking that everything is seen from that POV, the world we live in has to change...and not for the better. In my worst (and perhaps most realistic) moments I suspect it has already gone too far to change short of some major upheaval. [And parenthetically allowing it to happen without protest or even recognition makes a mockery of anything we say here...on any subject. I'm not comfortable with that, even in my dotage.] I don't expect everyone to have access to hand made shoes. I don't even expect everyone to understand the difference, much less the reasons why--the reasons to value people like Anthony Delos, for instance. I just hate to see all that is good dismissed as immaterial, archaic or even beside the point. There's so much mis-information on the Internet it is very nearly dis-information. People are going to make the choices they feel they need to make...sometimes even when they know they are wrong choices. And that's just the way of the world. But, to my way of looking at things, it is self-destructive to make those choices out of willful ignorance or self-deception.
     
  8. Orgetorix

    Orgetorix Well-Known Member

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    The thing that gets to me, I guess, is that possibly...probably...unwittingly, we all tend to dismiss, disparage and demean excellence when we can't afford it or are preparing ourselves to accept "second best." We set ourselves up for, and embrace, the lowest common denominator. It's not a healthy attitude but when it so pervades our thinking that everything is seen from that POV, the world we live in has to change...and not for the better. In my worst (and perhaps most realistic) moments I suspect it has already gone too far to change short of some major upheaval.
    I think this is where you part company, slightly, with me and many others on this board. We don't see valuing excellence and being willing to settle, at times, for "good enough" as mutually exclusive. I look forward to the day when I can afford the best bespoke shoes (should that day ever come). But until it comes, my settling for a shoe from AE doesn't mean I dismiss, disparage, or demean excellence. I value it and mean to have it as much as possible. And my choice doesn't put you or G&G or any of the other excellent shoemakers at risk. You weren't going to get my business anyway, because I can't afford you.
    I don't expect everyone to have access to hand made shoes. I don't even expect everyone to understand the difference, much less the reasons why--the reasons to value people like Anthony Delos, for instance. I just hate to see all that is good dismissed as immaterial, archaic or even beside the point. There's so much mis-information on the Internet it is very nearly dis-information. People are going to make the choices they feel they need to make...sometimes even when they know they are wrong choices. And that's just the way of the world. But, to my way of looking at things, it is self-destructive to make those choices out of willful ignorance or self-deception.
    As I've said before, I respect your experience and love what you've done to help educate us here at SF on quality shoemaking. But when you say stuff like this, it just comes off as condescending. You don't leave any room for the possibility that someone's choosing a shoe like AE might actually be the right choice for them. From your perspective, it's always a wrong choice--it's just a question of whether you're making it with your eyes open or not. Honestly, the impression I get from some of your posts is that if I don't do what's necessary to obtain the best quality (which, for me, would mean thousands of dollars in debt), I'm a fool. Maybe an ignorant fool or maybe a fool who knows he's a fool, but a fool nonetheless.
     
  9. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    I think this is where you part company, slightly, with me and many others on this board. We don't see valuing excellence and being willing to settle, at times, for "good enough" as mutually exclusive. I look forward to the day when I can afford the best bespoke shoes (should that day ever come). But until it comes, my settling for a shoe from AE doesn't mean I dismiss, disparage, or demean excellence. I value it an mean to have it as much as possible. And my choice doesn't put you or G&G or any of the other excellent shoemakers at risk. You weren't going to get my business anyway, because I can't afford you.
    I understand. I agree with you, as contradictory as that may seem at first glance. But when you understand and value excellence, you (again a generic "you) tend to avoid making light of the differences. You tend to reach for objectivity. To say "to be fair..." etc.. Or "I know it's not the best and I'm not going to defend it." Something like that. If you have to settle for "good enough," you need to have the objectivity to recognize it as less than what you ultimately aspire to and not to discount others who make a convincing case for a technique or material being less than optimal. Valuing excellence means recognizing that there is a hierarchy. And respecting that hierarchy. None of what you said above falls into the category of behaviour or attitude that I was talking about.
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    From your perspective, it's always a wrong choice--it's just a question of whether you're making it with your eyes open or not. Honestly, the impression I get from some of your posts is that if I don't do what's necessary to obtain the best quality (which, for me, would mean thousands of dollars in debt), I'm a fool. Maybe an ignorant fool or maybe a fool who knows he's a fool, but a fool nonetheless.
    Well, then I haven't communicated very well. Because IMO, it's always more about whether you make that choice with your eyes open than whether it's right or wrong. I don't/didn't mean to be condescending but...and maybe you have to work with your hands on some level above the hobbyist to understand...I do believe, as a craftsman, in hierarchies. Because, from my point of view, believing in hierarchies is all about aspirations and expecting the best of oneself (in this context myself). Of reaching for, if not always obtaining, excellence. It's dern sure not about defending techniques or products that clearly do not rise above the mundane or which I myself have no personal vested interest in or any objective knowledge about. I will not defend my choice of sports coats, for instance. I didn't weave the cloth I didn't cut the pieces...I have no idea whether it was done well or not. I just like it. And part and parcel with that, I won't buy into the manufacturer's claims that my Harris Tweed sports coat is the best sport coat being made in the UK...to paraphrase a somewhat notorious website.
     
  11. clintonf

    clintonf Well-Known Member

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    I understand. I agree with you, as contradictory as that may seem at first glance. But when you understand and value excellence, you (again a generic "you) tend to avoid making light of the differences. You tend to reach for objectivity. To say "to be fair..." etc.. Or "I know it's not the best and I'm not going to defend it." Something like that. If you have to settle for "good enough" you have the objectivity, in other words, to recognize it as less than what you ultimately aspire to and not to discount others who make a convincing case for a technique or material being less than optimal. Valuing excellence means recognizing that there is a hierarchy. And respecting that hierarchy. None of what you said above falls into the category of behaviour or attitude that I was talking about.
    Hi DW, we've had a few exchanges in the past and I do admire your passion and desire to provide substance that most of us can gain from. However, I do ask you to be mindful that we're on a quite specialised clothing forum. Most threads here can be categorised as a request for information/knowledge to some attempt to impart knowledge. So, I feel that most posters here will be able to make a decision on the choice of clothing or footwear that they choose. Not all of us have unlimited funds and more importantly, not all of us want to spend money on what is considered "the best" until they have explored some of the various options available. I have read some of the recent posts in this thread and I don't really see where you can make some of the statements above. Whilst I cannot speak for anyone else, I can say for me, there is nothing more frustrating than when people mis-represents facts. I personally do not care whether people like or dislike the shoes that I prefer. To this effect, I have stopped posting pictures of my shoes. However, I feel that after Groover kindly posted his choice of boots for people to comment on, there appeared to be some unnecessary comments about him and the construction of the boots. As I mentioned, in my previous post, that if someone wants to post information as fact, please ensure that they are indeed, fact. Speculating about the construction of an item of clothing or footwear, beyond a simple analysis at face value, should really be done with the product in the observers hands. If this is not possible, it shouldn't take much for an "expert" to talk with the makers to determine the facts about what they are commenting on. Sure, this site is about opinions. However, I'm on this site simply to learn. What I like about your posts is the passion they provide. I could not comment upon some of the facts you make, simply because I have absolutely no idea about most of them. Therefore, I defer to your experience, based upon the fact that I can go and research it, if needs be. But what you say sounds plausable, so there is little need to do disbelieve you. But what I don't like is when someone makes a comment as an expert without true qualification. That worries me, as most people do defer to so-called "experts". In this World, even if everyone could afford bespoke items, there would be a certain number of people who would still buy ready to wear. I believe that your posts would be more effective targeted at this demographic. People who do not buy bespoke must defend, at least in part, their purchases as to not would invalidate their choices. But it doesn't necessarily make them blind to the shortcomings in these choices. I would respectfully request that all posters try and as you do and quality what they say. Let's try and impart knowledge and not just knock someone because we think that they are silly for making the purchase in the first place. I promise that will try. With all due respect, DW Clint
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Hi DW, we've had a few exchanges in the past and I do admire your passion and desire to provide substance that most of us can gain from. Clint
    I hope I didn't come across as knocking anyone's choices...certainly not Groover's. I just reacted to the bit about machine clicking being as good as hand clicking. I don't think it's true. I don't think that a convincing case can be made that it is even really generally true. It is awful easy to parade a largely ignorant observer through a "Workers Paradise" and get a glowing review...especially when every worker has been handpicked and every vignette staged. My experience is...and bit of a fairly well respected body of writing suggests...that clicking, like so many other mass production techniques is deliberately set up so so that "human error" will be kept to a minimum. That means that "human judgment" will be kept to a minimum. If a worker throws a hide on a table to inspect it for warble holes or cuts made during flensing or improper salting, it has got to be nearly as fast for that worker to have a clicker knife in his hands, cutting patterns as he goes, as to then ask him to carefully place sharp metal dies on the leather before stepping on the pedal. And if he's placing dies on a stack of hides...as is the rule in most factories...then the whole notion of operator involvement in quality and positioning and cutting direction is rendered moot. I admire almost all the shoes posted here in this thread and don't much care who made them or who likes them or doesn't.
     
  13. clintonf

    clintonf Well-Known Member

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    I hope I didn't come across as knocking anyone's choices...certainly not Groover's. I just reacted to the bit about machine clicking being as good as hand clicking. I don't think it's true. I don't think that a convincing case can be made that it is even really generally true. It is awful easy to parade a largely ignorant observer through a "Workers Paradise" and get a glowing review...especially when every worker has been handpicked and every vignette staged. My experience is...and bit of a fairly well respected body of writing suggests...that clicking, like so many other mass production techniques is deliberately set up so so that "human error" will be kept to a minimum. That means that "human judgment" will be kept to a minimum. If a worker throws a hide on a table to inspect it for warble holes or cuts made during flensing or improper salting, it has got to be nearly as fast for that worker to have a clicker knife in his hands, cutting patterns as he goes, as to then ask him to carefully place sharp metal dies on the leather before stepping on the pedal. And if he's placing dies on a stack of hides...as is the rule in most factories...then the whole notion of operator involvement in quality and positioning is rendered moot. I admire almost all the shoes posted here in this thread and don't much care who made them or who likes them or doesn't.
    DW, now it's time for me to clarify. You did not make any comment about Groover's boots (not that I can see). If I implied this, I apologise. I was actually trying to communicate with you AND generally to other members at the same time. To be clearer, my only "issue" with your comments is that it does appear that your passion for your "art" (and I do mean that) comes across as any other choice is wrong. Or you must be blind not to see the mistake your making (not your words, just my interpretation of them). I would suggest that most people here will know that there is difference between the, generally massed produced footwear and the bespoke pieces. If the bespoke pieces were the same price as the RTW shoes, then I guess your point would be completely valid. As I mentioned, people have to defend their choices, especially on a clothing forum, as not to do so would suggest that they are of a "herd mentality" at best, foolish at worst. However, I don't think that this should be confused with ignorance about their purchases. I see you as an educational force on this site. However, I just worry that your apparent "black and white" view of things means that some of your "teaching" can be diluted and possibly discounted as "preaching". The rest of my comments were not aimed at you. Just a general observation. Cheers Clint P.S. I also want to say that I also admire the way Bengal-Stripe comments. I do see his comments as generally objective and easy to follow (and verify, if needs be).
     
  14. Orgetorix

    Orgetorix Well-Known Member

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    DWFII, thanks for your replies. I see now we're more on the same page than I thought.
     
  15. meister

    meister Well-Known Member

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    I apologize if my remarks came off as personalized. I was using a somewhat generic "you" when I made the post.

    I am not going to address specific points but answer what I think is the gist of your remarks.

    I wonder if you (generic "you") can point to a significant difference between the perspectives, objectives or even the results of shoe manufacturers and those who want or have already begun to nationalize the health care system in this country? Isn't it really "mass medicine" in the same sense as "mass production"--with all it's good points and all its drawbacks--but, inevitably, with everything reduced to an homogenized mediocrity?

    I am not looking to take this analogy very far or to make this an issue but it seems to me that it's not machines per se or even methods that is at fault here but a way of thinking that we all buy into.

    You may live long enough to find yourself sitting in front of input terminal of some kind entering your symptoms...never talking to a real human being...and waiting for a "triaged" diagnosis for which there is no appeal. And perhaps you (a generic "you") will be able to take comfort in the fact that in the end it's not much different than an RTW shoe.

    But again, think it through...when that day comes (and if it's like every other aspect of our society, it must) what will happen to the doctors? Will there be a demand for them? Will their skills and perspectives be footnoted in some data bank as a rather interesting bit of history? Will that be a good day?

    Sure, there's bad bespoke shoemakers...some are new, some are over their heads, some are just hacks...but there's no line of bespoke seconds. The point is that every manufacturer not only makes as many mistakes as the individual shoemaker but then...as much because we accept it as any other reason...sells those mistakes, usually above the cost of production.

    The thing that gets to me, I guess, is that possibly...probably...unwittingly, we all tend to dismiss, disparage and demean excellence when we can't afford it or are preparing ourselves to accept "second best." We set ourselves up for, and embrace, the lowest common denominator. It's not a healthy attitude but when it so pervades our thinking that everything is seen from that POV, the world we live in has to change...and not for the better. In my worst (and perhaps most realistic) moments I suspect it has already gone too far to change short of some major upheaval.

    [And parenthetically allowing it to happen without protest or even recognition makes a mockery of anything we say here...on any subject. I'm not comfortable with that, even in my dotage.]

    I don't expect everyone to have access to hand made shoes. I don't even expect everyone to understand the difference, much less the reasons why--the reasons to value people like Anthony Delos, for instance. I just hate to see all that is good dismissed as immaterial, archaic or even beside the point. There's so much mis-information on the Internet it is very nearly dis-information.

    People are going to make the choices they feel they need to make...sometimes even when they know they are wrong choices. And that's just the way of the world. But, to my way of looking at things, it is self-destructive to make those choices out of willful ignorance or self-deception.


    Very interesting post. Unknowingly or otherwise you are rearguing the decorative philosophy that motivated the Arts and Crafts movement - especially William Morris Hughes - and applying it to our joint fascination - modern shoemaking.
     
  16. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    DWFII, thanks for your replies. I see now we're more on the same page than I thought.
    Well, thank you and thanks to Clint and Icarus for a very courteous and genteel [​IMG] discussion. Thank you for taking the time to engage. I appreciate the kindness. That said, I find that all too often on the Internet people really don't want to understand or know anything that contradicts with what they think they already know. This coincides with what I think I know about human psychology in general and with my experiences in detail. Add to that, the fact that I have taught people how to make boots for nearly 30 years and have run across all sorts of attitudes...from innate inability to learn to what I call "willful ignorance"--the deliberate choice to ignore data or information that might influence already established opinion. And this from folks who are ostensibly in a supplicant's/student's position and are paying for my time and advice. "It worries me." * And, perhaps as a consequence, I get a little relentless at times. That said, while I appreciate Clint's observation that people need to defend their choices so as to not seem like part of a herd, I suspect the most powerful and unassailable defense is simply "I like it." *Chief Dan George in Little Big Man
     
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting post. Unknowingly or otherwise you are rearguing the decorative philosophy that motivated the Arts and Crafts movement - especially William Morris Hughes - and applying it to our joint fascination - modern shoemaking.
    Seriously, I didn't know that. I'm not all that well read and have never read anything of William Morris Hughes...that I know of. Or Ruskin, either, for that matter. I read shoemaking books, some history and/or historical fiction (Patrick O'Brian) or escapist, take-your-mind-off-work literature such as science fiction. But having said that I am a very big fan of the Arts and Crafts Movement and feel a real kinship and reverence for everything Arts and Crafts--especially Gustav Stickley. Thank you.
     
  18. DWFII

    DWFII Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting post. Unknowingly or otherwise you are rearguing the decorative philosophy that motivated the Arts and Crafts movement - especially William Morris Hughes - and applying it to our joint fascination - modern shoemaking.
    Just a quick follow-up--I was heading for the sack when it occurred to me to wonder which comes first--the attitude or the work? Hat or cattle? Does an individual become a craftsman because these ideas are already part and parcel of who he is or does he develop these kinds of biases because the work changes him? [​IMG] " 'Night Gracie."
     
  19. theyare

    theyare Well-Known Member

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    A lot of text and no pics recently. December damage - look forward to breaking all these bad boys out in the new year! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic shoes, theyare.
     

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