Brass Nails used to impede shoe wear

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by lucidream, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. SoGent

    SoGent Senior member

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    mr. kennkim . . . . i realize you're having a discussion with DFW about installing nails as heel or toe
    protection. frankly I lilke the idea and hope to work with a cobbler to accomplish the same thing
    without cutting into the sole for a toeplate.

    i'm sticking my 2 in here maybe unwanted, but want to ask you to look at the pic below
    [​IMG]

    he, whose balls you're trying to bust made this beauty. understand what that means ?
    unless you, yourself can create something like that . . . . stfu & listen
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013


  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The closest thing we can come up with in the States at the present time is a 3/4" brass nail, 16 gauge (roughly 1mm in diameter), perfectly round, and the head is only slightly bigger than the shank. Even so in order to achieve the same finesse that the best bespoke makers in Britain attain, the head must be clipped off and the top of the shank filed perfectly flat before the nail is driven flush to the surface of the leather.

    Most "shoe nails' being used in lower end shoes and by repairmen are iron.

    In the old Florsheims and other heavy brogues made during the '40's and '50's, you'll sometimes see a entirely leather heel with a double row of square, iron nails. these are known as "Shoe nails" and are still available in many different lengths. But ask anyone who has worn these type of heels and most will tell you that once the leather wears just a little, the iron comes proud of the surface and slippery as the devil.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013


  3. MarkDH

    MarkDH Member

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    The brass nails in the shoe are only for decoration. The best way to make your new shoes last if they have leather soles is to wear then for around a week then take them to a shoe repairer to have the soles covered in a thin rubber sole. It costs about $30 here in Australia.
     


  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I made a mistake posting that photo...I corrected it immediately, but you got to it before I finished. Thank you for that. The shoes look really good esp. if you click on the photo and view the larger version.
     


  5. kennkim

    kennkim Active Member

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    if you call what I am discussing a "ball busting", then you are being quite sensitive and dramatic about it.

    also, your behavior is quite sad, especially the random "stfu & listen", i'll get right on that, tough guy.

    :)

    (PS - ifs the "Gent" in your username, short for gentleman?)
     


  6. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Profanity is not called for, and pressing DWF often yields more information. Just remember the depth of knowledge underlying everything he says.

    So, for those of us who are not trying to reproduce top bespoke shoe effects, but just prolong the life of heels, would 3/4 inch 16 gauge lasting nails help? If we just use them without cutting off the heads and filing as you describe would they still serve the functional purpose? And yes, as a Florsheim lover I can confirm those steel nails are indestructible, but slippery.
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Lasting tacks--not much, I don't believe, either in iron or brass. The heads are too thin to withstand much abrasion, yet too wide to allow close placement of the tacks.

    Escutcheon pins with the head cut off, or what's known as an "extra brass clinching nail" might work, all though the latter are square in cross section.

    One of the things that I do, however is use a pegging awl to pre-hole the heel or sole. Trying to drive a brass nail into a quality leather toplift is begging for a bend.

    Make sure you have the shoe on an iron repair anvil/last esp. if you're placing nails in the forepart of the shoe.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    One of the things to remember in all this is that shoemaking is an old, old Trade--some historians/archeologists contend that, as a Trade, it goes back 10,000 years. As such it has been evolving for a very long time...and every technique or material that can conceivably be tried/used has been used.

    And techniques and materials that have "risen to the top" in this evolutionary/developmental winnowing end up as "best practices" of the most respected bespoke makers. The fastest, and cheapest (time is money), and the most easily implemented--expedient--end up as quality control issues in factories.

    So, lasting tacks may give you some protection...heck, staples will give you some protection...against wear. If nothing else they will boost your morale.

    But of all the options available to us--iron shoe nails, lasting tacks(brass or iron), maple pegs, etc., even metal or plastic toe plates, the brass nails are the most appropriate and most aesthetic and, simultaneously, the most effective solution yet found.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013


  9. SoGent

    SoGent Senior member

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    dwf . . . . what is the routine depth the screws on metal toeplates penetrate the leather ?
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well of course it depends on the screws used and the depth to which the toe plate has been inset. But I've never seen a toe plate where the screws did not penetrate the insole...sometimes, often, cutting the inseam.

    How thick is a toe plate? How thick is a leather outsole? How deep into solid material do the screws have to go to provide a secure anchor?

    Toe plates vary in thickness but an eighth inch is probably about average.

    Thick outsoles (not often seen on high end dress shoes) are 12 iron--one quarter inch thick. To inset a toe plate the outsole must be ground away to a depth of one eighth inch...and in the process cutting and removing much of the stitching that holds the outsole in place.

    The insole may be as little as one eighth of an inch thick...if it is leather...and the screws will need to penetrate it almost entirely to hold the toe plate and secure the toe of the outsole as well as the lost stitching did.

    And worst of all the screws invariably...almost of necessity...end up in the same line/vicinity as the inseam--the seam that holds the welt in place.
     


  11. SoGent

    SoGent Senior member

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    thanks. cutting enough of the toe area to install a toe wear protection plate is starting to come across as counter intuitive.
    i'm beginning to think the 'cool factor' isn't worth it in the long run.
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well, that's my conclusion as well but then I'm looking at it from a little different perspective than even the most fastidious consumer.
     


  13. lucidream

    lucidream Active Member

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    My issue is that regardless of how invasive a toe tap (plate) may be, my wear pattern is just as damaging, bringing me close to the welt if left unmanaged. This is what has forced my hand in exploring alternatives. I currently have a topy and an unrecessed toe tap on one pair, and I find them both unsightly, subsequently bringing me to consider brass nails.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013


  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Parenthetically...now that I'm back in the shop and not relying on ancient memory...I need to set the record straight; The nails I got from Marsh Fasteners came in an half pound box. The brads I got from Gurney...which, AFAIK, were the last of old stock...came in one pound boxes. My mistake.
     


  15. bubba04

    bubba04 Senior member

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    DFW -- what is your opinion on other (DIY or otherwise) options to prolong leather sole wear, such as the installation of a thin layer of protective material such as rubber directly onto the leather sole?
     


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