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Brass Nails used to impede shoe wear

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

  1. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    I'll post a picture when I get a chance. Nothing really to see, just the heads of some nails. I put them closer to the edge than shown in the pictures in this thread. I looked around the web. I will see whether I can pull up the place where I bought them. I did not clip off the heads as DWF suggested. I figured that was too much work, I did not plan to place the nails that closely together, and the artistic effect was beyond my skill level. The heads deformed quite a bit while pounding them in, so I don't know what the nails would have looked like if I had cut off the heads.

    Remember, I do not have bespoke, AS, JL, EG or other famous maker shoes, let alone DWF creations. I have used, vintage, RTW shoes, and I wear them. So perfect appearance of the heels and soles is not a consideration. If you want them to look like the photos in this thread, you will need either a much higher level of skill, or have the work done by a cobbler. I was interested in wear, and they should not look too bizarre to be seen in public, but otherwise not so much concerned about appearance.
     
  2. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    As I said, heels with nails in them.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Farther apart than DWF advised, but this was my first try. He warned that too close could lead to nails having insufficient material to stay firmly gripped. He said that placing the nails too far apart may limit effectiveness for retarding wear, but I interpreted this as meaning there would be little risk of damaging the heels. The heads flattened out during the nailing, so they are broader now than they were when I started.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Well yes and no...IIRC, I was talking about putting them in leather outsole or leather heel.

    Your application looks fine and appears to be helping somewhat. But perhaps only marginally.

    Here's why I say that--what people fail to understand is that to a certain extent softer wears better. By that I mean that most rubber used for heels will resist wear better than a harder material such as brass. The rubber is resilient and gives when it comes into contact with rough surfaces rather than being abraded away. To test this theory all it takes is that you run a file on the rubber and see how much material you remove versus running that same file on the heads of the brass nails.

    Brass versus leather is a more complicated dynamic. The brass will help considerably there.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Fascinating. I had assumed that the brass was the surface being worn. When I feel the nails with a finger, they are nicely countersunk below the surface of the rubber. However, when I walk, I hear the brass hitting the ground. I assume the rubber compresses readily and then the brass makes stronger contact with the ground. If that is the case, then I assume that stopping the compression and abrasion of the rubber once it lets the brass make contact should (?) mean the rubber lasts longer. That, I thought, was the rationale for the rubber in the photos illustrated earlier in this thread. This should make the rubber part of the strike portion of the heel last longer before it wears down. Since the brass costs about $0.20-0.30 per shoe, if the nails wear down I can replace them for a lot less than new heels.

    If nothing else, it makes the heels feel like leather with nails, rather than like rubber. I like that feel, so unless it is harmful to the durability of the heels, I am happy.

    I have not tried wetting leather heels to soften them for driving the nails. Since the nails are 1/2" long, I would assume it would require wetting the heel to a half inch depth. I would worry about messing something up by getting them wet that far. Would they slip? Swell? Shrink? Crack? I am more inclined to leave well enough alone with that. For leather heels I am just hoping to make the brass, rather than V-cleat and iron nails, the wear surface. We will see....
     
  5. NORE

    NORE Senior member

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    Wouldn't the constant strike against the nails in the heel eventually drive the nails deeper into the top lift?
     
  6. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Perhaps. The nails are far too short to ever reach the inside of the shoe. If the brass wears faster than the rubber, then I suppose that would counteract the tendency to be driven deeper.

    It is far too soon to have an opinion on whether I get longer wear from rubber plus brass than from rubber alone. I had previously tried small applications of Shoo Goo at the impact point for rubber heels, but that wears so quickly it is a pain to keep replacing it. I also tried plastic heel taps, but they wear very fast. Then Shoo Goo over the plastic taps, but again the need to frequently reapply the Shoo Goo. So now brass nails.

    The goal is to never have to replace the toplifts. We will see.
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :crackup:

    Wear them only on carpet.
     
  8. Dib

    Dib Senior member

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    With regards to EG, my understanding is they only outsource the work if you are asking them to apply the toe plates to a RTW model you are purchasing. If you are having a pair made to order from the factory, the factory will fit them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  9. twinpeaks

    twinpeaks Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2013
    From personal experience nails are totally inadequate as heal protectors instead of the (now) standard part rubber heel.
    I remember reading somewhere that the use of nails in the heel was once not so unusual as it is today, but from the sad experience of two pairs of Barker's Black with that 'feature' I can assure you the rubber is much more durable, and safe (I am always amazed when I see used shoes for sale with huge metal plares nailed on top of the rubber heel part)

    When it comes to the toe area my experience is that again nails are not going to give you the results you get from a plate or a 'toppy' but the difference is not as marked s in the case of the heel
     

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