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Jon Gray the shoemaker came to Ontario and I got a pair of...

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Asian Afro, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. Odd I/O

    Odd I/O Senior member

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    He hasn't given me any more information than I had posted above unfortunately. I'm still waiting to hear back from him to confirm the date and location.
     
  2. Odd I/O

    Odd I/O Senior member

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    Okay, I got a reply from Jon that he'll be in Toronto this Wednesday (July 20). He'll be bringing with him samples of leather he uses as well as shoes he's made to give you an idea of his style/craftsmanship. You can e-mail him at info@jongraybespoke.com to make an appointment. He said that he should now be responding to e-mails much more quickly.

    He mentioned another day could be a possibility if this day didn't work for me but I did not pursue this as Wednesday is fine with me.
     
  3. Mimosa

    Mimosa Well-Known Member

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    Hi Odd I/O

    Any chance you could take some pictures and post your experience on Wed?

    Best,

    Mim
     
  4. Asian Afro

    Asian Afro Senior member

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    Can I expect you to show up on Tuesday, July 26th at five, Geoff? You and I might be the only ones to meet Jon. :)

    I believe Odd I/O met up with Jon on Wednesday and things worked out well.

    I don't plan on taking pictures next week, but I do plan to post pictures of the shoes as things progress.
     
  5. Asian Afro

    Asian Afro Senior member

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    Well, I wound up being the only customer to meet Jon. :( Was hoping for a better turnout.

    However, it did mean that the store's owners and I became the tiny audience of Jon's presentation. The show-and-tell and my own consultation took about two hours total. It was interesting and enjoyable.

    I wound up picking a dark brown, chrome-tanned smooth French calf leather for my austerity brogue. The linings will be English kip. The pattern itself will be the same as the austerity brogue shown on Jon's web site, but the toe will be rounder--what Jon called an "almond toe."

    I believe Jon gets some of his upper leathers through this supplier. The swatches have their label.

    Jon did confirm my suspicions about my feet being flatter than average, and that my left foot turned out to be half a size smaller than my right. He also noticed my funny gait, which I now suspect has to do with trying to keep my left foot from slipping out of a shoe over the years. Will try to correct.

    He also agreed to document the process of making my shoes. When I receive the pictures, I will post them here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  6. Harrydog

    Harrydog Senior member

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    The antique effect I have developed on the toes of my shoes over time has usually been the result of scuffing on the toe from wear and then the darkening of that area from polishing.

    That mirrors more closely what I see in EG antiquing for example.
     
  7. sully

    sully Senior member

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  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Bear in mind that the forum/site in question--The Crispin Colloquy--is a function of The Honourable Cordwainers' Company--a 501 C-3 non-profit, tax-exempt educational organization structured as a Trade Guild and dedicated to the preservation, dissemination and protection of the Trade. It is entirely non-commercial...no one is selling anything to anyone. There is no profit nor particular cachet associated with posting to the Crispin Colloquy.

    People who post to the site are not interested in braggadocio or affectation. They are interested in knowledge. Learning. Skills. These are real people not cardboard cutouts.

    Many who post to the CC are beginners, struggling with a dearth of knowledge in the literature and the world at large, as well as the rarity of willing teachers.

    Some who post there do so to advise, help, and share their knowledge. Some who post there do so because they are eager to access that knowledge.

    Many who post photos of their work are looking for support and an objective critique for their efforts. They do so knowing that they are putting their work...and in most cases, their own selves...out for judgement, both good and bad. It is a baring of the soul for many. It takes courage to put yourself on the "chopping block," so to speak.

    It takes a large and generous spirit to offer constructive advice and encouragement without tearing apart the efforts of those struggling to learn.

    So many in this world refuse to learn. Many, many more would never, ever, place themselves in such a vulnerable position.

    Jon Grey is one of the generous ones--he posts his work to encourage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  9. Asian Afro

    Asian Afro Senior member

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    The fitting models arrived on Tuesday.

    I notice that some forum members complain about how their shoes are sometimes in a shoe box wrapped with layers of packing tape. Rest assured that Jon uses kraft paper to wrap the box.

    [​IMG]

    (I've had two pairs of shoes delivered to me in shoeboxes wrapped in packing tape. I thought the shoes were well-protected and the tape both discouraged inspection and severely devalued the shoes in the custom agent's eyes.)

    I ordered austerity brogues.

    Now, please keep in mind that these models represent a work in progress. The final shoes will look much better. Input at the fitting stage is very important to the finished shoes in both fit and style.

    The models look blobby but they fit better than any pair of shoes I own. It's almost like walking with no shoes on. The slightly asymmetric toes may be due to a difference in toe stiffeners as Jon spends less time on the models than the actual shoes.

    [​IMG]

    This is a view of the left shoe from the left. The silver lines represent improvements to the pattern (i.e., they indicate where the lines will be).

    [​IMG]

    This is a right side view.
    [​IMG]

    Jon's instructions were these.

    Jon provided a special pen for marking leather.

    [​IMG]

    I thought I could mark the shoes myself, but I looked for an assistant anyways. I asked a pretty blonde who's quite handy with a tape measure, who demurred, then asked my father, who couldn't tell the spots that needed to be marked. In the end, I marked the shoes myself. (Good thing I'm flexible.)

    (I could have asked a friend, but none shared my interest in shoes and clothing, and would probably think me crazy for ordering bespoke shoes. I'd rather have someone who cared about clothing doing the job.)

    I wore wool dress socks in year-round weight with the models and made the marks. Here is a picture of a marked model:

    [​IMG]

    I also made the following notes:

    1) There was a bit of a gap between the lace facings on the left shoe, but none on the right. That might cause a problem for the right shoe after it had stretched. The right shoe also had a gap on the right.

    Left shoe:
    [​IMG]

    Right shoe:
    [​IMG]

    2) The right ankle bone easily cleared the topline of the shoe, but the bottom of the left ankle bone is a bit close and might rub against the final shoe.

    3) The shoes might not be creasing quite right, especially the right shoe. The tip of the wing is bent by the crease.
    [​IMG]

    4) The cork (?) outsole clearly showed the ball of my foot.
    [​IMG]

    5) As for looks, I wanted a more refined shape. I felt the toes needed to be pointier and the waist narrower. I took a picture of the model alongside an Edward Green Elmsley to illustrate my point. The toe might need to be pointier than Elmsley's, actually, but Elmsley's shape would be a very good start. Even though a shoe's fit and its looks are supposedly separate, I'm not sure what shape can be achieved with my current last.
    [​IMG]

    Jon also presented me with two choices for edge treatment. The swatches were done using the chocolate brown calf leather I selected. (I mention the colour because my pictures make them look black.)

    Gimped edge:
    [​IMG]

    Plain edge:
    [​IMG]

    I'm going with the plain edge.

    I'm sending Jon these and other comments along with lots of pictures. When he has all the info he needs, I'll return the fitting models so he can proceed with the final shoes.

    As with MTM and bespoke clothing, I don't expect the first order to meet all my expectations. This is a process, and it will take more than one try to get everything right for both of us. I'm already thinking about my next order.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  10. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    i didn't know that you won't meet him in person for the fitting. good luck.
     
  11. ballmouse

    ballmouse Senior member

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    Nice detailing on the MTM shoe process. I hope to get a pair myself one day. Good luck with the shoes!
     
  12. ncdobson

    ncdobson Senior member

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    Quote:
    Thanks for all of the useful info. I hope they turn out to your liking & that you'll post pix of the final shoes.
     
  13. simondg

    simondg Active Member

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    Superb information and photos. Thank you and good luck with the shoes!
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2012
  14. Asian Afro

    Asian Afro Senior member

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    Jon confirmed for me today that the shape of the fitting models definitely does not reflect the final shoes. Much less time is spent on shaping the models as they eventually end up in garbage (except for the shank). Both the toes and the waist will be more refined in the actual shoes. I'm feeling easier now. :D

    He also asked me to mark the end of my big toe with a line instead of an "X", like this:
    [​IMG]
     
  15. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    THanks for posting this. Looks like you're in very good hands.
     
  16. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    wow! nice stuff!!!
     
  17. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    quel surprise?
     
  18. Asian Afro

    Asian Afro Senior member

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    Well, I was confused. At first, I didn't expect the fitting models to look anything like the final shoes, then Jon told me that they would resemble the actual shoes, so I took a more critical look. I was afraid the oval shape of the models represented the intended overall shape of the shoes. I'm now glad it doesn't.
     
  19. 454Casull

    454Casull Senior member

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    Can't wait for more updates.

    If you don't mind sharing, how much was the lasting fee?
     

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