Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.
Would the explode or implode? One sounds much worse than the other.
So did I, to my eternal shame! (I'm Scottish)
I don't really have an opinion as to the durability of cordovan vs. calf, except as I have suggested with regard to finer creases being probably less prone to grit abrasion. I've made cordovan shoes. But since I don't really like it, I haven't made many. And I don't have a great wealth of experience to compare shoes made of calf vs. shoes made of shell over a long period of time.
That said, there are lots of issues...some notorious...that, as a shoemaker, I see as real problems, and an obvious degradation of quality, which others here on this forum don't see any problem with.
And you're correct...once the shoe is made...tensile strength becomes a marginal factor in longevity.
As for hard data...I've no problem with hard data. And while I admire folks who seek knowledge I do have a problem with people who pose as "experts" or as an authority based almost solely on what they can dredge up on Google or Bing. There's just too much misinformation on the internet to accept anything not tempered by experience. Without the filter of experience and/or caution, it ends up too much like "Clever Hans"
At one point in time I've seen just about everything written...by respected, in some cases almost legendary, shoemakers...post early 19th century. That's hard data, too--the real stuff. So, I am familiar with most of the info...and misconceptions...out there. I don't quote much of that...even though it informs many of my opinions and almost always coincides with my experience...simply because it's "stealing someone elses thunder."
And since people posting such information have little or no way to verify or confirm the veracity or accuracy of stuff they pull off the internet, it's also, in my opinion, highly irresponsible. And maybe that's why they post it---because they don't have to vouch for its accuracy.
As I understand it, (Scottish descent) it is often used much more casually than "goodbye" as the Wiktionary would define it...more along the lines of "Cheers". In fact, it is pronounced "cheery" from what I've been told. No expert on Scots Gaelic by any stretch of the imagination.
DW, have you ever considered writing a book? You have a unique voice, perspective and it seems a great command over the english language. I think it would be interesting to read about your experiences as a cordwainer over the years and how you have responded to changing customers, and the industry in general and how that has to change how you work.
Also, it seems you are being firm on being referred to simply as DW, rather than DWF it seems, correct? Just want to be clear.
Thanks for the thoughts!
Also, I was wondering, as discussed here, if the use of bones for shining leather has anything to do with homage to St. Hugh.
If DW writes a book I will buy it right now!
I've written three...self published but relatively popular for all of that. They are really tutorials, however, rather than anything else. (I almost wrote a book for the Kaikari interview .) And of course, if you've been here a while you know that I write a fair number of small essays...some absolutely grounded in Tradition and Practices and some venturing into speculation and opinion...which nevertheless is also grounded in experience over 40+ years in the Trade.
That was actually my point in with the 'tioraidh' closing. And I thank you for picking up on it.
slainte ... DW
Undoubtedly. In The Romance of the Shoe Thomas Wright makes much of the legend of St. Crispin/St. Hugh. And bone tools, of many different shapes and usages, were essential for early shoemakers. Still are. I'd be hard pressed to give up mine. For what they do, there's almost no other material that compares.
That's amazing, could you share links?
I couldn't really say either way. I think for me, it is just digging beneath the marketing to see if this material is all that it is chalked up to be. Sycophantic posters in the Alden thread just seemed to me to be drinking the Kool Aid. Seemingly with every new post that showed off a new set of cordovan shoes, someone would more or less always end the post with "I expect these shoes to outlast me," or "can't wait to pass these down to my grandson." I think DW was spot on when he said that there is a lot of misinformation out there on the internet (indeed, I am guilty of this too. DW schooled me about 7 months back on goodyear versus hand welting. Since then, I've attempted to take a more judicious route when making a claim.). Out of probably 30 comments on the original question of cordovan durability, I probably only received 2 or 3 relevant answers; the rest were irrelevant or patently false.
What I was trying to learn from this discussion is...eh-hem...whether purchasing cordovan is money well spent. I think that cordovan does have a unique look and feel to it, and I appreciate its heft. However, through this discussion is has also become apparent that there is a chance that cordovan was the product of a genius marketer looking to open up a new market. After all, I think that Alden has so much brand loyalty because of the perceived exclusivity of owning a pair. Indeed, cordovan and all of the supposed "shortages" only adds to the exclusivity. The Alden thread is full of people tooting each other's horns about how good they look, how cool they are, how masculine they look...simply because they are wearing a pair of shoes (...?!). In the end, I think that DWF and a few others have made good points on whether cordovan is what every person claims it is.
So...is cordovan worth the extra $300 (or more depending on the shoe maker)? I don't think so. Is cordovan a rip-off (when comparing what it actually is versus what people say it is? ) probably not. Would I still continue to buy it? Maybe.
Links? To what? AFAIK, The Romance of the Shoe has been posted, in its entirety, on the Internet by one of those outfits that scan old books.
My books?? http://www.bootmaker.com/mybooks.htm
I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the Alden thread. It reminds me of the "gentlemen" congratulating each other on their fortunes and throwing money at people to save themselves when the ship was sinking in Titanic.
Nice shoes sir!
Why thank you sir!
Wear in good health sir!
I will sir!
Gargle gargle gargle gargle.... gloop.
Thanks for the info. Just read your piece on Kairkari. Really amazing. It is inspiring to read about such passion. Things like that, believe it or not, inspire me to be just as great at what I do for living.
Separate names with a comma.