Shoemaking Techniques and Traditions--"...these foolish things..."

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I can gae any of the Islays but I apologize for my lack of enthusiasm for aging in sherry casks. The Uigaedail is not for me (nothing wrong with it), although I appreciate the concern.If I get in that kind of mood I generally buy a bottle of Craggenmore 12.

    That said one of the finest drams I ever had was a bottle of Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 1990. Got it as a birthday present from a customer. Speaking of which, I recently had a customer returning from Scotland bring me a bottle of Bunnahbhain Cruach Mhona.


    "A glass wi' ye, lads..."

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015


  2. turkoftheplains

    turkoftheplains Senior member

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    Love the quarter cask, great dram.

    Lag 16 is sherry-finished.

    I used to feel similarly about sherry-bombs, but then Aberlour A'bunadh changed my mind. It's a completely different animal, though-- almost a dessert dram.
     


  3. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Lagavulin 16 is very but slightly mellow for Islay whisky. If they age it a couple more years all the Islay characteristics will be gone and might as well just drink highlands.

    Laphroaig 10 is very good as well. Laphroaig 10 cask strength is my favorite and quarter cask my second.

    Carol Illa tastes a bit too raw and under aged for my palet. There's a Oregon 2 years aged bourbon that taste similar in terms of rawness but just lack the peat.

    There's a trend for whisky makers to buy used red wine barrels for aging. Not my favorite but the tastes are pretty novel.

    Personally I don't like the Japanese whiskies. Not because of their taste but because of the 'collectors' pumping up the prices to some absurd levels.

    Laphroaig 10 and Lagavulin 16 at Costco are the best daily drinks. Oh and the Kirkland 20 year whisky is decent with no character, OEM by Macallan afaik.
     


  4. turkoftheplains

    turkoftheplains Senior member

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    Couldn't agree more-- they're nice whiskies but for the prices they're charging just not worth the effort.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015


  5. mw313

    mw313 Senior member

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    yea definitely a different beast, but great none the less!

    I love Japanese too!
     


  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No!! Say it's not so. :butbut: I don't know what to say...I have a bottle sitting in front of me and nowhere does it say anything about sherry casks...just about "...sixteen years in old oak casks."

    That said, I'm not an expert by any means...more of an "amateur" in the ancient sense of the word ("lover of").

    I like older malts...12years+...

    "Time takes out the fire but leaves in the warmth."

    I don't like the sweet malts either--one of the reasons I don't really care for the Irish malts I've had (except for the Redbird). I can drink Scotch all night long and not get the headache I get from a glass of Irish. I've been told it has to do with Pot distilling--all scotch is pot distilled, AFAIK.

    But once in a while between mid December and a bit after New Years, a glass of Craggenmore with, or instead of, some sugar plums or a bite of goose goes down easy.

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015


  7. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Could it be the word "fudge" refers to the older "merge together" meaning if the word?




    Really?!?


    [​IMG]
    Stitch prick - Materna, Vienna


    [​IMG]
    Fudge wheel - Marquess (Shoji Kawaguchi), Tokyo


    [​IMG]
    Fudge wheel - MMO (Much Maligned Outworker), England




    You do like your bit of colleague-bashing, don't you?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    And you do like your bit of always being the expert don't you? Despite never having done any of this except in your head. All your expertise is imaginary or second-hand. I do think you're an expert though--an expert in "posing" as an expert.

    Any comprehensive reading of what I have posted on SF...right from the beginning....will reveal that, except for e-experts and google gurus who feel compelled to parade their chimeras in the face of those who actually know the work, I engage in less bashing of anyone specifically than most on SF. And I have never bashed or dissed a colleague--that's another example of hyperbolic and deliberately distorted catastrophizing.

    Part of the problem...for you...is simply that I like descriptive adjectives that colour and illuminate a point. I deliberately try to use words to paint a picture. It makes communication so much more interesting, don't you think?

    The other part of the problem...because all your knowledge about shoemaking is aspirational/theoretical, third-hand rather than first-hand, anecdotal...is you don't have a complete or in-depth understanding of the mechanics or the materials. A fair portion of the time...as with your "bashing" critique of alligator vamps by one of my colleagues...you don't even know what you're looking at. Or are seemingly incapable of interpreting what's before your eyes.

    Or the maliciously misinformed "bashing" you gave the dentist's shoe. You remember the dentist's shoe don't you? Or your misinterpretation of a painting to justify heels prior to the late 16th century.

    To name a few.

    When a fudge wheel is run around a welt it presses both the stitch and the leather simultaneously. It makes an impression and creates a shape, no doubt. But how can it tighten the stitch? Which was the reason (and my point) that pricking up evolved in the first place. It cannot. It can compress it...it can squash...but tightening anything has to be relative to a previous state of existence. If every thing is compressed at once, nothing changes.

    It looks good, though. Of the photos you posted the Marquess looks the best, without question.

    When a welt is pricked up, the prick pushes the thread down into the leather, tightening the stitch. And since it is done by hand, one stitch at a time, only a little diligence will ensure that the pricking goes exactly between the stitches and all the way to the vamp.

    As for "fadge" / "fudge"...in the first place, my answer to ThunderMarch (not you) was somewhat tongue in cheek. But beyond that, according to your own definition, by the 1600's the word came to mean "fit together in a clumsy or underhand manner"...or did you mentally redact that bit? So for 400 years "fudge" has meant pretty much what I suggested it meant. It's kind of specious to object now--after four centuries of common usage and understanding (almost a Tradition)--don't you think?

    ThunderMarch asked a question, I gave him an answer. An answer based on having actually done pricking, fudging, and several other welt treatments over the years. With. my. own. two. hands. At the very least it was my opinion...albeit an authoritative opinion, if objective experience counts for anything (esp. by comparison).

    Whether you qualify as a "colleague" of any shoemaker...good or bad, UK or US, "compleat" or not....is open to question, but isn't your knee-jerk quibbling and contentiousness actually more "colleague-bashing" than anything I said? It's certainly in the same spirit even if it's really just "groupie petulance."

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015


  9. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Oh, that's good to know!


    So, you didn't mean to imply that John Lobb London (after all, you've claimed them to be your favourite shoemakers) and all the other firms that use a fudge wheel, have a need to find (and maintain) an indifferent, gullible and ignorant clientèle to stay in business.

    Silly me, how could I assume that.
    (But saying one thing and meaning something different is too Ann Coulter-ish for me.)
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    BTW, here's a pic of the welt pricking I did on one of the first pair of hand stitched shoes I offered to a customer. This is my work. I take responsibility for it...good or bad. I can see the flaws. I can objectively critique the work because I did it. I own it. How about you? With your everybody-else's-work-but-never-your-own photos? With your sidewalk-superintendent expertise?

    [​IMG]

    And another from a pair of boots from years ago

    [​IMG]

    And here's another of a vintage shoe (c.1910) that was pricked up. What it should be.

    [​IMG]

    The difference between you--a suppositional shoemaker... or any other "anecdotal expert"...and myself--a hands-on shoemaker is illustrated in the following photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    And it's not just the difficulty in pulling this style off; it's not just the fact that I am one of the very few in the world who do this esp. with bona fide shoe leather as opposed to something closer to garment leather; it's not just the fact that I do it regularly (am known for doing it) or even that I wrote a book, maybe the only book ever written, about doing it.

    No, the real issue is the doing...as opposed to the kibitzing.

    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015


  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Wrong again. I simply don't know what John Lobb of London does in every specific. I'm not a groupie. If they use a fudge wheel, I'm sorry to hear it. But I'm not going to (and never have) criticize them about it.

    I can, however analyze...from the perspective of someone who also understands leather and the techniques and the mechanics of the techniques, as opposed to someone like yourself who is speculating...and I can remark, as a shoemaker, on what I see to be the deficiencies of the technique. The technique not the maker.

    If it were really a issue, and I had the opportunity I would sit down and have a conversation with someone at Lobbs as to why they choose to do that as opposed to the older technique that evolved for a real purpose. Why they feel that fudging does the job better...if that's the reason they prefer it. I wouldn't ask you, though, nor expect you to know or do anything other than parrot what you've heard.

    But you're dismissing...as you so often do...the complaint that ThunderMarch had--that the fudging on a high end pair of bespoke shoes was not in sync with the stitching. That's what I was addressing and that's what you're defending.


    --
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    BTW, I think you give me too much credit. Certainly more than I have ever claimed. I have a bit of trouble reconciling the concept of craftsmanship and and "ownership" (in the sense of responsibility) with the outworker system. Maybe that's on me and/or a particular blind spot. But I don't think I have ever criticized it per se. It's just different and not what I would aspire to.

    But here you come, taking my one, lonely, singular, and perhaps idiosyncratic opinion and conflate it into "much maligned."

    :lol:

    I'm here in a few threads, on occasion, and some people appreciate what I share...but in the larger sense of things Style Forum is hardly a source for universal truth or a wellspring of popular sentiment. And my words, even reflecting objective experience as they do, certainly aren't written in stone. I am therefore a little uncomfortable with you giving my remarks so much weight. Surely you don't mean to say that if I express a dislike of fudging it automatically becomes so portentous that fudging (or the outworker system) is then, and forever, "much maligned."

    Having said that, if my welt pricking doesn't measure up to the fudging that you so admire...well, chalk it up to the fact that I didn't have a specialist to do it for me.

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015


  13. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I think most highly respected makers uses fudge wheels, including JL Paris, Berluti (and Delos), and the U.K. trained Japanese guys.

    As with most things, there are going to be poor works regardless of pricking or fudging.
     


  14. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

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    I have to say, I cannot understand how a stitch prick can actually tighten a stitch. I've used one, and it can certainly help delineated/separate the two stitches on either side of the awl hole. However, in what way does the compression/separation of the stitches actually tighten anything? If one is pushing the welt down where the stitches enter the welt (i.e. the location of the awl hole), then if anything one is shortening the distance the thread must traverse, which, by logic, would fractionally loosen the stitch. Is the stitch prick actually changing the shape of the welt leather between the awl holes in any substantial manner, and, if so, is it increasing the distance traversed by the thread -- only the latter mechanism can 'tighten' a stitch. Think about a string around a balloon. The only way to 'tighten' that string is to expand the perimeter of the balloon, i.e. increase the distance the string must travel. I haven't seen any evidence that the stitch prick accomplishes a similar increase in the total distance the welt thread covers and hence likewise don't know that the stitch prick can actually tighten a stitch.
     


  15. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I didn't dismiss TM's complaint, but neither did I address it, as I did find your reply so OTT, dismissing a whole technique and not just an individual result as sub-standard.

    You run the fudge wheel once over the welt to mark your stitches, then you stitch and thereafter you run the fudge wheel again to finish the whole thing off. It can happen (although it shouldn't) that the second run comes out of sinc and you make another row of indentations which does not match the previous one. It's called "making babies.That is a problem of the individual craftsman/woman and not the technique per se. You can make a dog's dinner out of every aspect of shoemaking (or out of everything in life).

    It's the maker, not the technique!
     


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