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

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

  1. mw313

    mw313 Distinguished Member

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  2. chogall

    chogall Distinguished Member

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  3. ecwy

    ecwy Senior Member

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    For a seamless wholecut, is there any need for the leather to be different? I was told by a maker they would use a thinner leather around 1mm backed by a lining rather than normal calf around 1.2 to 1.4mm. Reason being the seamless wholecut requires a more stretchy leather due to the way it is made.

    Thanks
     


  4. ntempleman

    ntempleman Senior Member

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    Not all leathers are good candidates for that much 'manipulation'. If the maker says they've got a thinner and stretchier leather that makes it easier for a seamless whole cut to be made, then that's what they'll prefer to use. It'll be even thinner once it's stretched, so be aware of that, and also that gluing a backer onto leather to bulk it up changes the way it wears considerably (think of fused vs floating canvasses on a jacket). You as the buyer have to decide whether the compromise on the material used throughout your shoes in order to remove a seam at the back that's hardly ever seen is worth it to you.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  5. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    The problem with a seamless whole-cut is not so much stretching but shrinking. You start by 'blocking' the wet leather over the last, which will show huge folds of leather around the heel. The vamp of the seamless whole-cut is not different from any other old shoe and doesn't need more manipulation than usual.


    [​IMG]

    The picture here shows Daniel Wegan from G&G blocking a seamless whole-cut. Notice the initial excessive folds of leather. They have to be lasted into smaller and smaller folds until the leather covers the last smoothly. In a conventional whole-cut all that excess is cut away. That photograph was part of a large photo-essay on the website of The Rake magazine, but it seems the other pictures have fallen victim to a re-designed webpage.

    The leather Daniel is using is hatch-grain. As the picture is a few years old, it might be the previous supply of hatch-grain which had the standard thickness for upper leathers of about 1.2/1.4 mm. The current stock comes from Horween and is even thicker at about 1.6/1.8 mm.

    As Nicholas T has stated it is more a question of whether or not the leather is suitable for this kind of manipulation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  6. ecwy

    ecwy Senior Member

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    Thank you both for your inputs!
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Yes, and there's one other factor--those pipes and "surplus army goods" can almost never be entirely drafted away. What happens is the they get worked down in to smaller and smaller pipes until some limit is reached and they can no longer be pulled smaller or out. But, in my experience with full wellington boot (the process is similar if not identical), these smaller pipes seldom, if ever, get entirely eliminated by drafting alone.

    At which point they get compressed. And because they're compressed, the excess remains in the leather...in the shoe. Not that that's an absolute obstacle or a game changer but that compressed excess has to be dealt with too or there will be hidden slack in the backpart of the shoe. That's part of the reason some leathers...as Nicholas points out...aren't suitable for making seamless whole cuts. They don't compress very well. Milled or hatch grain leathers have an advantage over something like a box calf, for instance. Chrome tanned leathers are inherently more stretch-y but less compressible. And I suspect that a veg crust would work really well, although I haven't tried it. Many 19th century full wellingtons were made of 8-10 ounce veg tanned leathers.
     


  8. T4phage

    T4phage Distinguished Member

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    what i was told
    by meccariello was
    that teh thinner
    the skin
    (eg baby calf)
    teh higher teh risk
    of damaging it
    when getting rid
    of the folds

    here is a pix
    from his tumblr
    of teh first stage
    of mounting a
    chukka

    [​IMG]


    and teh finished chukka

    [​IMG]

    linky goodness with
    teh stages of making:
    meccariello tumblr


    he also made a
    chelsea boot in
    porosus croc
    for a rashan client
    from his insta

    [​IMG]

    and some moar
    pix of teh making
    on his tumblr
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    He's good. No doubt about it.

    I think he's probably right. Thinner skins tend to be from younger animals and consequently denser and less stretch-y.

    And FWIW...at least here in the States and among shoemakers, those "folds' are actually called "pipes." The piped are the convex parts and the concave areas are called "wrinkles." Every pipe has a wrinkle and vice versa. FWIW...
     


  10. ntempleman

    ntempleman Senior Member

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    You can see from this shot of the back of a seamless boot in the making that the wrinkles are still quite visible. There's not a great deal you can do about it, really, apart from pull like there's a man on your mother.

    [​IMG]
     


  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :crackup: I've never heard that one..:cheers:

    That's been my experience as well although a bone or "long stick" (I suspect that was one of the original uses of the long stick, aside from being the foil for bawdy poetry) will go a long way to making the compression wrinkles so small as to be nearly invisible. They're still there but aesthetically, at least, no longer an issue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  12. ecwy

    ecwy Senior Member

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    Question for the experts: would a leather like kangaroo or water buffalo then be better for seamless wholecuts than calf?
     


  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I've blocked for full wellingtons and seamless shoes with a veg retan water buffalo. No problem. Like hatch grain, I suspect.

    I've blocked kangaroo for FW's and it was a howling bitch. But the 'roo was chrome and the size such that the blockers had to be cut across the lines of stretch. Size alone would mitigate against it even in veg.

    That said, these are veg and essentially a full wellington.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  14. ntempleman

    ntempleman Senior Member

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    There's not a better leather, technically, for pretty much any shoe, than calf. Of course though, there's calf, and then, there's calf.
     


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Couldn't agree more. Of course, "calf" is almost more of an age descriptor than anything else. There's bovine calf and water buffalo calf, for instance. The younger the animal the more valuable and premium it is.

    Not telling you anything you don't know...

    edited for punctuation and clarity
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


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