Sole Welting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Barbour Welting has been around for a long time. Even when I was new to the game it wasn't considered optimal--fine for repair work but not for making. It is spliced, sometimes frequently. It's not unusual to cut a length and find that, no matter how you arrange it, there is no way you can come up with a section long enough to welt a shoe without splices. And the "sections" almost never match in terms of temper or density. One section will be firm enough, the next section basically a rag.

    I have always cut my own from horse butt or used Baker welting. Traditionally welt was cut from the belly or shoulder of a veg tanned side. But nowadays most outsoling, and esp. shoulder leathers, are not firm enough. Baker might be an exception...since I use the Baker welts already I have never tried.

    Not that it couldn't happen, but FWIW I've never seen a bonwelt that was, or could have been, captured in a Blake stitch. It is always cemented in (only) and often it is made of plastic.
     


  2. thelonius

    thelonius Senior member

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    I suspect that it is not a bonwelt, but rather that kentyman is not observing the stitch lengths correctly, and that it is, as the maker says, Blake rapid. Unlikely that they would blatantly lie about this.
     


  3. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    Thanks! I love learning about this stuff.

    Now on say, Allen Edmonds or any generic shoe of that price, how is the inseam welted?
     


  4. thelonius

    thelonius Senior member

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    OMG here we go agâin. Don't you ever read the past posts ?
     


  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    You're talking about Goodyear construction. Page 21, this thread, post #315. A relatively inexpensive insole...sometimes thin leather, but often "leatherboard" (the functional equivalent of particleboard)...is given a coat of cement. Then a machine comes along holding a roll of pre-cemented canvas "gemming," which is heat activated as the gemming is applied to the insole. Courtesy of chogal:
    In this next photo of an insole prepared for handwelted work, the ridge between the inner "channel" and the outer "feather" is called the "holdfast",
    In the case of the GY construction, the cemented gemming functions as a holdfast. Another machine comes along and the welt...again on a roll...is sewn with a chainstitch through the upper and into the gem. Because the gemming is "proud" of the surface of the insole the resulting cavity must be filled...usually with a 3-5mm paste of granular cork. Without the cork, the gemming has little stability...and the cork is fugitive over time. The cork and the subsequent mounting of the outsole are absolutely required to stabilize the inseam...as well as the size and shape of the shoe. --
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014


  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    That's up to you...
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Perhaps not a "blatant" lie but only a passive aggressive lie. I suspect that it all comes down to how earnestly a company...or an individual, for that matter...feels impelled to take responsibility for the information they pass off as gospel.

    Perhaps (and most likely) the person Kenty contacted was a secretary or some other kind of intermediary and had never had anything to do with actually making shoes....never gotten their hands dirty...maybe didn't even know the difference between Blake and Blake Rapid.

    For me, at least, that's the more logical assumption...and one that doesn't implicitly question the ability of someone else to count.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014


  8. MSchapiro

    MSchapiro Senior member

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    I did, I was looking for a specific comparison based on what I was seeing. DW provided a great answer and contributed to the conversation. Did you?
     


  9. kentyman

    kentyman Senior member

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    There definitely are more stiches on the top than the bottom. Looks to be about 5 on the top for every 3 on the bottom. No offense taken on the ability to count, but here are some pictures to make it very clear:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The top stitches also look closer to the outside of the sole than the ones on the bottom (as described for Bonwelt), though it's hard to tell for sure since the outsole has a ridge on it. It appears to me the top stiching only goes through the top half and the bottom through the bottom. You can see a line where the two halves come together:

    [​IMG]

    So is it true that Blake and Blake/Rapid construction should always have the same stitches per inch between top and bottom? If it is Bonwelted, how does that affect resoleability?

    Thanks, as always, for everyone's insight.
     


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Bonwelted it is...almost certainly. Jeeze I hate that...it's pretending to be something it really isn't, to fool you into buying. Pretty common in the shoe world, however and in fact a common theme in this discussion, as well.

    As for repair...it's Blake, so you got two potential problems: One of the big drawbacks of Blake is that the stitching that you see on the bottom of the outsole goes all the way into the interior of the shoe. And the thread that comprises those stitches will tend to wick moisture up into the shoe.

    FWIW, this is one case where I definitely would recommend Topy...maybe all the way back to the breast of the heel.

    The other problem is that to repair it, you have to have a big, heavy duty machine that can get right down into the toe of the shoe to re-stitch any replacement outsole--a McKay stitcher. Some repair shops have them, some don't.

    But the shoe is re-soleable. Perhaps the maker will re-craft.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014


  11. kentyman

    kentyman Senior member

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    Well that's disappointing. I guess I should contact them to let them know they're misunderstood. The pictures of different stitches should be compelling enough.

    I'm having some confusing between Blake and Bonwelt. My understanding is Blake is stitched all the way through from the inside to the outside to affix the upper with the outsole, while Bonwelt is when a Blake stitch affixes a midsole, and then an outsole is cemented over that. If this is the case, I don't know any way to actually tell if this is standard Blake or Bonwelt without tearing out the insole and seeing if the stitches line up with the outsole. And if it's standard Blake, I have to worry about moisture wicking inside, but if it's Bonwelt (in which case the top "welt" stitching is false and the bottom outsole stitching is false), then I don't have to worry about wicking since neither set of stitching is the Blake stitch itself. Please correct me if I'm still not getting it.

    Regarding a topy, it sounds like I would want one either way; if it's Blake, I want it to prevent moisture, and if it's Bonwelt I'd still want it to postpone resoling as long as possible since McKay/Blake machines are rare. Agreed?
     


  12. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I think I have seen videos with hand sewn "Blake stitching".
     


  13. Roger la Rock

    Roger la Rock Senior member

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    Bonwelt is simply a fake welt strip used to make a Blake or cemented shoe look like a welted or Blake Rapid shoe.

    Functionally the only difference between Blake stitched and Blake stitched with a Bonwelt is cosmetic; the Bonwelted shoe has a fake welt glued to the upper edges of the sole.
     


  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    +1 You're absolutely right...that's why I said I hated it.
     


  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I wouldn't mind seeing those videos. But I made my wife a pair of "channel stitched' or "pump stitched" shoes a while back. Similar technique but the stitching is buried in a sealed channel and it is a lock stitch rather than a chain stitch. Trying to get your finger down inside the toe of the shoe, esp. if the shoe is small like a ladys shoe would be, is not easy.

    A McKay stitcher has a long "horn" that will get into the forepart and they do make lockstitch McKays as well (although I have heard that they are very hard to keep running right) but AFAIK, the McKay is pretty much a shoe repairmans's machine. what they use in the factories is beyond my ken.
     


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