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w.efelaborde

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Do you have experience with how vintage Freudenberg calf compare to newer calfskin from good tanneries like Annonay, Weinheimer, Haas, etc.?
The major difference is that modern tanned aniline box calf hides are much bigger, because the animals are bigger.
For example the last box calf hide I purchased from Annonay in my records comes in at a whopping 2.24 m2. Most Freudenberg box calf skins rarely go above 1.2 m2 in size (half the size animal!)

Because the animal is generally older, the grain is not as tight as can be found on vintage skins.
In handle, modern tends to be stiffer (although this is partly down to tanning know-how and techniques).
The interest in having tight grain is that it gives a smooth surface and polishes very well and easily. "Shines like glass!" was an old favourite expression.

The best old stock box, whether from Freudenberg, Zonta, Perlinger etc is wonderfully supple in handle. The grain is very tight, the skins small. When you hear complaining about modern stock, it is pejoratively described as 'dry as cardboard' - although this is by no means true of all modern stock.

Due to fashion, the shades they can found in differs greatly to nowadays - and so you automatically obtain a classic look.
To add to this, there was great variety in grades: Baby Calf 0.8/1mm thick, Box Calf 1.2/1.4mm, Stout box 1.5/1.7mm and Wapro (WaterProof) grades up to 2mm thick. Different thicknesses apply to different applications. Summer shoes, all year round, very stout box for country etc..

The majority of modern box calf is offered around 1.2/1.4mm (the standard weight) and you will rarely find shoemakers who feel comfortable working outside that bracket, because it has become uncommon. A great shame.
In that respect, customers have a responsibility to becoming more demanding, in the same way they are with cloth weights for suitings.

Another characteristic is that old box calf can sometimes be pigmented to give greater opacity to the colour. This was not issue at the time but it is no longer always in taste.
It is considered by modern taste that a quality aniline hide should be as transparent as possible to show the grain, following the idea that there's 'nothing to hide'.
If you're buying vintage leather, be aware of this - although it should be accepted that the leather was made under different principles and conventions (both tanning techniques and moral principles of rearing livestock) - so the product resulting from it is different to what can be obtained nowadays.
 

epsilon22

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The major difference is that modern tanned aniline box calf hides are much bigger, because the animals are bigger.
For example the last box calf hide I purchased from Annonay in my records comes in at a whopping 2.24 m2. Most Freudenberg box calf skins rarely go above 1.2 m2 in size (half the size animal!)

Because the animal is generally older, the grain is not as tight as can be found on vintage skins.
In handle, modern tends to be stiffer (although this is partly down to tanning know-how and techniques).
The interest in having tight grain is that it gives a smooth surface and polishes very well and easily. "Shines like glass!" was an old favourite expression.

The best old stock box, whether from Freudenberg, Zonta, Perlinger etc is wonderfully supple in handle. The grain is very tight, the skins small. When you hear complaining about modern stock, it is pejoratively described as 'dry as cardboard' - although this is by no means true of all modern stock.

Due to fashion, the shades they can found in differs greatly to nowadays - and so you automatically obtain a classic look.
To add to this, there was great variety in grades: Baby Calf 0.8/1mm thick, Box Calf 1.2/1.4mm, Stout box 1.5/1.7mm and Wapro (WaterProof) grades up to 2mm thick. Different thicknesses apply to different applications. Summer shoes, all year round, very stout box for country etc..

The majority of modern box calf is offered around 1.2/1.4mm (the standard weight) and you will rarely find shoemakers who feel comfortable working outside that bracket, because it has become uncommon. A great shame.
In that respect, customers have a responsibility to becoming more demanding, in the same way they are with cloth weights for suitings.

Another characteristic is that old box calf can sometimes be pigmented to give greater opacity to the colour. This was not issue at the time but it is no longer always in taste.
It is considered by modern taste that a quality aniline hide should be as transparent as possible to show the grain, following the idea that there's 'nothing to hide'.
If you're buying vintage leather, be aware of this - although it should be accepted that the leather was made under different principles and conventions (both tanning techniques and moral principles of rearing livestock) - so the product resulting from it is different to what can be obtained nowadays.
This is very helpful, thank you.

Are these vintage leathers still generally available to bespoke makers? How expensive are they?
 

w.efelaborde

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This is very helpful, thank you.

Are these vintage leathers still generally available to bespoke makers? How expensive are they?
The short answer is no and it depends/doesn't matter..

Finding the sort of old stock leather which is suited to bespoke quality shoes must be taken as a form of 'sport' or pastime in itself. It demands huge amounts of time, involvement and determination. There is no one destination to find it.

Big companies will not engage in it because it demands too much work and when items are found, it only yields one or two pairs. Not something that can be advertised to yield great quantities of orders out of. So to them not commercially viable.

It has become the preserve and advantage of independent makers who are willing to dedicate enough time to searching for it. Granted they also hold appreciation for vintage stock.
Personally I do it because it contributes to the style of shoe I'd like to make and the quality of the material makes it very enjoyable to work with.

It is probably more expensive as an endeavour to the shoemaker than to the client. It is priced at what people are willing to pay for, but since the shoemaker will generally have more knowledge and reverence for the product than the customer, they will hold it in higher esteem.

Another way of putting it, is that by the time you arrive at the discovery of what you are searching - price is barely a consideration anymore. The beautiful vintage hide is unearthed from the stack, it sings quality, the mind says to the maker 'that's going back to the workshop with me' and you pay the seller. Whether you will find the customer who finds level ground appreciation with you is a concern that can be worried about later..
 

DorianGreen

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The short answer is no and it depends/doesn't matter..

Finding the sort of old stock leather which is suited to bespoke quality shoes must be taken as a form of 'sport' or pastime in itself. It demands huge amounts of time, involvement and determination. There is no one destination to find it.

Big companies will not engage in it because it demands too much work and when items are found, it only yields one or two pairs. Not something that can be advertised to yield great quantities of orders out of. So to them not commercially viable.

It has become the preserve and advantage of independent makers who are willing to dedicate enough time to searching for it. Granted they also hold appreciation for vintage stock.
Personally I do it because it contributes to the style of shoe I'd like to make and the quality of the material makes it very enjoyable to work with.

It is probably more expensive as an endeavour to the shoemaker than to the client. It is priced at what people are willing to pay for, but since the shoemaker will generally have more knowledge and reverence for the product than the customer, they will hold it in higher esteem.

Another way of putting it, is that by the time you arrive at the discovery of what you are searching - price is barely a consideration anymore. The beautiful vintage hide is unearthed from the stack, it sings quality, the mind says to the maker 'that's going back to the workshop with me' and you pay the seller. Whether you will find the customer who finds level ground appreciation with you is a concern that can be worried about later..

Thank you for the very informative contributions! I only knew that most makers appreciate these old stocks and that they are pretty rare.
I much prefer the look of these leathers because of the plain and uniform colour, so much more attractive to me than any fancy patina.
 

DorianGreen

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A pair of bespoke ladies boots in old stock Freudenberg Box Calf leather by Atelier Leonard Kahlcke.
Nothing speaks against having them made for a gentleman. Amazing colour.

Screenshot (1842).png

Screenshot (1844).png

Screenshot (1843).png
 

epsilon22

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The short answer is no and it depends/doesn't matter..

Finding the sort of old stock leather which is suited to bespoke quality shoes must be taken as a form of 'sport' or pastime in itself. It demands huge amounts of time, involvement and determination. There is no one destination to find it.

Big companies will not engage in it because it demands too much work and when items are found, it only yields one or two pairs. Not something that can be advertised to yield great quantities of orders out of. So to them not commercially viable.

It has become the preserve and advantage of independent makers who are willing to dedicate enough time to searching for it. Granted they also hold appreciation for vintage stock.
Personally I do it because it contributes to the style of shoe I'd like to make and the quality of the material makes it very enjoyable to work with.

It is probably more expensive as an endeavour to the shoemaker than to the client. It is priced at what people are willing to pay for, but since the shoemaker will generally have more knowledge and reverence for the product than the customer, they will hold it in higher esteem.

Another way of putting it, is that by the time you arrive at the discovery of what you are searching - price is barely a consideration anymore. The beautiful vintage hide is unearthed from the stack, it sings quality, the mind says to the maker 'that's going back to the workshop with me' and you pay the seller. Whether you will find the customer who finds level ground appreciation with you is a concern that can be worried about later..
Very informative, thank you. Will definitely consider the leather for a subsequent pair of shoes, if available and not prohibitively expensive.
 

Dalaruan

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On one hand I can figure it would be an exciting experience and the result should be a great product with a perfect fit, on the other one I've read of less than optimal processes and final products with issues. And yes, time and cost also play a role of course.

If you have rather regular feet and have found that some lasts work well for you, the need and the wish to go bespoke would weaken.
heard too much horror stories with bespoke shoes, and some opinion saying one should not go for a loafer for their first pair, and even then expect it to **** up or at best less than satisfactory
bruh i just want a pair of loafers, but unlike bespoke clothings, bespoke shoes are so much more expensive, wait is so much longer and the risk so much higher
wish i can afford to take those risks, seen some bespoke shoes that are really beautiful, but unless one is like loaded it's hard to take up this risk
 

DorianGreen

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heard too much horror stories with bespoke shoes, and some opinion saying one should not go for a loafer for their first pair, and even then expect it to **** up or at best less than satisfactory
bruh i just want a pair of loafers, but unlike bespoke clothings, bespoke shoes are so much more expensive, wait is so much longer and the risk so much higher
wish i can afford to take those risks, seen some bespoke shoes that are really beautiful, but unless one is like loaded it's hard to take up this risk

Yes, your considerations are mine as well. On the other hand, granted that one has the monetary means, I certainly would expect from a reputable maker to work as long as the fit is ideal and the customer happy. But, of course, it could be a long and tiring process.
 
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epsilon22

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Bespoke suits from big European names easily surpass the prices of bespoke shoes, from what I've found. There are also shoemakers willing to work with loafers as your first pair, I'm actually getting a pair of loafers for my first bespoke shoes, but I'm still waiting for them to be finished, so no comment on fit yet.
 

Dalaruan

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Bespoke suits from big European names easily surpass the prices of bespoke shoes, from what I've found. There are also shoemakers willing to work with loafers as your first pair, I'm actually getting a pair of loafers for my first bespoke shoes, but I'm still waiting for them to be finished, so no comment on fit yet.
Yea price differs from place to place. From where I am bespoke clothings are much much cheaper. Also, when a jacket is fucked up it's usually not unwearable (whether you want to is a separate issue), while for shoes, at least from the stories i heard first hand with top class makers, can be absolutely unwearable and then you have to deal with the aftermath. pretty crazy
most shoemakers are willing to do loafer as first pair, including those i am interested in, but it's still a general rule of thumb it's safer to place an order on something else first
don't get me wrong, i think bespoke shoes are great and absolutely worth it if one has enough financial power, but the potential risk is too high for most people to bear
 

Texasmade

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Yea price differs from place to place. From where I am bespoke clothings are much much cheaper. Also, when a jacket is fucked up it's usually not unwearable (whether you want to is a separate issue), while for shoes, at least from the stories i heard first hand with top class makers, can be absolutely unwearable and then you have to deal with the aftermath. pretty crazy
most shoemakers are willing to do loafer as first pair, including those i am interested in, but it's still a general rule of thumb it's safer to place an order on something else first
don't get me wrong, i think bespoke shoes are great and absolutely worth it if one has enough financial power, but the potential risk is too high for most people to bear
Depends on the maker and how willing they are to fix the shoes. Most of them will take back bad fitting pairs and rework them. It's just a hassle to deal with and time suck but it's worth it if you're into shoes.
 

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