In search of custom shoemaker

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relferink

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#51 Post by relferink » Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:00 pm

Julie and all,

I've been exposed to some hypo allergic footwear during my apprenticeship and the first step in the process was to find out what the customer was allergic to. Organic solvents (cements, thinner and components in some man made rubbers) are a big one followed closely by an allergy to the tanning minerals, mostly chromium. There is a allergen-specific antibody test, I believe it's called the TRUE test. This will narrow down what materials can be used and what to stay away from if a complete ingredient list is available for the leather and materials.

There is a German standard for leathers used in medical applications by TÜV, I do not know from the top of my head it that standard covers allergies but it may be worth looking into.

"Off gassing" leather is new to me, I have not heard of it being done and it's effectiveness. The allergen is likely not chromium, that does not just evaporate and disappear. If that's the problem a strictly veg tanned skin will be a solution. More likely it's a solvent that may have been added to the tanning batch. Who know what's thrown in there to make the leather look better than it really is. In that case a true veg tan may be good as well, still many of those skins are "finished" that may still cause a problem.

We used to give the customer a sample of all the leathers and other materials that were used in the making, the specific skins were marked and kept aside. Anything that came back with an allergy after been worn on the skin for a couple of days would be rejected. This happened in combination with a physician who oversaw the process and narrowed down specific allergens.

Allergies can be triggered by one very specific component, even in a low dose and the reaction can be very severe. I have seen feet covered with huge blisters from an allergy right up to the ankle. As soon as there was no contact with the shoe the skin was normal. This would cause the customer extreme discomfort and pain. Eliminating this one component, even if the rest of the shoe was man-made (ea plastics) would solve the problem. It's hard to believe how severe this can be if you have not seen it for yourself.

Julie, I'm not sure you will find anyone willing to take on a job like this without knowing specifically what can be used and what not. Hand making a pair of shoes is too much work to take a gamble on the outcome. My suggestion would be to have the allergy narrowed down more, than try to select materials that will not cause a reaction and have someone make a pair of shoes.

Brendan, never heard of antelope leather being used for hypo allergenic footwear. If memory serves dog leather is hypo allergenic. I'm not sure if it's a specific species. Have not seen any for years. Freudenberg rubber co from Germany sells a line of EVA's that are hypo allergenic as well under the NORA name.

Hope this helps,

Rob

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#52 Post by tmattimore » Sun Nov 23, 2008 7:24 pm

Dw and Marcell
Just my point. If you use rubber cement and contact cements what % of vocs are left after a couple of days in the making process. The other problem is if the sensitivity is that pronounced where can you make the shoes, a clean room is not available to most of us. In another earlier time I did lots of work with Hi density foams and they out gassed considerably I would suspect the allergies may have more to do with the foams used in modern shoe construction
Tom

wildbug

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#53 Post by wildbug » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:15 pm

Thanks to all the helpful responses with concrete suggestions. What I know is that my boyfriend has severe reactions to solvents, printing inks, and pesticides. I'll have to ask him what other classes of materials/chemicals. The woman who was going to make his boots initially was going to use a glue, and he had planned to outgas the finished boots another year before trying them.

I don't know much about leather/tanning production or outgassing. I don't think that my boyfriend has ever done this before so I will raise these issues with him.

For Marcel and others who are wondering, my boyfriend is not able to live in the modern world. He has been homebound for years due to his severe illness. He needs to wear shoes in his home and outside his home, as he must cook all his food outdoors and it goes down to zero degrees here.

His illness is hard to understand from a healthy person's point-of-view. Someone with severe chemical injury has a damaged blood/brain barrier and chemicals like solvents, pesticides, etc. go directly up to the brain to cause more neurological damage and severe symptoms that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Offgassing materials definitely is necessary for someone with this type of severe condition. But I understand that offgassing the leather to the point it is tolerable to him might make it unusable because it will be too dried out. I will let him know.

Any other constructive suggestions or contacts are much appreciated!

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#54 Post by jesselee » Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:58 am

Julie

Don't know if this will help, but have you thought of getting leather from the Amish and having someone use their naturally tanned non chemical leather and wheat paste glue to make his boots? And using a natural wooden last, linen and cotton threads, no synthetics, and no modern dyes. There are also people in the Civil War reenactment/living history industry who use natural fibers and dyes also.
Cheers,
JesseLee

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#55 Post by das » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:04 am

Julie,

I don't know why I didn't think of this as well, the historical/reenactment community includes several shoemakers who use only 100% oak-bark or vegetable-tanned leathers (no solvents or nasty chemicals=no off-gassing); natural linen and hemp thread waxed with pine pitch and rosin; some wooden pegs, and the only adhesives are flour or potato starch-based pastes. If you went so far as to request no dyes at all, the shoes or boots would be that natural russet leather color, and age like an old saddle. Don't know your boyfriend's style preferences, but look into historical repros--not just the theatrical ones, but museum-quality replicas made by the few who use strictly historical materials and techniques. Some post here, more read here.

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#56 Post by dearbone » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:06 am

Julie,

How about natural fibers like wool,hemp, natural finish linen thread,wood can be used for soling or hemp cord can be woven to make shoes, the upper can be made out of woven or loomed natural fibers and doesn't have to be leather.

Nasser

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#57 Post by dw » Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:37 am

Julie,

BTW, it should be said that no one here is unsympathetic. It must be a terrible affliction and depressing on the best days...especially in the world we live in. But I'm afraid, that to some extent, we are all focused on the details--what actually could be causing the problems and how to avoid them.

Additionally, I think the whole issue of "outgassing," while it may offer some palliative relief, is ultimately a red-herring. You need to look at options that avoid the whole need to outgas in the first place.

Both D.A.and Jesse Lee are spot-on in re-visiting earlier suggestions that shoes and boots can be made without any solvents or petro-chemicals...as Marcell suggested. If that is done to begin with, I cannot see what benefit a period of delay for "outgassing" would bring. There would be no compounds in the shoe or its components that weren't present in nature--such as tree bark, pine pitch, beeswax, linen or hemp fibers, and wheat, or rye flour. It is even possible to dye some leathers...black...with a compound made from vinegar and iron.

The main thing would be to contract with someone...as Jesse Lee mentioned...who specializes in footwear from another era. And someone who was cautious enough to examine his process every step of the way. For instance, it might be all too easy, after having made the boot from all natural materials, to overlook the final wax finish on soles or heels and resort to readily available products which are petro-chemical based.

But take hope...it can be done...someone who posts on this forum can do it.

The first thing you might do is PM the members who have suggested that they are familiar with such techniques and inquire if they would be willing to take on such a commission.

Tight Stitches
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marcell

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#58 Post by marcell » Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:03 pm

Voila - this is the way (like I posted before), how our father fixed the upper to the insole without any glue... Then the sole with wooden pegs. I am sure, as it is a complicated and handwork intensive technology very-very expensive.
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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#59 Post by dw » Wed Nov 26, 2008 2:31 pm

Marcell,

I never learned to do that stitch...I use a simple whip stitch on my boots and shoes and I peg my boots...I sure would like to see how that is done.

If you were to get the time to take a series of photos that capture making that stitch (or several) in sequence and maybe post them over in "Techniques, Crans and Visualizations," I would be ever so grateful.

What do you think the advantages over a simple whip stitch are?

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#60 Post by dearbone » Wed Nov 26, 2008 5:21 pm

Here are examples in pictures of the whip stitch and the heel stitch, i posted the heel stitch a while back when we were talking about the feather line and the hold fast, it is so hard to explain certain things, when they can easily shown in seconds, especially for us none English first language, on the heel stitch one side of the thread is stationary and the other end loops over the holdfast and pulls the upper, the whip stitch is for sewing over things like backing for the the buckle straps.
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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#61 Post by j_johansen » Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:01 pm

Julie,
I have made boots with leather from these guys; http://www.braintan.com/
As a former builder specializing in alternative/environmentally progressive homes I am familiar with the issues of off gassing and am positive that a highly sensitive person would have no issues with leather from this source. As an aside, toxic or VOC laden materials can be off gassed much quicker than in the sun with alternating high temperatures and extreme ventilation. If I were to build
a "non-toxic" pair of boots at a minimum I'd want to use nylon thread in the construction. I hope you are getting closer to solving your dilemma.
J. Johansen

marcell

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#62 Post by marcell » Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:09 pm

I promise I will. My method is a bit stronger, what you can see Naser's second picture, but basically, very similar.

offgassing - even if I think that all the stuff is just about marketing, I admint, that some people are extremly sensitive for certain cemicals... but: be sure that even a chrome tanned, veg lining, cemented shoe doesn't mean 10% percent of risk than everyday life on the this globe today (except if you live in Tibet on a high mountain).

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#63 Post by john_ralston » Thu May 07, 2009 9:31 am

I am trying to find a Custom Bootmaker in the Portland, Or. area (or within reasonable driving distance) to make a pair of Lace Up Packers. Spokane, WA is also an option since I have family there (I know about Whites Boots, and have a pair, but this time I want a boot made by a boot maker, not a factory).

I have found many on the board who make packers, but they are not local, and this would require several round trip flights and would turn a $650 pair of work boots into $1000+ very quickly.

These will be work boots, not art work, so I would prefer not to have a several year wait.

I really like the styling of the packers made by Donald Walker (again too far to drive) - to give you some idea of what I like.

Thanks,

John

marcell

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#64 Post by marcell » Fri May 08, 2009 5:28 am

I think Rick Roman is your man.

mmboots

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#65 Post by mmboots » Sun May 10, 2009 7:24 am

John,

I have a shop in Ontario, Ore, the east side of the state. I think maybe I can help. E-mail me at mmstrong@cableone.net

Mike

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#66 Post by john_ralston » Sun May 10, 2009 10:42 am

Hey guys,

Thanks for the leads, but as it turns out, Don Walker has family in the area and we are going to try and meet up when he gets this way.

John

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#67 Post by mnewberry » Thu Oct 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Looking for a shoemaker interested in a challenging repair: I have a friend who damaged his custom made dress shoes in a scooter accident. He needs someone who is skilled and creative to do some small patching and stain removal or dyeing. Anyone?

Let me know.

Matt Newberry
Reno, NV
775-287-1144

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#68 Post by jkrichard » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:03 pm

Everyone: as of right now, if your Google "cordwaining" my personal website http://jkrichard.com comes up 4th on the Google rankings --- my Google-fu is mighty at times!

I would like to use my powers for good, so to speak, and invite the boot and shoemakers of this forum for personal/professional interviews of their craft to be hosted on my website --- with referral links back to your own websites as well as The HCC (if the HCC permits).

My blog is mostly read by authors and editors, however, with the power of Google it receives a pretty continuous stream of traffic. It's good exposure from coast-to-coast as well as Europe and Australia.

What say you?

Interested parties can contact me at my personal email address: neutronjockey nospam at nospam yahoo dot com. Just remove the "nospam."

btippit

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#69 Post by btippit » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:15 pm

To all:

I have heard about an orthopedic shoe company that's looking for a full time pattern maker or custom orthopedic shoemaker. They are looking for footwear pattern people that know how to sew together uppers and can work with (or learn to work with) castings of feet. Anyone who is interested can contact me privately and I'll connect you with their recruiter. I have no personal connection to this company or the position but I know the recruiter and thought this might be the best place to help her stir up some leads.

Bill “The Last Man Standing” Tippit
www.globalfootwearsolutions.com

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#70 Post by bigboot » Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:09 pm

A large, independent shoe store in Kamloops, BC is looking for a shoe repair technician. The shop is fully equipped and has 52 years of history with a superb reputation. A successful candidate will be paid a base salary of $3000/month plus incentives for a 40 hour work week.

Interested parties can send a resume to brian@bigbootinn.com

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#71 Post by longlegs » Fri Apr 02, 2010 5:41 pm

Hello, all. I'm interested in finding someone in the area of Dallas, Texas, who can make me casual leather shoes. My feet are men's size 14A, which means I can find very, very few shoes that are factory made, especially casual shoes. Since the few that are available are expensive and rarely to my taste, I'd like to see if anyone within a few hundred miles of Dallas can make them. All of the custom footwear in the Southwest seems to be for Western boots, which are not my interest, though I would happily go to a bootmaker who was willing to make me casual shoes. Thanks for your help.

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#72 Post by dw » Fri Apr 02, 2010 7:54 pm

Jim,

I think there's a fellow down your way by the name of Greg Carmack who makes shoes. Last I saw they were pretty nice ones too.

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#73 Post by tjburr » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:19 pm

Jim,

I talked to Greg a few months ago. He is in Waco.

His email is bootmaker@prodigy.net

If you have any problems getting ahold of him send me an email at tjburr@tx.rr.com and I can get you contact info.

Terry

mflynn

Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#74 Post by mflynn » Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:44 am

Greetings, all! I am the costumer for Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, and we are in search of a maker, good source, or rebuilder of reproduction 1870s ladies' boots for our first person interpreters. One by one, our well-worn boots are reaching the point where my cobbler tells me they can no longer be repaired! We have tried various Civil War era reproductions and found them to be not quite right for our period. Any assistance you can provide is greatly appreciated!

Melodie
melodie.foster@mysticseaport.org

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Re: In search of custom shoemaker

#75 Post by bigboot » Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:59 am

Hi folks. We are still searching for an experienced cobbler to lead our repair shop. We are willing to customize the offer to fit the right individual. The basics are:
We are an independent shoe store in Kamloops, BC. The shop is fully equipped and has 52 years of history with a superb reputation. We are offering a base salary of $3000/month plus incentives for a 40 hour work week.

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