Tackling the heel

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Re: Tackling the heel

#151 Post by fishball » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:54 pm

Thanks DW, Paul and Jeff!

Paul, do you know where I can still get the Cat's Paw Half sole with the "two dots"?

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Re: Tackling the heel

#152 Post by paul » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:11 pm

Great info on heel shaves. I've never tried one.

Jeff, I've liked it when I waited until I'd shaped the base before adding the lift. I felt I had a better chance that the lift would be more verticle and not caught up with the heel curve.

DW, I was sanding with my naumkeg the other day, thinking about your efforts to eliminate the wrinkle and subsequent premature hole. Well since I'd already been using wet/dry sand paper, I had the thought to wet my naumkeg paper. It's early to tell, as I've only done it the once, but it seemed hopeful.

Has anyone ever used a round rasp for Louie/Cuban heels?

Alex,
I don't. But I'd suggest calling around the shoe repair shops in your area and ask who has the oldest one in the state. I'd say that the older the shoe shop the better your chances would be. I think they were on their way out in the 70's. So it's going to be some pretty old stock.

It does occure to me to use Dan Preston, editor of Shop Talk magazine. He always has a section in his magazine of somebody looking for something. http://www.proleptic.net/

Then I guess ebay is another. Sorry I can't be more help.

Back to the bench,
Paul

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Re: Tackling the heel

#153 Post by fishball » Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:43 am

Paul,

I saw some new Japanese shoe still have the Cat's Paw sole and heel. I just wonder where they get those sole and heel.

Alexander

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Re: Tackling the heel

#154 Post by paul » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:49 am

Alexander,

Well I guess I'm outta step.
I don't know where to direct you. Sorry.

In an earlier post you had asked about which was longer wearing, Vibram, Biltrite, or Cat's Paw.
I do recall that in the '80's Quabaug/Vibram provided abrasion level comparison test results showing their own superiority, (of course). I've always believed it anyway, just from my experience at the sander with the three. And the last I heard all three are owned by Quabaug.

I've been away from shoe repair long enough now to be out of touch with the current situation, so I'm sorry not to be able to be of more help.

Paul

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Re: Tackling the heel

#155 Post by dw » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:00 am

Paul,

Great minds, like great rivers flow in the same direction--out to sea. Image

This is kind of screwy and hard to describe but i took the bottom half of a Montana PitchBlend container--it's just a tidge smaller in diameter than my naumkeg pad--and I cut holes in the bottom. Then I made a simulacrum of my naumkeg pad from dense crepe. I cut an appropriately large disc of cloth backed sheet abrasive and quickly wet the cloth side. I use the crepe pad to force the disc into the plastic container, pulling out the pipes and wrinkles--I "last" it--and re-shaping the crimped folds where necessary. Then I set it up to dry.

The results are not perfect...depending as much on the time I invest as any other factor...but they are much, much better than naumkeg papers when they come in the door.

BTW, if I didn't mention it before, I do all my naumkeg papers this way, even the ones I buy from my finder--I re-shape them.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#156 Post by donrwalker » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:46 am

Alexander

I have two pair of Cats paw half soles with the dots sitting on my shelf under layers of dust. I have no idea where they came from. I assume they were with something else I bought at one time or another. They are prabably a million years old.

Don

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Re: Tackling the heel

#157 Post by fishball » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:58 pm

Thanks guys, i learn a lot from you.

I am using HARDO, it is a 2nd hand machine, and I don't think they come with the "B" wheel. I will check where I can get one.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#158 Post by dw » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:12 am

Here's a question that has been puzzling me for sometime....

When building a heel on a shoe(or even a boot) do you set the heel so that it is solid and level on the ground? Or do you build the heel with a little "spring?" Like maybe a dime's worth of daylight under the back of the heel? Or even a little gap under the breast?

If you do, why? What is the thinking?

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Re: Tackling the heel

#159 Post by paul » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:27 am

I go for level.

However I do recall the judges in the shoe repair competitions I entered in the 80's said they like to see a little spring, that dimes worth you mention.

But I've often wondered what's best also.

It seems that the way the heel strikes the ground and rolls forward ought to be taken into consideration, so that a little spring should be ok. But, of course, too much can be very problomatic.

I'd be interested in others comments as well.

Paul

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Re: Tackling the heel

#160 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:07 am

DW and Paul
That's the way I was taught.

Why ? couple reasons, so that there is no chance that the heel has no support under the front of the heel bone. Which would over stress the shank and get a broken back, for the lack of a better word.

Also depends on the heel hight, and desired purpose. If you see a rodeo cowboy walk on roaping boots they are hard to walk on as the heel is cut back so much, but you want that shape for stopping power, as a 500 lb calf trys to drag you. Sort of an extreme example.

When you get doing ortho work you can use heel build out our undercutting to help control foot motions which maybe lost or diminished. that goes to the fore foot also.

If one is not carefull in heel line/ achilles attachment point , fashion/function, you can give a nasty case of shin splints or make the knee very unstable, especially on stairs.

Regards
Brendan

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Re: Tackling the heel

#161 Post by dw » Sun Nov 15, 2009 8:41 am

I am grateful that as I have gotten older I have not become set in my ways or unable to learn...I have not only gotten into new areas of shoemaking but I am questioning some assumptions that I took as gospel from my mentors.

This heel spring thing is one of them.

I was taught to build the boot with a level heel. If one puts a good steel shank into the boot and shapes it carefully to the bottom of the last + insole, I do not see how there could be any lack of support under the heel or the arch.

At the same time I have seen and talked with a few makers who always build in a little spring. And I am beginning to suspect that a little heel spring might accentuate that "rocker motion" that we like on boots.

But I am wondering about this as much because I am working with lower heels when making shoes and I see this more often on lower heeled boots and shoes (or maybe I just notice it more).

I suspect that adding a little heel spring under the back of the heel would particularly address low heeled shoes where no shank support was used at all.

But I am wondering if on, say, a 5/8" or 8/8" heel building in a little spring makes walking more comfortable?...perhaps to compensate for the reduced toe spring on the lower lasts?

I hope Janne or Marcel or Rob will jump in here and provide some insights but mostly I am looking for reasons--a rationale or theory that will justify doing it that way. So that it's not just mindless copying.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#162 Post by romango » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:13 am

In the book "American Last Making" by Karl Adrian, he states that
Many of us feel no heel spring is necessary in men's shoes. However, if there is a spring, it should be very slight - 3/32 in or preferably less. Another way of judging Heel Spring is simply this - the wearer should not be conscious of hitting first on the heel breast when walking.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#163 Post by dw » Sun Nov 15, 2009 9:34 am

Rick,

Good reference! Thanks for that. I think that's the only snippet I've ever run across that addresses this issue.

And that has always been my theory, as well.

Now we need to hear from more people who espouse heel spring and why. Always "why"...

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Re: Tackling the heel

#164 Post by dearbone » Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:29 am

Heels are made flat to the flat part of the soles, no heel pitching on waist or the back according to Hasluck, chapter VII,page 116, i assume you have the book.

Nasser

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Re: Tackling the heel

#165 Post by dw » Sun Nov 15, 2009 1:09 pm

Nasser,

Yes, I have Hasluck...I also have all eight Golding, the four Bordoli, the four Gresham, Swaysland, Plucknett, Thornton, Leno, and several others.

No offence to you or Hasluck but I've never considered it all that authoritative especially by comparison with the others. And esp. since from what I understand he was not a shoemaker but rather a chronicler of numerous Trades. And even moreso since much of the book deals with shoe repair.

That said, this is the second time you have referred to Hasluck (the first was about heel seat stitching) and I have gotten something valuable from it.

Thank You.

But we still need some rationales from more folks who favour heel spring...

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Re: Tackling the heel

#166 Post by dearbone » Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:11 pm

Shoe makers are usually no writers,the man of the awl is different from the man of the pen,having said that,there is no heel spring form this shoe maker point of view,but i will await the rationals from other folks,if there is any.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#167 Post by relferink » Tue Dec 29, 2009 4:25 am

DW & all,

Well overdo on a response, more so as my name was brought up requesting a reply.I was just catching up reading this thread and be happy to put in my 2 cents. It's quite simple but not so easy to put into words so bear with me:

I was always taught to make the toplift on the heel "carrying", meaning that it had full contact with a level "ground" surface in any an all custom work. The way it was explained to me made good sense to me an up to this day I stick by it.
The reason mass produced footwear does have a heel spring is because it helps the fit. The developer in an industrial setting makes the shoe to an average of his target customers feet (or at least should try to do so) Within this group of potential customers there are not only different sized feet but also very differently shaped and proportioned feet. These differences are not accounted for by the size and width differences typically offered.
What the heel spring does is in effect pulling the topline tighter on the shoe (and in boots as well even without there being a topline per-se) allowing the shoe to hold on to the heel better, resulting in less heel slippage on the shoes and thus more sales of said shoes.
To make it more visual take a shoe with a separate heel and place the heel breast on the edge of your bench. now bend the shoe a little by putting pressure on the back of the heel and the toe. You will see the topline tightening. That's exactly what happens when a person puts their weight on the shoe in gait.
In recent years this technique has been mostly replaced by foam collars on shoes as separate heels have gone by the wayside for much of today's streetwear but the idea is the same, get a grip on the heel to keep heel slippage down.

On custom fit work you have no reason to do this as you should have accounted for issues that could cause slippage in the last. Besides in custom work you want to give your customer optimal stability in stance and gait, springing the heel takes away from than and in my humble opinion would even cause excess stress on the materials, causing them to loose rigidity in the arch areas where we need the firmness. This in turn could cause over stretching of the plantar fascia ligament and cause foot problems for some customers.

To wrap up I have to point out that I am talking about is heel spring, not the rounding of the heel at the extreme end. There are a number of reasons to round the heel having to do with the design and shape of the shoe, bottom and heel and even your customers unique physique but they mostly come down to allowing the foot to strike more gradually, lessening the slapping of the ball to the ground.

Hope this clears it up a little and while I'm here I want to wish all happy holidays and the best wishes for the new year.

Rob - Member Honourable Cordwainers' Company

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Re: Tackling the heel

#168 Post by dw » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:13 am

Rob,

Thanks for posting that. It illuminates the reasons why we see this phenomenon on some shoes. I hadn't thought about how heel spring would tighten the topline.

But just to be clear when you are speaking about "heel spring" am I right in thinking you mean leaving a dime's worth of space under the rear of the heel? Or do you mean under the breast of the heel? Seems like the latter would be counter-productive...but I have seen that as well.

I've always made my boots...and now shoes..."carrying", as you term it. I never could see a reason to do otherwise. Seems like there is ample reason to continue doing that.

PS...I wish you posted here more often. Got a pattern for jodhpurs? Image

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Re: Tackling the heel

#169 Post by relferink » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:33 pm

DW, You are welcome, my apologies for being so late on the response. More so since I was called upon by nameImage
Do remember that keeping the heel from slipping was the intention so as you say, having a heel spring under the breast of the heel is counter productive.
On a side note; if I had to guess I would say that on at least half the shoes where the heel was sprong it was done "because that's how it has always been done" and in most of the remaining cases it happened more or less by accident. Seeing the heel breast sprong on even some higher end shoes makes you wonder if it's made by a shoe company that actually employs shoemakers. Than again shoemakers are a dying breed, even in China......

Rob - Member Honourable Cordwainers' Company

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Re: Tackling the heel

#170 Post by paul » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:00 pm

Rob and DW,

So this all makes me wonder if this perspective of factory thinking isn't behind the cheap factory made boots I've seen for years, where the heel is sprung to as much as 1/4" raised at the back of the heel.

I can see how it might lay the instep area tighter against the foot, to minimize slippage from a bad fit.

Paul

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Re: Tackling the heel

#171 Post by relferink » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:49 pm

Paul,

It does indeed work the same way in boots, possibly even better in slip on boots compared to shoes. I can not comment on the intentions of the cheap factory boot makers but it's a technique that is proven to work. 1/4" is a lot. Way back when I started learning the gentle craft by doing shoe repair I was taught to maintain a bit of a heel spring on repairs as the customer was likely used to it but only as little as the thickness of a dime.

Others may have more useful information on what the accepted norm for heel spring is/was. Karl Adrian quoted above by Rick may have it just right.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#172 Post by dw » Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:13 am

Paul, Rob,

I think that's where my curiosity comes from, too--"way back when," "back in the day", "time out of mind," I was taught that when repairing a shoe or boot to leave a little heel spring, as well. I have never consciously built heel spring into a boot I was making..always building them to sit flat...but I was always aware of that dichotomy, so to speak.

After all these years, I think I have finally, thankfully, put that hoary old troll to bed.

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Re: Tackling the heel

#173 Post by ccs » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:28 pm

Before worrying about sourcing or casting in polyurethane, I'm going to try to make temporary 6/8 dance shoe heel blocks at least partially from the same polycaprolactone heat re-moldable plastic that I'm using for my lasts. I did a test one by eye, and seems to work, though I may replace the nails with countersunk wood screws.

But I'm debating using a piece of wood for most of the bulk and just using a thinner layer of molded in place plastic on the top to create the taper and conform to the foot shape. I'm also thinking the wood would be better for gluing the (suede) sole piece to (not much sticks to the plastic - though the stuff itself works like hot glue when hot, but I'll probably end up recycling my early experiments so I don't want to get it stuck to everything)

If I do this, what would be a good substance to try? Plywood? Some kind of hardwood? Or am I better off sticking with the plastic for its slight rubberiness compared to wood?

(Message edited by ccs on January 21, 2011)

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Re: Tackling the heel

#174 Post by dw » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:34 pm

This may be old hat or self-evident but I've never seen this technique before and at the risk of tooting my own horn for the obvious, I thought I would post the following couple of photos.

I have never been happy with the combination toplifts available on the market--the leather isn't the same tannage as the outsole and won't finish up to match; they're needlessly expensive and hard to find.

So I decided to make my own. This is a repair job on my "shop" shoes and this is well before the final finish...
13754.jpg

13753.jpg


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(Message edited by dw on June 21, 2011)

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Re: Tackling the heel

#175 Post by romango » Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:29 pm

DW,

How did you cut the overlaps?

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