Cutting the insole

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Re: Cutting the insole

#126 Post by tjburr » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:00 pm

Also I might add, if you buy long distance from a salesman ask for there name and have them describe the leather they are sending to you. Write that information down. If you like the leather they send to you, give that description back to the same person next time.

That is at least how I have tried to mitigate the problem that two people are likely to describe a product differently.

Two expert shoe makers, pick from the quality ones on this site, have a much better time communicating this since they can describe a common language of end use and maybe refer to it relative to other leather used for the same purpose. The salesman you talk to may or may not have a deep knowledge on the "exact" type of leather and use you are applying it to.

Terry

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Re: Cutting the insole

#127 Post by das » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:14 am

Eric,

Glad my comments were helpful.

1) In my early days I used my share of sole bend for insoles, too, and had the awl tear-out the holdfast whilst holing--leather wasted. Before I found a steady source of Bakers, I used Croggan's (also pit-tanned in UK) shoulders, but Hermes bought them up in the '90s. I did have fair luck with Tandy's "saddle skirting" for insoles in the '80s, but there was a lot of loose fluff on the flesh to pair off first just to get down to decent fiber density. No idea what their saddle skirting is like these days, but you might give it a look.

2) You can firm-up any heavy hide by "beating out", like DW says. In the old days we used a "lap stone": a large smooth river stone like a cobble stone for an anvil, later an upended solid cast-iron iron for ironing clothes (handle held between your knees while seated)--keep the face of it scrupulously clean, polished, and rust free. Soak, the soles thoroughly, then "sam" or "case" your soles overnight wrapped in brown paper--ready for beating-out by morning. With a polished-faced shoe hammer you beat-out the leather on the lap-stone/iron starting in the middle of the sole working out towards the edges like rolling-out dough. Do not pound it, just firm beating to avoid bruising and breaking the grain. You can reduce the thickness by 50%, doubling the fiber density and make it hard as wood his way. Not sure I'd "beat out" insoles at all unless they were really thick loose and fluffy or the results might no longer suit. When you block your wet insoles to the last bottom, you can beat on them a little to stiffen, but always pair off the loose flesh or you'll be sewing through Yeti fur. For outsoles and leather top-pieces for heels, beating-out is well worth the effort as it makes them far more durable.

3) Tallow: "Fancy Tallow Oil" from J. R. Baits & Lures, fur trapping supply in Ohio is what we use. Smear it on heavy, then let the leather sit in the hot sun, by the fire, or use a blow dryer to melt it in, rub off any excess before use. If you can find a rendering plant or sheep farm, sheep tallow from near the kidneys was considered the very best, it was very pure and hard. I've kept tubs of this tallow for decades--it doesn't seem to go rancid--but hard to find anymore like everything "good".

4) Coming at welted work, insoles, feathers/channels, from an historical shoemaking perspective myself I don't cut a square shouldered feather like the folks who use French edgers/feather knives do--I don't like the result. Instead I cut a sloped beveled feather (technically a "short skive") with a 4" square point knife, then tap it down (damp) with the pane of the hammer so less material gets removed. If your feather gets too thin it'll tend to curl up inside the shoe. Rees describes the advantages well in 1813--a sloping feather resists the upward pull of the uppers in wear, and springs back down better than a square shouldered feather. For the insole channel I cut a vertical incision with a pointed knife, wiggle it wide open into a "V" with a channel-opener that looks like a small oyster knife. If the channel is deep and the insole overly thick, I sometimes skive or bevel-off the high side on the inner insole side, to make the holdfast higher. After welt sewing, while everything's still damp, I tap the holdfast and seam down to bed the stitches. The inner edge of the holdfast tends to spread out over and hide the sewing, protecting it. I do more tapping with the hammer here than trimming leather away. When satisfied I rub down the seam with the hammer handle good and hard.

5) Terry is spot on here about suppliers and exact materials. Bakers insole shoulders and outsole bends have always come in grades A,B,C, soft-rolled or hard-rolled, grain buffed-off or left on, and "rejects" (fine leather but the grain color is dark and mottled). If you shave the grain off with broken glass anyway, "rejects" are perfectly fine and cheaper. If you take to beating-out you can order "soft rolled" (NB--hard rolled Bakers soling can be as hard/flinty as J. R Rendenbach, which is a bugger to hand-stitch). Just be sure to communicate clearly with the supplier once you settle on the product you prefer, you should do fine.

Old adage I'm paraphrasing here, always buy/use the best materials you can find/afford--they'll be easier to work thus speeding-up your work, require less fussing and modifying by you, and they’ll give your customer better service than cheap stop-gap stuff.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#128 Post by dw » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:31 am

^ :thumb:
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Re: Cutting the insole

#129 Post by leech77 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:17 am

Thanks a bunch for all the help guys! Going back not too many years in my line of work, it was more often than not if you asked another practitioner a question they either would outright refuse to tell you or even worse tell you wrong on purpose. Everybody though that you were out to take their job! Not so much the case these days thanks goodness.
I called Lisa Yesterday and ordered up some insole pieces. I also stopped by the tack shop on Friday and got a shoulder. It looks to be a pretty uniform thickness of 1/4", 12 iron. There's also some neck attached that I think I should steer clear of right? I'm going to wait till I get the bakers and compare the workability and see what I think. Honestly though, the cost of the Bakers isn't prohibitive. At least i know I'll be getting leather I can use all of rather than trimming away what I can't use from the harness shop pieces. When you get down to it, the cost is pretty similar. So I'll leave it at the insoles for now. Once I get going I'm sure I'll be asking plenty on the insole filling (cork versus leather).
Thanks Again,
-Eric-

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Re: Cutting the insole

#130 Post by dw » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:06 am

leech77 » Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:17 am wrote:Thanks a bunch for all the help guys! ...Once I get going I'm sure I'll be asking plenty on the insole filling (cork versus leather).
Hoo hum, early Sunday morning, not doing much, waiting for the house to wake up and being quiet as a mouse (not to mention "good, for goodness sake")...thought I would weigh in on this.

I used cork for some years both in making and in repairing. Eventually, it dawned on me that 1) it was "occlusive" and 2) it was fugitive.

Cork is necessary when the shoe has a deep forepart cavity such as in GY welted work, but that's not the case, if we're handwelting.

Then I switched to leather. If an insole is properly (at least by my reckoning) inseamed you don't need much if any bottom fill. So even scraps of four ounce lining leather will work.

Does this insole need a filler? Other than a thin scrap of leather, I mean?
DSCF1564.JPG
But back in some shadow-y corner of my mind, I always knew there was a problem...at least for me...namely that using leather is occlusive, as well, if it is cemented to the insole. The cement seals the leather just as any other rubber coating would. And both the filler and the insole are coated.

Worse, it's just another exposure to toxic solvents.

And if you don't use cement--if you paste your filler in--eventually the leather filler will rub against the leather insole and you'll get creaking.

What to do, what to do?!

Examining old shoes, I discovered that the solution was to use tarred felt. Tarred felt (not asphaltum / roofing felt) is hard to come by. So I just started pasting dry, 100% wool felt in instead of the leather.

If the paste fails, so what? Felt rubbing against leather will not creak. And neither the paste nor the felt is occlusive.

Win/win, in my opinion.
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Re: Cutting the insole

#131 Post by leech77 » Fri May 22, 2015 7:50 pm

Hello again guys,
It's been a long while I know, but I finally got a chance to work on some shoes and thought I'd touch base. I tried the Baker's insole leather I got from Lisa and boy oh boy what a difference! The stuff just works. It's actually kind of enjoyable to prepare the insole now because I know it's going to work like it's supposed to. I also tried the stuff from the tack shop (which came from weaver) and it was Ok, but didn't hold a candle to the workability of the Baker. As long as its available I'm sticking with the Baker insoles.
As I'm nearing the final stages of my first "real" pair of shoes I was wondering about wooden pegs versus clinch nails. I know Iron is a no-no, but I think I remember something about copper clinch nails being used in boat building. Just curious if anyone has tried using them and what you thought.
If I can figure out how to upload pictures to the chat page, I'd like to share my finished 18th century reenactment shoes with all of you. It is, after all, the least I can do in return for the free tutoring all of you have provided!
God Rest,
-Eric-

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Re: Cutting the insole

#132 Post by das » Sat May 23, 2015 3:48 am

Hey Eric,

Glad that Baker's worked for you--it is nice stuff.

For 18thc shoes no metallic nails were used to make these. The heel-seat was sewn, and the body of the heel ditto with a few scattered pegs to hold things steady. The top-piece of the stacked leather heels were often merely pegged on because they wore and were replaced.

If you want to try more "modern" footwear, like 19th and early 20thc, you do find metallic fasteners in those. Iron clinch tacks, however, will react poorly with Baker's or any good veg by "burning" it, turning it black and brittle like burnt toast. My advice is, go with brass. D. G. Gurney in Mass. is the oldest tack & nail making firm in the USA, and they make a full range of clinch tacks in brass (and iron), but often on special order, min. 25 lbs., and damn pricey too, but worth it in the long run. You can get "oval heads" (small domed heads that look prominent), or "extra iron clinching" (small, flat, virtually headless) called "extra iron" even when made in brass.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#133 Post by leech77 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:44 pm

Hello again,
I finally got my shoes finished! They turned out quite nice and I'm quite proud of them. As soon as I get the pics uploaded I'll share. These are my first "real" pair of shoes in that I used traditional methods and not cement or all wooden peg construction. Also my first shoes with a full liner, actual insole with the holdfast carved in and stitched welt. I gotta say, after I got over the initial apprehension and fear of messing up my work, the construction itself was rather enjoyable. Particularly stitching the sole by hand, which surprised me. I did use wooden pegs for the middle part of the sole, like a western style boot. Seemed like it would give me more the look I was looking for. They are for 18th century reenactment, which I know it was pointed out before that the pegs wouldn't have been used, but nobody is going to be looking at the bottom of them. I also made heel irons for them to save on wear. Besides, I really hate replacing heels! Thanks again everyone for the help. I look forward to posting pics!
-Eric-

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Re: Cutting the insole

#134 Post by leech77 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:03 am

Sorry to say I'm having a heck of a time getting pictures posted. Is there a way to do it from a phone?

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Re: Cutting the insole

#135 Post by dw » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:34 am

leech77 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:03 am wrote:Sorry to say I'm having a heck of a time getting pictures posted. Is there a way to do it from a phone?
To post photos you need to have the photo stored on the computer, know where it is and how to get to it, and have it be in jpg, ping or gif format.

The forum wants to see photos as "attachments," so while you're in the editing window you need to click on "upload attachment." Browse to the photo and upload.

Then "add the file" and "place inline"

Simple as that.
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Re: Cutting the insole

#136 Post by leech77 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:08 pm

OK Lets Give it a whirl. Sorry the pics aren't the greatest.
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Re: Cutting the insole

#137 Post by leech77 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 5:09 pm

It Worked! Here's another.
-Eric!
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Re: Cutting the insole

#138 Post by leech77 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:42 pm

Just checking is anyone else was able to view my photos of my shoes. I guess I'm being a bit insecure about my first attempt at proper made shoes. Any input/critique you can offer is much welcome!
God rest,
-E-

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Re: Cutting the insole

#139 Post by dw » Tue Jun 30, 2015 6:31 pm

leech77 » Tue Jun 30, 2015 5:42 pm wrote:Just checking is anyone else was able to view my photos of my shoes. I guess I'm being a bit insecure about my first attempt at proper made shoes. Any input/critique you can offer is much welcome!
Yes, they're there and they look good.

Historical reproductions aren't my specialty but I like them.

Thank for posting them.
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Re: Cutting the insole

#140 Post by das » Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:40 am

Eric,

Your pix came through fine for me too. Very commendable for your "first" pair. Spotted several "mixed metaphors" historically speaking--what decade were you trying to replicate? Last and heel proportions look more 19thc, while uppers pattern is shooting for mid 18thc?

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Re: Cutting the insole

#141 Post by leech77 » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:09 pm

Thanks gents! No, this isn't my very very first pair of shoes, but it is my first attempt at a hand welted and hand stitched shoe. The lasts are modern lasts from the shoe last shop called "FLYNT". As a side note, I'm looking for these lasts in different sizes if anyone knows anywhere other than the shoe last shop to get them. I do reenactments and living history of the French & Indian (7 years) war, so we're looking at about the 1750's. Any pics of what a shoe from that time should look like? I assume it would be straight last. I need to take a few liberties with mine on account of some orthopedic problems and the fact that they need to accommodate my braces. They were quite comfortable though after about a day of breaking in! Only problem is I've got about six people that want a pair. I don't think most folks realize how labour intensive making a pair of shoes really is! All the same, it was rather gratifying to have my handy work admired.
Thanks again everyone,
-Eric-
PS - I did cheat on the uppers and used a machine to stitch them.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#142 Post by das » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:58 am

Eric,

Thanks for the further details. For 1750s--1757 to be exact--you can't get any closer than the Fort Ligonier shoes out in western PA. They have hundreds dug from the fort site, some fairly complete, others just parts. Yup, straight lasts are the way to go with a broad round toe, unless you're wanting the "old fashioned" (in 1757) look of the square boxed toes of "Dutchy" PA-German provincial troops. Otherwise, broader and lower tongue so corners don't show much above the top-line, and slightly larger buckles, but not too big, say for 1 1/4" straps--G. Gedney Godwin has them. Most 18thc men's uppers were waxed calf (finished black on the flesh) and not fully lined or edge-bound like a modern shoe.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#143 Post by leech77 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:23 am

Well heck! Fort Ligonier is only about a sixty mile drive from me! I might head over to the museum for their next event. I'm sure they have some originals or at least some pictures to look at. I think the museum at Fort Pitt might also have some examples. Thanks for the info!

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