Cutting the insole

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Re: Cutting the insole

#26 Post by jake » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:05 am

Peter,

You're Welcome!

Now listen....if I ever try to describe something, and you don't understand, please let me know. I ain't the best in the world explaining techniques. D.W. and Al try to cover my butt most of the time! Image

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Re: Cutting the insole

#27 Post by dw » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:09 am

Jake,

Great photos! You do so well with these close-up. We've got virtually the same camera--same lens system--and mine arte never quite as sharp as yours. Are you using a tripod when you take them?

And Jake, dern it! Don't apologize. You're great at explaining and reaching out to help people. It ain't everyone that's as generous.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#28 Post by jake » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:24 am

Dee-Dubb,

Yes sir, I'm using a tripod. I'm also using the "macro" setting and the "timer" to shoot'em. By the way, I think lately, your pics have been outstanding! Looks like to me you've got'er bucked out.

I appreciate the kind words. I try to give back what so many people have given me. I know in the past this business has been "tight-lip". But I've never met a person, so far, who hasn't been open and eager to help me. And dern it, I got to say it one more time D.W. You've been at the top of the heap with a helping hand. Thanks Amigo!

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Re: Cutting the insole

#29 Post by das » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:57 am

DW,

Have we talked to Greg Hochasuer[sp?] about maybe importing Bakers?

Seems most of these leather dealers import lots of leathers--maybe Bakers would catch on here. Tony Crack in Northampton sells it too, and ships to the US.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#30 Post by dw » Tue Nov 11, 2003 7:53 am

Al,

I talked to Greg Hochhauser about Baker's insole shoulders and outsole bends, etc.. Truth to tell he wasn't all that enthusiastic. I think he felt that there would only be a small segment of his client base that would be interested. It's hard to convince an importer/finder to add or change his inventory. It requires not just an investment of money but of faith. And it requires that people support him if he does make that investment. That's why I have always tried to "spread" the news about new leather sources that I come across. Sometimes I regret mentioning it because in the long run the leather doesn't pan out. But take the Sheridan kangaroo, for instance. I think most of the makers now using it are satisfied with it and may even actually prefer it in most circumstances. But Dave Foster and the folks at Sheridan Leather really went out on a limb with that. Especially considering all the colours they initially brought in.

But back to the Baker's...it would be wonderful if someone like [cough] Domenic Leathers would import it and sell it, at a very reasonable markup, to select customers. Image

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Re: Cutting the insole

#31 Post by das » Tue Nov 11, 2003 11:55 am

DW,

I'd give Baker's outsole bends a miss, unless you can get them hard-rolled, or want to beat-out every pair. The German "R-brand" outsoles already being imported are far superior.

We use Baker's outsole here at the museum, but only for hand-stitching--it's softer going than the "R-brand". For machine stitched soles "R-brand" is "the" stuff IMO.

I don't know how much business Westfield does with custom makers, but I'd bet that anyone using their insole would switch to Baker's *if* the price can be kept down.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#32 Post by dw » Tue Nov 11, 2003 6:33 pm

Al,

Well, I purchased one of the Baker outsole bends when we did the Buyer's Consortioum for the insole shoulders. I have to admit I haven't used any of it yet, but it doesn't look any worse or softer than the common domestic tannages that are around...not that that's saying much. Anyway, I'll take your word for it...maybe I'll use it for insoles. Image

As for the R-brand outsoles. Do you have a regular source where you can get them branded on the back or not branded at all? I like those outsoles but I can't stand the brand/logo on the grain surface! But then I don't wear Nike T-shirts either. Image

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Re: Cutting the insole

#33 Post by dw » Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:08 pm

Here's a couple of photos of my experiments with a "vertical cut" channel.
2646.jpg
2646.jpg (45.92 KiB) Viewed 1142 times

2645.jpg
2645.jpg (35.54 KiB) Viewed 1142 times


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Re: Cutting the insole

#34 Post by dw » Fri Dec 05, 2003 7:10 pm

Two more to complete the set...
2648.jpg
2648.jpg (43.99 KiB) Viewed 1142 times

2647.jpg
2647.jpg (40.15 KiB) Viewed 1142 times


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Re: Cutting the insole

#35 Post by jake » Sat Dec 06, 2003 6:05 am

D.W.,

What do you think about this technique? Better? Worse? Comments?

I want to hear what you have to say before I give it a try.

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Cutting the insole

#36 Post by dw » Sat Dec 06, 2003 6:26 am

Jake,

I liked it but I would say this...it's probably no better than the shallow groove method. And in some circumstances it may be...not worse, but not as easy.

For instance if there's a lot of extra "fluff" on the flesh side of the insole, a very shallow cut channel like that tends to be, not only in weak leather but, hard to keep defined so that you can see where to hole.

The loose stuff on an insole should probably always be removed but I've gotten kind of lazy that way. I can cut a shallow groove and judge the quality of the leather at the bottom of the groove by sight and by feel--not so easy just cutting a slit.

Where there is little or no loose flesh, the technique works excellently and, as you can see, closes back up to the point where the stitch is virtually invisible. All in all, it's worth a try.

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Re: Cutting the insole

#37 Post by dw » Sat Dec 06, 2003 8:33 am

Jake,

PS...I've used the vertical cut on the last four pair of boots and been very happy with it. Frankly, I'm not sure which I prefer.


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Re: Cutting the insole

#38 Post by dmcharg » Tue Dec 09, 2003 8:14 pm

Dear me, DW,
Using loose leather for your insoles; the old guilds would close you down man Image

Happy Christmas
Duncan

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Re: Cutting the insole

#39 Post by dw » Tue Dec 09, 2003 9:10 pm

Duncan,

Probably...but "loose" leather makes a better footbed, relatively speaking, and we certainly don't get the tannages in the States that the old guilds got. I readily admit I'm using soling bellies for insoles and some shoulders (when I can get them heavy enough)--all loose stuff. And naturally, some "fluff" is part of the package. But hey as long as I don't fall in with loose women and loose morals I guess a little loose leather can be excused. Image

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Re: Cutting the insole

#40 Post by paul » Wed Dec 10, 2003 9:22 am

I've been waiting for this conversation on insoles to get around to my instincts.
In the mid-eighties I had a pair of boots made by Stewart in Tucson. They were black buffalo roughout. And because I had a boot shop, I asked for them to be sent without the soles attached. Just inseamed. I put on a Vibram #269 Westerner full sole and made a 1 1/4" base of dense foam crepe and a rubber heel. I'd had a fringe sewn into the side seam, so these had a real moccasin look and feel. The remarkable thing to me was how instantly comfortable and flexible they were. Years later when I disassembled them and was examining the insole, I was convinced it was tooling or skirting leather. Very soft. They had held up for 15 years or so and showed very little deterioration. I could have sewn them back in.
Of course, it makes sense to me to think in terms of years of wear from this 'foundation', but it also seems flexibility and comfort, like I experienced, is such a desirable feature in new footwear for todays customer.
You guys have mentioned 'tallowing' your insoles and there have been discussions of different suppliers with leather as rare as hens teeth, I'd like some input on the nature of ideal insole leather.
PK

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Re: Cutting the insole

#41 Post by cmw » Thu Dec 11, 2003 5:04 am

Paul

I second the notion.

If everything goes well, I'll be able to start ordering materials soon. The insole and finished construction of the sole is still on the drawing board in my mind. Your idea would help me resolve this. One possibility is a softer insole together with a mid sole and the finished sole.

Ya'll have a nice day
CW

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Re: Cutting the insole

#42 Post by dw » Thu Dec 11, 2003 6:34 am

Paul, Chris,

I don't have a lot of hard experience with other types of leather for insoles than what I was taught to use--shoulders and bellies. And these leathers are tanned and treated as soling leather. So, I'm not talking about harness leather or skirting or anything like that...although I know that some makers do use skirting, etc..

I don't know how much leeway there is here but my instincts say that the insole is the backbone of the boot. You don't want it to be too soft. Up to a point, the softer, more loose fibered the leather is the quicker and better a footbed will form. Beyond that point the insole will deform and the shape and integrity of the boot will be jeopardized. Up to a point, the softer the insole the easier it will be to inseam. Beyond that point and the inseam will not be in good enough leather to hold.

I tallow the insoles for two reasons: to create a reservoir of conditioning in the insole so that as it is used and worn the leather will not dry out and crack. And I tallow to make some "flintier" types of leather a little more tractable--easier to inseam, quicker to form a footbed.

That said, I've made insoles out of soft soling bends. It might be remembered that our bootmaking forefathers didn't really have an "insole leather" and an "outsole leather," as such. They simply cut their insoles from the same stuff as they cut their outsoles--from the shoulder and perhaps the bellies. From what I understand they then "hammered" the prospective outsoles on a lap iron to harden them. Precursor of the modern "rolling" of the leather to harden it.

I like a little thicker insole, so I don't buy precuts. That more or less limits me to cutting my own from leather bends or sides. I would have no use for heavy skirting other than making insoles. So a portion of that would waste.

If I cut my insoles from bellies of soling bends, I am using the "waste." And since I cut some toe boxes and all heel stiffeners from the same bend, I am using it to its fullest, I think.


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Re: Cutting the insole

#43 Post by paul » Mon Mar 08, 2004 11:35 am

Hello All,

I've got a question. If a 3/4 welt design extends from just behind the 1st to the 5th metatarsals, and a full welted boot extends from heel feather line around the toe to the other side at the heel feather; What do you call a welt design that goes from the 1st met around the toe to the lateral side heel feather line?

I hope my references describe what I'm thinking.

PK

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Re: Cutting the insole

#44 Post by paul » Wed Mar 10, 2004 9:51 am

Hi all,

I apologize, but I'm going to repeat this question one more time. I think my timeing was bad earlier, as we were all caught up in that great toe box study, DW did.

I'm looking for comments on an insole design that I've seen mostly on English shoes, it seems. Also on some boots years ago.
It extends from behind the ball around to the feather at the heel. This seems like it is a good design for some feet and I would like to know what there is to learned about it. Do any of you folks make an insole like this?

TIA, PK

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Re: Cutting the insole

#45 Post by dw » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:07 pm

Paul,

If you mean cutting the feather and the inside channel from the medial ball, around the toe, to the lateral breast of the heel...and of course, inseaming/welting the same...I do that especially for seven-eighths inch heel boots. I peg the medial arch area and around the heel.

Some of the old books say to cut the feather in a bit deeper through the lateral waist/arch. Hides the welt under the foot a little better and makes the boot/foot look trimmer.

I don't make any shoes to speak of but I've seen several pair of, what I would consider "top shelf," semi-bespoke shoes made exactly like that. I like it, it makes an interesting and pretty sole that doesn't fit the "factory definition" of a "roper."


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Re: Cutting the insole

#46 Post by jake » Wed Mar 10, 2004 12:08 pm

Paul,

Sorry Partner.....can't help ya here. I only makes boots, and use a 3/4 welt design.

Sorry!

Al? Dan?

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Re: Cutting the insole

#47 Post by paul » Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:45 am

DW,

Yes, thank you, that's just what I'm trying to describe.
Which old books? Is it one that I would have access to, such as Mark and you have put on line for us? Do you have an idea what this style is called?

I've actually done several pair this way, 1 1/2" heels, when the lateral side of the foot print seems to ask for something more under that area. But I've never talked with any other makers about it. I like the idea of setting the feather a bit deeper to hide the welt line alittle. It does have a bespoke look to it, for sure. My customers, who have noticed it, really like it. I'm sure it contributes to the 'fit in the head'.

Do you feel it's value is reserved for lower heels, like seven-eighths inch?

PK

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Re: Cutting the insole

#48 Post by dw » Sun Mar 14, 2004 7:11 am

Paul,

Marc has put Rees on-line. I don't know/remember if Rees mentions anything like this.

I haven't put anything online in that category and I may never do so but I am nearly three-quarter finished scanning in and recognizing Golding's Volume VI. Eventually it and (hopefully) several others will be available for download in PDF format...that's the plan at any rate.

But to your question...Golding is a compilation of essays/treatisae(?) from various authors. I think several mention cutting the feather in slightly more under the waist. Very certainly Rollinson in Volume VI does--I just finished that section and in the process more or less read it...at least enough to get a sense of it. I have been cutting the feather, behind the joint, slightly deeper even with "three-quarter" welted boots for a long time, though, so I am sure I've run across the idea previously...maybe even in other sources. I like the idea as well as the end result, myownself.

I've never run across the long lateral welt approach in the literature.It may be there, I just don't remember it. But as mentioned, I've seen it on top shelf semi-bespoke shoes. I'm sure that your usage of it where the foot demands it, is perfectly appropriate...heck, it's all mostly what you want to see, anyway, isn't it? Personally, I've never used it on anything higher than seven-eighths, but that's no sign. Years ago I read the book "A Lifetime With Boots" by Sam Luchesse (or 'as told to' Tad Mizwa). He makes a case for pegging through the shank being the more stable technique. Western boots are traditionally pegged through the shank...although if you go back far enough (1880/90's) you might make a case that they were more often fully pegged. But the point is that it's "tradition" that guides me in that particular respect. "Ropers" (7/8" ) don't have that tradition so firmly associated with them and quite to the contrary, in fact. Ropers, as we know and think of them, are most usually associated with full welts. So pegging the medial shank and welting the lateral seems a happy marriage.

Just some thoughts...hope that helps

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Re: Cutting the insole

#49 Post by sorrell » Wed Aug 10, 2005 1:04 pm

D.W.,
I bought some of the insole leather that you recommended and I'm looking forward to trying it. However, I have no idea what would be the best way to place the insoles to cut. The bend has two straight edges. There are fat wrinkles extending out perpendicularly from one of the straight edges and running parallel to the other straight edge. What's the best part of this piece, which way should I turn the insoles and how much of it can I use for insoles?

Thanks!

Lisa

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Re: Cutting the insole

#50 Post by dw » Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:17 pm

Lisa,

Well, truth to tell I'm guessing...I don't remember what my teacher used for insoles and I never used shoulders (too thin) until this last shipment. I am cutting around the fat wrinkles whenever I can (although I'm not going to *extraordinary* lengths to do so) and trying to place the insole such that the wrinkle does *not* run across the insole whenever I can't cut around.

I don't know whether that's right or wrong but it seems to me that you wouldn't want the wrinkles under the ball of the foot and running across the insole unless (maybe) you could place the wrinkle 100% accurately so that it coincided with the flexing of the foot. Otherwise the insole would want to flex at the wrinkle and if that was "out of place," so to speak, it might cause a bit of discomfort.

I'll defer to anyone who has a logical rationale to do otherwise.

Beyond that, I might add that the insole shoulders we got from Baker Leather (maybe the best insole material I've ever seen) all had numerous fat wrinkles in them...so, I would conclude from that that you are probably not going to get away from them as long as you are using shoulders.

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