One "Last" Question

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delormea

Re: One "Last" Question

#1726 Post by delormea » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:46 pm

I guess the question that still remains for me is whether or not the last can be simply built up around the seat to work?

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1727 Post by dw » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:37 am

As far as the bottom is concerned, yes, you can put a feather edge around the heel using build-ups of whatever material you ordinarily use for build-ups. Be aware that there is a radius on the bottom of the last and in the heel seat area it is as important as anywhere on the last.

That said, I don't think you need to. You asked how to trim the insole with a no feather heel seat--the answer is that you guesstimate. At first glance, that may not seem like a very satisfying answer but it is the correct one in my opinion. It really isn't that critical.

If you trim the insole high the heel seat will cup the bottom of the foot...a good thing. The only problem you will encounter is avoidning too much insole proud of the contours of the last.

Then too, as long as you are aware of those contours--the contours of the sides of the heel of the last--it is pretty hard to trim the insole too narrow.

Fundamentally...the heel of the foot has no abrupt edge, no featherline. Why should the last?

Again the bigger problem is the backward lean of the heel itself, IMO.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1728 Post by paul » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:49 am

Aaron,

Of course it could be used. I'd say if you knew where you wanted it to go, and what your final desired intended shape was, you could use it. There's certainly more to it than meets the eye. But you gotta start somewhere.

Scratch the surface, glue leather bits where wanted, tacking it along the feather line for support, and shape. Sounds easy enough.
Remember though, you might get the shape right on one (and of course you won't know that until much later, but then you have to make a matching one that opposite!

Easier said than done, but doable.

My lasts looked like potatoes for the first couple of years, before I knew the features I wanted.

Experience matters.

The best advise is to buy a proper last for what you want to make and save these for later when you know what you're doing. Cleaned up and varnished this last would be a beauty!

I'll also advise paying serious attention to DW's concern about the heel shape.

Paul

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1729 Post by dw » Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:14 am

Another way to approach this starts with the proposition that the insole should never be wider (or smaller) than the footprint. I choose all my lasts with that concept in mind--match the heelseat width (and treadline width) of the last to a pedographic print of the foot.

So...you aren't able to choose the last but if you have a prospective foot you intend to use the last for, you can determine the dimensions of the insole by measuring the width of the heel of the foot and the distance from the medial joint to the lateral joint.

Or better yet, you can simply make a tracing of the footprint and cut a template from it. Then you can compare it to the bottom of the last and, first, determine if the last is suitable for the foot; and second, where you will need to modify the insole to conform to the last and give the insole some grace.

(All this supposes that you have a pedograph or some way to accurately obtain a weight bearing print from the foot).

Bringing the foot into the picture is always the right approach.

And Paul's advice...esp. about experience...is spot on.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1730 Post by dw » Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:37 am

Here are two photos of a last for some balmoral shoes I'm making.

The black line is where the feather edge would ordinarily be...I've cut it off/rounded it. The red line is where I trimmed the insole.



[attachment=0]15048.jpg[/attachment]

[attachment=1]15049.jpg[/attachment]

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15049.jpg
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1731 Post by kemosabi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:33 am

Aaron,
I believe this is what DW was referring to about heel shape being more for a pull on boot vs. a shoe. Line shows what a shoe last would look like, exaggerated for the purpose of illustration.
(Correct me if I misunderstood your intent DW)
15051.jpg
15051.jpg (12.27 KiB) Viewed 1371 times


Also;
Rick posted a great tutorial about how to make a shoe fitter. That would give you an idea about what a shoe made on this last would look like and how it would fit.

Cheers,
-Nat

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1732 Post by dw » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:18 am

Nat,

Yes. A shoe last needs to have a cupping to hold the foot in place, a boot last needs to be a little straighter to allow the foot to slide in.

I don't know what this last is made for, but I wouldn't use it for shoes or boots, either one...without a lot of considered and thoughtful modification.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1733 Post by delormea » Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:52 pm

Very very interesting! So many different aspects to take in to account, and I think I just have to accept that no matter how much I research and fiddle with it and make adjustments, it will simply be wrong. I figure with enough reading and questions I can figure out how to trim the insole around the heel to work. It's good to know that there's leeway around the heel feather line, and I can learn to trim it in some sort of way that will work. But then the heel doesn't cup at the top like DW mentioned. Since I haven't specifically fit this shoe/last to a foot, I may just go ahead and try lasting on this, more as a practice of technique (difficult though it may be) rather than with the intent of making a fitting shoe. I hadn't noticed that the heel was quite odd until after I had made an upper, so I'd like to at least see how the upper lasts and give it a whirl. Hate to waste it.
Then, I will find myself a proper last and start it all over again. Except with a little more experience under my belt. In the future I'll pull these lasts out again and see how I can utilize it then.
Thank you all for the information. It's been jotted down in my notebook and I'll certainly be coming back to it.
Aaron Delorme

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1734 Post by kemosabi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:29 pm

You gotta start somewhere. Have at it!
If it doesn't come out right, then you've probably learned something along the way.

It gets easier, but you've got to earn it... especially at first.

Hang in there and try to feel like this: Image Even if sometimes it feels more like this! Image

-Nat

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1735 Post by farmerfalconer » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:58 pm

Hello,
THis is my first time on this forum so bear with me. I am one of the shoemakers apprentices at Old Salem, NC. All of the lasts there are scaled up on a last lathe from an circa late 1700s moravian childs last original. as of such, the heel is much fatter and not great for adult feet. Though they still make good shoes on them they arent perfect. We are thinking of making some new ones the old way with a gullotine blade (sometimes called a clog sole knife). Also I would be making my own last because I am a size 17 EEEEEE. Has anyone ever done that or have some vids of it being done? Of course the lasts would be straight.

Thanks a lot,
Cody H.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1736 Post by 1947redhed » Fri Nov 30, 2012 1:10 am

There's also the possibility that Aaron's "last" is not a shoe last but a "tree" used in retail display, which would explain the back heel profile and different cone/hinge assembly. The fact that it has no tack marks on the bottom is another clue it was never intended to be used for construction.
Georgene

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1737 Post by elfn » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:30 am

It's also possible it might not have nail holes because it was designed for a different type of construction, with a single piece or sewed leather wrapping around the bottom and closed at the top.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1738 Post by dearbone » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:02 am

Not only the back profile but the profile of the forepart and the instep also resembles most of my shoe trees.

Nasser

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1739 Post by dw » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:55 am

The thing that bothers me about the "tree" explanation is that trees don't generally have a socket in the comb and generally do have a knob or a strap or some sort of handle to facilitate removing them.

And if they have a spring (?) loaded hinge...as they appear to have...they'd be near impossible for the average wearer to remove.

(My go-to shoe lasts have a similar hinge as illustrated above.)

If a company were going to go to the trouble to make a discreet "display" tree, why not make them in the form of a usable shoe tree? And/or why not simply display the shoe with the last in it?

It's a mystery...

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1740 Post by dearbone » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:32 am

DW,

I think it all depends if the spring/hinge is a soft one that can be pushed by hand or a hard one that needs a last stand to break it.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1741 Post by kemosabi » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:37 am

I've ordered "used" lasts that showed up with no holes in them.

They had never been used...

(Message edited by Kemosabi on November 30, 2012)

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1742 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:12 am

Aaron

Contact United Last In Montreal.

Regards
Brendan

delormea

Re: One "Last" Question

#1743 Post by delormea » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:02 am

The hinge isnt spring loaded. It's not hard to break and slides freely by hand. That said, a knob could easily have fit in the socket on the island if it were a tree. Over the years the knobs could have just been removed and discarded for whatever reason. I'll go ahead and see if I can contact United Last and figure it out. Interesting "lasts" these ones.

United Last Co. has over the years been change to Formes United Inc. When searching, they come up with a phone number and location listed under Jones and Vining's Quebec location.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1744 Post by danfreeman » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:59 pm

I think it's pretty clear that you have a bicycle shoe last here, and like almost all the lasts we see, it was designed for a specific style footwear, leather, soling, etc. While we often modify lasts for purpose, there is so vast a difference between a bike-riding shoe and a shoe for walking (consider the motions that the foot goes through in these activities) that I would not try to use it.

delormea

Re: One "Last" Question

#1745 Post by delormea » Fri Nov 30, 2012 7:11 pm

I've realized that now, yes. At least it's certainly not a walking/dress shoe last. So I'll be using it for lasting practice until I get my hands on a proper last. Jones and Vining is looking in to the model number on it to help my curiosity to know for sure.

mitchel

Re: One "Last" Question

#1746 Post by mitchel » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:13 pm

How many times can a last be modified before it is no longer usable?

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1747 Post by romango » Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:13 pm

Maybe 10 to 15 times. Depends on your nailing habits. Of course, you can still probably recover it by adding some filler in the holes or something.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1748 Post by dw » Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:41 am

Not just your nailing habits but the nails themselves.

And the material the last is made of.

I use 5/8" blued toplift nails (16 or 18 gauge) to secure build-ups on plastic lasts. Some of those lasts have been used/modified 30 times...and still going strong.

When lasting, I use 3-5 ounce lasting tacks whenever I can. Even though the plastic lasts are somewhat "self-healing", tacks are less damaging than what people are substituting for good lasting brads these days...ie. 12 gauge finishing nails.Image

When I do use a lasting brad I use stainless steel and 14 gauge.

Wooden lasts are another ball game.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1749 Post by mitchel » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:39 pm

I recently acquired a pair of J V 5120wood lasts.

They are listed as a half size small, so I need to take some measurements, then determine what to add and where.

I am also thinking about adding some volume to the toe ares, I am looking for a more casual looking shoe.

I have spent the past couple of days reading the archives, there is so much to read my head is spinning.

mcneffad

Re: One "Last" Question

#1750 Post by mcneffad » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:04 pm

So, in George Koleff's book "Last Designing & Making Manual" he describes a lot in detail - but one piece I can't seem to find is the last height. In the book he lists 73cm as the height of the last for his example - but I can't determine if that is a standard height - or if there is another measurement I am supposed to be taking/making.

Still brand new to last making (still a novice to the shoemaking craft) - so any help would be much appreciated - Thanks!

-Ammon

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