One "Last" Question

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romango
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1751 Post by romango » Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:38 pm

Ammon,

If the last fits all your measurements... short heel, ball girth, instep, waist, any height above that is basically optional.

That is not to say there are not any conventions or standards but they may have more to do with stuff like being able to attach to machinery or a last stand of some sort.

Or, the height might go all the way to the knee for riding boots, for example.

mcneffad

Re: One "Last" Question

#1752 Post by mcneffad » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Thanks Rick,

That makes a lot of sense. I also did a little more looking and found that there was a "Back Height of the Last" formula that Mr. Koleff's had at the beginning of the book (I just figured it would be included in the section on the profile of the last).

Apparently he says it is the metric last size (calculated by the length of the last) then you double that and then add 20cm.

But understanding that the varying heights of the shoe/boot are more dependent on the actual type of footwear makes a lot of sense.

By the way, I have really enjoyed the footwear you have showcased in the gallery.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1753 Post by lancepryor » Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:19 am

Ammon:

Welcome to the HCC.

At the end of the day, the last height doesn't really matter, as long as it is high enough for the shoe you're going to build on it.

That being said, a very high last may make it difficult to get the comb thin enough to get a tight-fitting topline on your shoe.

FWIW, if you want to learn shoemaking, I would recommend finding a pair of lasts in your size, then modifying them as necessary, rather than trying to add lastmaking to the set of skills you are trying to master. Lastmaking is almost always a separate trade/skill from the actual shoemaking. In my experience, you will invest alot of time trying to master the Koleff approach, time that might be better spent on actual shoemaking. I believe Dick Anderson sells individual pairs of lasts, or you could try to find some on e-bay or elsewhere.

Lance

mcneffad

Re: One "Last" Question

#1754 Post by mcneffad » Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:41 pm

Hey Lance,

Also a big fan of your work.

I'm kind of a little funny, in that it was the challenge of shoemaking that drove me to want to try - and then the never-ending pursuit of perfection that drives me to always want to improve. I agree that I should stick with more of the shoe versus last aspect - but my hope is that a greater understanding of the how's and why's of a last will better help me in my creation of shoes.

My first attempt at shoemaking was using an ebay purchased pair of lasts with a square toe. I noticed that the angles (and somewhat the size) of the square toes (which someone else had modified) were not as symmetrical as they should have been. Not knowing how to modify (or not having confidence in my ability to do so) I found some good lasts at shoedo.com for myself and my wife, as a starting point. But ever learning, I found it cumbersome to try and modify a last when I didn't understand the reasons behind some of the measurements (including the height of the last). This was the reason I got the Koleff Manual.

I figured it would be better to at least go through the experience of designing (even for modifying) to better avoid some mistakes in the future.

Though truly you are correct in that I would much rather spend my efforts towards a nice finished pair of shoes than half learning two skills and getting frustrated.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1755 Post by lancepryor » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:06 am

Ammon:

Thanks.

In addition to Koleff, if you have not done so you should download and read the volumes of Golding available via the HCC library (via the 'Return to HCC Homepage' link to the left). Volumes I and IV both have relevance to lastmaking and last modification.

The thing I find sort of weird about Koleff is that his approach to using the specific measurements and tracings from a foot (IIRC) doesn't use those things directly, but rather uses them as an input to the design of the last (both bottom and overall margins). Whereas, at least for bespoke lastmaking I've seen, the actual tracing of the foot is the key driver of the shape and margin of the last (and for some, the foot print drives the shape and size of the bottom of the last).

You might want to read the discussion following here:
http://www.thehcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=29556#p29556

for some other thoughts about lastmaking.

Lance

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1756 Post by Shoedabbler » Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:07 am

I want to make a last, starting from a casting of my foot. I'll 3D scan it then modify the shape in 3D Studio to make a last. I'll then order it from a CNC shop in beech. And I'll let it take some iterations to get it right. (My wood working skills are nonexistent, my 3D skills are ok.)

Now my question: should I start from a casting of my foot while standing on it, so that I am pressing it down with my weight, so that it becomes flatter and wider? Or should I start from a casting of the foot dangling in the air with no weight on it? Or something in between?

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Re: One

#1757 Post by HNW » Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:24 pm

lancepryor wrote:Courtesy of Sri, I have bottom papers for the Munson last in sizes 7.5, 8.0, and 8.5 in a couple of different widths.

I have scanned them into a PDF format. If anyone is interested in receiving copies, shoot me an e-mail and I will send you the file of PDF's. At least on my HP printer, if I set the print to have no border, it prints out in the exact size as the original. The scans have a scale drawn on to allow comparison of the print to the originals.

Here is a jpeg of what the scans look like:
14793.jpg


Lance
I hope that this isn't considered inappropriate, but may I ask for copy if you still have them available?
Many thanks indeed.
Howard

edit : on consideration, 8.5 may be a fraction too small for my purpose as I suspect I may be looking at a 9 or 9.5 - that being said I wonder whether anyone might be able to offer the last bottom length should they have it to hand?
Again, many thanks.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1758 Post by HNW » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:11 am

..as a follow up to my earlier post, and to put this to the wider audience, I am hoping to order a pair of Munson lasts from J&V simply for personal use in having a go at building up. That being said, I would like to order a last that may at some point in the future be put to use in the build of a shoe to wear.

With this in mind, I wonder whether I could ask advice over how I would most appropriately make size choice for the last?
I am familiar with taking measurement - ball, waist, instep, short heel, width and length - but I wonder how much allowance or tolerance is applicable to the size of the last? As a very rough example for instance, say that my foot measures 270cm in length - I would presume then that I am looking at a last 1.8cm longer, going by the last bottom length?

Again, my apologies for barging straight in with a barrage of questions. I am truly fascinated by the skill and profession, and although not practising, find the learning as equally interesting.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1759 Post by dw » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:48 am

No need to apologize. It's not the questions that are the problem, it's the answers--everyone has their own take on this.

I was taught that three full sizes was necessary clearance beyond the toe of the foot for a medium round toed last. I define medium round as describing an arc roughly one inch +/- in diameter (2.5cm). Since a "size" is defined as one third of an inch, three full sizes would be one inch.

On any toe shape wider than 'medium round' the clearance could be reduced but never less than two full sizes.

On narrow toes the last must be longer by necessity--to allow the foot to spread to its natural configuration.

Sabbage's Sectionizer (my bible) says that on a medium round toed last, clearance should be one-eleventh of the length of the foot...or 2.45cm in your case.

Current fashion is enthralled with extended toes and three full sizes or even more is de rigueur on fashion forward mens shoes.

If you are ordering from J&V, your best bet is to order bottom papers before ordering any last. This will allow you to compare the dimensions of the last with the dimensions of the foot. Ordering several sizes that "bracket" your assumed foot size will allow you to narrow it down considerably without the initial cost of ordering several sizes of actual lasts.

You might also read the posts here: viewtopic.php?p=39652#p39652
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1760 Post by lancepryor » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:42 am

Howard:

To build on what DW wrote, first of all the most important parameter and the best place to start is the heel to ball length. The excess in front of your toes can vary quite significantly and, as long as the toes aren't cramped, seems less important. Of course, the overall length is easier and faster to measure, so that is likely why measuring in shoe stores has devolved to that solution. For heel to ball length, a weight-on measurement or tracing is probably most appropriate, whereas for circumferences (jt, waist, instep, short heel, etc) a weight off measure is often used, though this varies by maker. When making a bespoke last, creating the correct heel to ball distance is (at least in my exposure to the process) the first step because of its importance to fit.

Also, don't forget to wear the appropriate type of sock (i.e. what you would wear with the finished shoe) when doing the measuring, tracing, etc.

Lance

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1761 Post by dw » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:55 am

I just have to jump back in here and say "Thank you, Lance!" :thumb:

I am in complete agreement--heel to ball is the most important measurement, bar none. I also measure H-B weight on and girths weight off.

I don't know why...don't have any excuse for...not addressing that issue in either or both of my most recent posts on the subject.
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1762 Post by HNW » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:37 am

Thank you both for taking the time to write.

Yes, I've read here in previous thread posts, and elsewhere, about the heel to ball - and as much as I can 'feel' the significance of it, I wonder how that measurement is taken and translated when analysing a last bottom (or perhas better, the actual last).

I think I need to refer back to the Golding and Thornton texts and spend some time reading!
Regarding the Sabbage's Sectionizer - am I right in thinking this is within Golding IV?

As ever, in appreciation of allowing me to loiter around in here..

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1763 Post by dw » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:58 am

HNW wrote: I think I need to refer back to the Golding and Thornton texts and spend some time reading!
Regarding the Sabbage's Sectionizer - am I right in thinking this is within Golding IV?
Also here:

viewtopic.php?p=3023#p3023
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1764 Post by lancepryor » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:38 pm

Howard:

There are a number of ways to arrive at the heel to ball measure. I will try to describe a couple.

First, you need to remember that you need to measure the heel to ball distance on for the last and for your foot. I know this may seem a stupid/self evident statement, but bear with me....

Let's talk about the last's heel to ball measure first. There are a couple of ways to measure this; they are similar but will give slightly different results. To measure the heel to ball length, you need to establish two points: the heel point and the ball point. Then, you need to measure the distance between them. (again, obvious, right?!)

Okay, so how do you establish the ball point? Basically, you draw a straight line from either: A. the inside feather line of the last at the inside heel to a point of tangency at the medial line of the last -- the point where the line is tangent and just touches the last is the ball point.; or B. draw a line parallel to the center line of the last and identify where this line is tangent to the medial line of the last, and that point is the ball point.

[You can also do effectively the same thing as A by putting the last or the bottom paper against a straight table edge, with the medial heel and the medial joint touching the table edge; where the table edge touched the medial joint is the ball point. Or the same as B by using the table edge but having the center line of the last paralled to the edge of the table.]


The locations established by the two approaches above will give slightly different ball locations, but they will generally be pretty close. You will want to use the same method for establishing the ball point on your foot (via tracing or inked impression) as you use for identifying the ball point on the last. Otherwise, you will be comparing numbers established by two different methods.

Okay, so you have your ball point established on the last (or bottom paper). Now, you need to establish the heel point. If you have the last, you can use something like a size stick to measure from the back of the last to the marked point on the medial joint.

However, if you just have the bottom paper, you don't actually know where the back of the last is, i.e. how much curvature there is in the back of the last. However, I think a standard number (at least for shoe lasts) can be assumed to be 5 mm, i.e. the back of the bottom paper is 5 mm in front of the absolute back point of the last. With these two points established, you can measure the distance from the back of the bottom paper to the medial ball point -- you want to do this measurement parallel to the center line of the last, not measuring at an angle from the heel point to the ball point.

Now, you need to do the same for your foot. You can use either a tracing or an imprint (in both cases, done with a sock on, and the weight on the foot). You want to use the same approach for identifying the ball point as you did for the last bottom paper -- i.e. identify the tangency point when a line is drawn from either the inside heel line or parallel to the center line. Then, if you are using a tracing, you can measure forward from the back of the foot (making sure to take into account the thickness of the pencil used for tracing!). If you are using an imprint, there is a complication: the back of the heel print may be more (or, rarely, less) than 5mm forward from the back of your foot (because your heel curve may differ from that of the last). So, when you do your imprint, also try to mark the back of your foot, either by including a tracing on the imprint or by using a straightedge across the back of the foot to mark it on the paper. Again, once you've identified the ball point and the heel point, you can measure the distance between the two, parallel to the center line of the last.

I hope that all makes sense.

Lance

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1765 Post by HNW » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:21 am

DW and Lance,

Thank you both for offering your continued expertise!

DW - I hadn't yet found that page, so that's received with thanks.
Lance - Really appreciated that you took the trouble to put that down.

I am just trying to visualise the method now to understand it ...
..actually better represented as a diagram. I've taken an outline of my right foot for visual reference. It's a very quick and rough mock up, please forgive me!
Image

So, using my foot tracing as example - am I on the right track in understanding the ball to heel measure as the line parallel to the centre line (in this case only roughly so!) along the medial edge only actually touching the medial ball point?

I realise this would be a rough measure, not taking into account the nuances of heel curvature, last heel base versus last bottom / tracing edge and indeed pencil thickness!

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1766 Post by lancepryor » Thu Aug 01, 2013 4:56 am

Howard:

Yes, that is correct, at least as I've seen it done. That method is consistent with what I described as approach A in my previous post.

Approach B would be to use your black line w/ arrows to define the tangency point and also for measuring the distance.

I've seen it done both ways, i.e. different lastmakers use different approaches. The main thing is to do it the same way for your foot and your last. Approach B will put the ball location a bit further away from the heel vs approach A.

Lance

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1767 Post by dw » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:23 am

Lance,

Nice work.

I find heel to ball, when I'm tracing the foot by placing an upright behind the foot. I try to keep the foot perpendicular to the upright. Then I can find the medial ball joint by feeling the foot. The center of the joint forms a ridge...which usually inclines at a slight heelward angle as it approached the ground. Emphasize "slight". I mark the tracing at the medial joint and I also mark the position of the upright on the tracing. [It's a little more complicated than this but that's the essence of it.]

With the addition of the upright we get as near to a perfectly accurate measurement as possible without using an xray or scanner.

In that regard it is perhaps worth considering, in my opinion, that when we start looking for the heel to ball, we don't want, and can't rely on, the padding of flesh that surrounds the joint--all too often unevenly. What we are looking for is the joint itself, the position/line along which the foot flexes. If we run our foot through a scanner/xray we may find that the spot we marked for the medial joint is significantly different from where the joint itself is actually flexing.

Using your hands and fingers to actually feel the ridge of cartilage that is the joint, is getting about as close as you can get without an xray, in my opinion, especially if you understand that the joint itself is not perpendicular to the ground.

The black line on the illustration is the way I do it but because we have a fairly accurate measurement I start at the medial joint--the mark I made on the tracing--and measure backwards toward the heel to establish the heel to ball measurement on the tracing (and forward from there to establish LOF). Where that rear end point is will not always be identical with the margins of the tracing of the foot (seldom, if the truth be known) or even the pedograph/footprint.

In the first instance, a tracing often incorporates half the thickness of a pencil (or whatever you're using to trace with) and in the second instance, where a foot prints can be very useful information but not entirely indicative of the actual mass/substance of the foot. Some people have very firm feet and will print small and some people have flaccid feet and the flesh will spread more and the print will be significantly wider than you might otherwise expect. Again the upright addresses that issue.

A foot length can be found by placing another upright at the toe of the foot. Again marking the position on the tracing. Basically this emulates, is near-as-nevermind identical to, the action of a shoemakers "stick." Which is why the LOF is often called the "stick."

And the LOF, taken this way, is the most accurate measurement/datum you will ever gather from a foot.
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1768 Post by HNW » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:06 am

I'm going to have to go away for a bit and digest this all, and put it into practice with hands on measurements, so please don't take any lack of response as my being rude! I'm really grateful that you both should have taken the time to impart some terrific information. Thanks both.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1769 Post by grenik » Tue Mar 25, 2014 4:31 am

I have been lurking in the forum for awhile and reading a lot as I prepare to enter this exciting craft. I am purchasing my first last.

I have Skyrme's Bespoke Shoemaking and a couple other resources.

When picking a last, when I am measuring the circumference at the ball and instep, are those measurements made with weight on the foot, or with weight off the foot? I have seen both, although Skyrme seems to be clear that the measurements are made when standing.

In the spirit of measure twice, cut once, I thought I would ask instead of guess.

Thank you.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1770 Post by dw » Tue Mar 25, 2014 5:41 am

My own theory is that "weight-on" produces too loose a fit.

Esp. when making pull-on boots (with no laces for adjustment) the margin for error with regard to fitting is slim to none. Almost every bootmaker I ever met who measured with weight-on ended up subtracting some arbitrary figure off the measurements. Luchesse even had a chart with the suggested take-off at each girth location.

The real problem with that, in my opinion, is that it forces us to make guesses about data that is already somewhat anomalous and hard to quantify. Making it even more indefinite and less certain.

No matter what method you use, however, the best advice I can give you is to learn to take the measurements correctly and then rely on them. Learn to work with them...as is. Don't add or subtract.

If you cannot rely on the figures you're getting when you wrap the tape measure around the foot, then you're lost. Period.
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1771 Post by lancepryor » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:08 am

I generally do it with the weight off, with the person seated, legs bent 90 degrees so the shin is perpendicular to the ground. I've also seen it done both weight on and weight off, then the average of the two used. Some makers have the customer cross his legs, and measure the foot off the ground.

For tracings, those are more commonly done weight on, though as always in this subject there are no absolutes.

Lance

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1772 Post by dw » Tue Mar 25, 2014 7:35 am

grenik,

BTW, welcome to The Crispin Colloquy!
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Re: One "Last" Question

#1773 Post by grenik » Tue Mar 25, 2014 10:42 am

Thank you for the info. The weight on measurements would have put me in a wide last that did not seem correct. I am ordering the one that is in line with weight off measurements. I can build up the last if needed once I get more experience.

Great forum and information. Thanks again.

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1774 Post by dub » Tue May 13, 2014 5:37 am

Hi!

If making flat soled shoes (flat like indoor loafers but in other styles), do I need any toe spring at all? How much?

I've become interested in shoe making because of the benefits I've had from "barefoot shoes" - light, flexible shoes with thin soles and no heel. I have several pairs that are ok, but would like to try my hand at making better fitting shoes, as well as being interested in the craft in general.

Toe spring seems to go against the idea of a barefoot shoe, preventing the free and natural movement of the toes. Still, I can't really imagine a full leather shoe without it. Wouldn't they turn into skis at the mere thought of rain or puddles?

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Re: One "Last" Question

#1775 Post by dw » Tue May 13, 2014 6:41 am

dub,

If you are making footwear with thin, very flexible outsoles, toe spring may not be an issue.

But, theoretically, the lower the heel the more toe spring is wanted. To understand this think of a wooden shoe. If it had no heel height and no toespring you would be effectively strapping your foot to a board. Real life wooden shoes always have toe spring carved into the wood.

The lower the heel the more the foot must bend to reach the point where the foot can push off. Less toe spring on a low heeled shoe means that the shoe must flex through a greater arc during gait. This affects the shoe as well as the foot, creating deeper creases in the forepart. And perhaps threatening the longevity of the shoe by creating conditions that are more conducive to cracking in the forepart.

Of course there is also an aesthetic balance...despite the wooden shoe example, toe spring on a heelless shoe looks strange. That said, any strangeness in appearance is mostly in the finished shoe when it is sitting on the shelf. When the foot enters the shoe and weight is put on the outsole, the shoe flattens and the toe spring disappears.

I run a half inch (+/-) toe spring on my 8/8" shoe lasts. That's perhaps a little more than what is currently popular esp. among high end European makers. I run a little more TS for my higher heeled (1-5/8") boots, despite there being more justification for less.
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