Vertical fasteners

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Vertical fasteners

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 5:17 pm

Over 100 messages posted prior to 25 February 2002 have been moved to the first Crispin Colloquy CD Archive. Those interested in obtaining a copy of this CD need to contact admin@thehcc.org

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#2 Post by dmcharg » Fri Aug 23, 2002 5:11 pm

Al,
Beeswax on the pegging awl doesn't compromise the pegs bite on the leather?
Inquiring minds and all that!
Cheers Duncan

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#3 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Sat Aug 24, 2002 4:06 am

Duncan,

Absolutely not. The pegging awl blade is generally about half the size of the peg in cross section anyway, so you're really driving a fat peg into a skinny hole. And, if you're using an oval or round blade, you have the added purchase of "a square peg in a round hole", in other words as tight as you'd ever want. Several 19th c. shoe catalogues listed "waxed pegs" for sale too, though I was never sure if this was to lubricate them, seal the wood, or what. I have heard of dipping the peg in paste, too, before driving it in, but I've never had the need.

If you don't lubricate the pegging awl, it can be rough extracting it from, say, the heel, where you might drive it in up to the ferrule. A waxed pegging blade, on the other hand, will easily pop right out with just a light twist and tug. Otherwise you are effectively trying to yank a "nail" out of a stack of dry leather each time. Try it and compare the difference is all I can say. If you have problems with your pegs shrinking and backing out in wear, which happens in dry desert climates, the holes might have been too big to begin with, or it's just an unsuitable construction method for your region.

I think it's Brinkerhoff's book [DW?] that discusses the loose peg-problem in the desert SW USA in the 1870s and 80s, which was what led the military to experiment with standard screw-wire, rivets, and "metaline" thread.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#4 Post by dw » Sat Aug 24, 2002 6:01 am

Duncan, Al, all...

Let's move the pegging discussion over here, shall we?

Yes, you're spot on regarding Brinkerhof. But I live in a fairly dry climate...and certainly the Texas folks live in a dry climate...and pegs are almost a signature technique for western boots. On occasion, I've seen the odd peg stand proud after I've finished stacking heels but I've never had any problem with pegs coming out or widespread looseness. Heck, my personal boots are full pegged and no problem. So I'm not sure whether the problems Brinkerhof was describing weren't due more to sloppy workmanship (the boots he's talking about were almost all Civil War surplus made by commercial contractors...and in a bit of a frenzy for the contract and the money) than the use of pegs themselves. I have a bit less faith in pegging machines than in hand pegging, as well.

"Dry leather" ??? Did I read that right? Are you pegging into dry leather? If so, why?

I was taught to peg into "tempered" leather---not dry but not excessively wet, either. Like you, Al, I dip my pegging awl in beeswax regularly. If you try to peg with a bare awl in damp leather the metal will lock-up in the leather and you'll play hell getting it out. As it is, I use a "rubber baby buggy bumper" pad to help bounce the awl out. But no twist. I was taught to twist, but I've found that it shortens the life of the awl considerably...and good pegging awls are too dear.

If you peg into dry leather, I think the chances of the pegs coming loose are increased. If you peg into too wet leather I think the chances of the pegs coming loose are equally good. But get the temper just right, and the leather expands around the blade of the awl relatively easily (you're not tearing or breaking leather fibers, in other words) and then, as a last step, deliberately hammering the leather around the fully driven pegs will re-compress and tighten the leather around the peg. I think that, along with the fact that we are driving a relatively large diameter peg into a small hole, is one of the keys to tight pegs.

BTW, I've tried dipping pegs in paste and it's a a big messy pain. Can't say the results were any better, either.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#5 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Sat Aug 24, 2002 2:57 pm

DW,

I know out West wooden pegs are the thing. Maybe the 19th c. problem was rotten old pegged boots shipped out from a Philadelphia warehouse--the pegs shrank in the SW heat? Maybe boots made out East had a certain humidity in the pegs, which simply shrank out there? On the other hand, I wonder if daily wear in the desert, under military conditions at frontier outposts, rather than the air-conditioned environment most western boot live in today, had an effect?

> "Dry leather" ??? Did I read that right? Are you pegging
> into dry leather? If so, why?

I get a neater looking job that way, the hammer at least leaves fewer dents when a peg falls over and gets smacked sideways into the surface Image

Seriously though, I guess my heel lifts are a tad damp still when I peg them. I've taken to using the Hirshkelber [sp?] German paste, and I dip my lifts momentarily in water, then smear with paste. Then I settle them down with the hammer, and [temporary] heel nails to hold while I peg. But, if I set on a heel lift last thing yesterday, it's bone dry when I go to peg it today.

We don't have rubber yet [in 1774], nor "baby buggies", but I use washer-like plugs of sole leather to shorten the effective length of the pegging blade--if it isn't any longer than the pegs, there's far less chance of tearing up the bottom of the last, or worse, pegging too deep.

I've never broken an awl twisting-out. Maybe a half turn is all, and it pops right out.

I'm not convinced that pegging into wet leather is a good idea ever. Ever had a brand new wooden bucket? Before you ever put water in it the staves and hoops are nice and tight. But fill it up once, so the wood swells, and you have to keep it full of water from there on, because otherwise, if it dries out, the wood shrinks down smaller than it was new, the hoops fall off, and the bucket is no more.

Like you, I think the "secret" to solid pegging is getting a big enough peg into a small enough hole to begin with. I've seen some guys use an awl that's nearly as big as the peg, so you could almost push the pegs in with your thumb. Of course I've seen guys use big fat ol' pegging awl blades to pierce holes for stitching too Image

Mike Strong

Re: Vertical fasteners

#6 Post by Mike Strong » Sat Aug 24, 2002 7:09 pm

Hi All,

I would like to get some input from some of the boot builders who use nails in the heel area of their boots. Being from DW's school (nails are a "no no&#34Imagethis is a new thing for me. Do you nail the heel area into place when lasting the boot or do you last the boot then pull the nails and then relast the area? Thanks

Mike-HCC

Tex Robin

Re: Vertical fasteners

#7 Post by Tex Robin » Sun Aug 25, 2002 12:28 pm

Mike,
Even when I was working for my Father in the 60s I learned to use both the lasts that had metal plates and the ones that didn't have them. Most of the better shaped lasts (Krentler) 593Ns had the plates. The plates are inlayed, so taking them off changes the arch and heel height. So we just left them alone and learned to use them. I personally believe that a boot made with the plate and nails is a stonger constructed boot than one that is just pegged. If I were ordering lasts today, I would order them with heel plates.

To use the lasts with the heel plates you simply use a 2 1/2 or 3 oz lasting tack to last the counters in. The tacks will brad or turn back when they hit the plate. You leave the tacks there as part of the construction of the boot. Then when you attach your sole you use 5/8 clinch nails to secure the heel to the boot and you also leave these tacks in the boot as part of the construction. You can suit yourself with the spacing but I usually space them about 3/8 to 1/2 inch apart.
Where some confusion come in is in the attaching of the heel stacks. I don't drive the nails for attaching the heels stacks all the way through the innersole. This is not needed. The natural moisture in the leather will hold the tacks and nails in the leather without them being clinched.

When you remove the last you should only see a faint spot where the nails have clinched. If they are protuding in the heel of the boot, you have used tacks that are too long. Also when you pull the last and remove the protruding pegs, you need to add a heel pad. I prefer a pad made from a good piece of calf insted of using lining skin. a good heel pad will sometimes last the life of the boot. This should explain in detail the steps I take when I use a plated last....TR

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#8 Post by dw » Sun Aug 25, 2002 2:15 pm

Mike, Tex,

Mike Ives, my teacher, did it very similarly to Tex. Especially in the way he attached the heel stack. Mike always whipped in the shank and heel, thus eliminating the need for tacks. And the outsole was put on with pegs--as a continuation of the pegging that is done in the shank. Mike built up the heel base one layer at a time, as I do, but only when the base was at full height did he level it and then nail it. Like Tex, he nailed the whole stack at once but used a nail that did not penetrate through to the insole. Actually, he used carpenter's finish nails and relied upon the residual moisture in the leather to cause them to rust. The rust, in turn, locked the nail in permanently.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#9 Post by dw » Sun Aug 25, 2002 2:28 pm

Al,

Re: the "rubber baby buggy bumper" pad...it partially serves the same purpose as your leather washer, limiting the depth to which the awl can be driven. But it also serves as a recoil pad. Drive the awl with a sharp blow of the hammer and as it is bottoming out, squeeze with the lower part of the hand that is holding the awl haft...the awl will pop right out of the leather.

Re: twisting and breakage...do you use round awls? I use oval awls with a square shoulder and I find that twisting the awl subjects it to torsional stresses that eventually cause it to break. I would guess that the further out of round your awl is, the more severe these stresses will be. I would also guess that I do considerably more pegging in a month than you do...just a guess...so what seems to me like a shortened life for a pegging awl may seem almost tediously long to you. Image

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fjones

Re: Vertical fasteners

#10 Post by fjones » Sun Aug 25, 2002 2:40 pm

Mike

I would just like to add my support to the comments from Tex above.

The approach he describes regarding the use of tacks and nails in the seat area are exactly the methodology used by most classic men’s shoe manufacturers such as Allen Edmonds, and the original Florsheim. Also in England we have the likes of Church, Grenson, Joseph Cheney, Barkers, Crockett & Jones, etc. Although many of these companies have modern lasting machinery using hot melt lasting adhesive for the forepart, the accepted standard for the seat area is to still use lasting tacks and nails exactly as Tex describes.

Although these companies use genuine layered (made from lifts) heel blocks on their higher grade footwear, they are attached by machine. But again as quoted above, the length of the heel attaching nails is carefully selected to penetrate right through the sole layer but not to go through the insole.

With modern adhesives it is perfectly possible to last the whole upper without tacks, even with quite heavy footwear. However, tack lasting and a nailed seat is still considered as important, especially where a pre-molded fibreboard (or leatherboard) stiffener is used. The concern is to consolidate the heel area of the shoe really soundly.

Frank Jones
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Tex Robin

Re: Vertical fasteners

#11 Post by Tex Robin » Sun Aug 25, 2002 6:53 pm

DW,

As you probably already know, I use my broken straight needles for pegging awls. I have to drill out the awl haft with a 1/8 drill to accomodate the base of the needle. I can use one for a year or so or I can break one in a week. They usually start bending before they break and a bent one will break every time you try to drive it into a broken peg. So to do this I have a regular pegging awl I use to chase the broken pegs. They are not as brittle as the needles. I also use a rubber bumper on my awl to bounce it out.....TR

Anonymous

Re: Vertical fasteners

#12 Post by Anonymous » Sun Aug 25, 2002 7:29 pm

Tex

I'm following the pegging thread with great interest - just beginning to fool around with pegs myself, hoping to be able to re-sole Civil War booties. Please tell me about "driving (the awl) into a broken peg". I was coming to the disheartening conclusion that getting a broken peg out was very messy or impossible and, needless to say, I'm breaking more than a few in my experiments. How DOES one get out a peg that's misplaced or broken?

Another enquiring mind,
Peter Monahan

Tex Robin

Re: Vertical fasteners

#13 Post by Tex Robin » Sun Aug 25, 2002 9:09 pm

Peter,

You might be able to remove a peg if broken but I have never seen the need. I just make another hole right in the middle of the broken peg and drive another one home...TR

Tex Robin

Re: Vertical fasteners

#14 Post by Tex Robin » Mon Aug 26, 2002 5:12 pm

DW,
When I use a last that has no plate on the heel, I nail the hail out of the counter with large lasting tacks. Then when dry, I pull the tacks and use short pegs in the tack holes(this is why I was looking for the 4/8 pegs)I never sew or whip in the counter. Just the shank....TR

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#15 Post by dw » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:06 pm

Frank,

Aren't there machines that spit out lasting tacks? I have several boxes of USM Machine tacks that are essentially two ounce lasting tack except they are much more regular in shape--being consistently square in cross section rather than that irregular wedge shape of hand tacks. I know heels seat lasters probably use this style of tack but there must be a machine out there that will spit them out rapid fire. Sort of a Auto-Soler variation. Might be a way for the more adventurous among us to speed up production....

I once saw a video (I think) of a maker slapping an unshaped, ill fitting, heel block on the bottom of a boot...without any recourse to cement...firing up one of those large Auto-Solers and within literally seconds he had the heel stack nailed into place with absolutely no gaps. Amazing!

'Course the first time the customer went near an auto wrecking yard he ended up hanging upside down from the magnet!

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#16 Post by dw » Mon Aug 26, 2002 7:08 pm

Tex,

None of my lasts have heel plates. I use a long--inch and a quarter--brad (borrowed from German bootmaking ) or a five ounce lasting tack to last in the counter. When it has set, I peel back the counter cover and skive the counter where it turns over the insole then I slop in some all purpose and re-last the counter cover...wiping it with a half inch strip of latigo as I go.

I've taken apart old boots (from Texas makers) that were pegged with tiny short pegs throughout the shank and heel. But I was amazed at the smallness of the pegs used on the
outsole as well. I have some of these very small diameter pegs but have never found a pegging awl small enough to make good use of them.

A good friend of mine haunts antique shops and often runs across quantities of vintage pegs. Sometimes even small barrels of them. I wonder if you looked around your area if you'd find pegs like that?

BTW, I do exactly the same as you do with broken pegs. I try to drive my awl right down the center of the broken peg...which leaves a bit of wood all around the margins of the hole. With a little care, you can pick out a peg that is somewhat slimmer than average to replace the broken one and the combination of the two is almost indistinguishable from the unbroken pegs.

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Tex Robin

Re: Vertical fasteners

#17 Post by Tex Robin » Mon Aug 26, 2002 8:25 pm

DW,
I don't know what you are talking about with the small pegs. I have never seen any small pegs used in Texas. I was not talking about small diameter pegs. I was talking about shorter pegs same diameter as the rest. If you drive a 5/8 peg throught a counter you have a stuck last. 4/8 is perfect to go through but not stick the last...TR

Mike Strong

Re: Vertical fasteners

#18 Post by Mike Strong » Mon Aug 26, 2002 10:25 pm

TEX, DW, and Frank

Thanks for the information I asked for. I used it today and it worked great. I just need to make sure that my counter are skived a little better. I was trying to do the heel area as if there was no metal plate. It just didn't seem right. When I'm making a cowboy boots I use a plain bottom last and sew the heel area and peg everything together. Tex I know you said nails make things stronger but I haven't seen any of my boots come a part with the pegs in them. I'll have to wait to see about the duty boot to see how they hold together.

Now about this inseaming thing. DW when did you start pre punching holes? If I remember right we did it blind when I was at school. I've never pre pumched holes I'm I missing something here? Ok I'm done for a while. Let's keep the discussing going I'm learning a lot.[big grin]

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#19 Post by dw » Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:29 am

Tex,

Well, the boots I am referring to were pretty old...maybe more your father's time. But I wasn't suggesting that you use the small diameter pegs. I was simply commenting on the way you sometimes peg around the heel instead of tacking and what I had seen in that regard.

As for where you would get 4/8 pegs...if I were a betting man, I'd bet Blau Ring is still making them. I don't know how long ago you last ordered, but they changed their way of sizing, and designating sizes, a little while ago. You might try ordering the smallest size they make now (and you might have to guess because their current sizing numbers make no sense to me) and see if that won't work for you.

Or...you could try hitting the antiques stores...hey, it's worth a shot, isn't it? You might even get lucky and hit on some pure hard maple pegs.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#20 Post by dw » Tue Aug 27, 2002 6:30 am

Tex,

PS...I can't remember the guy's name but he made boots in Childers, Texas.

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terry young

Re: Vertical fasteners

#21 Post by terry young » Tue Aug 27, 2002 10:38 am

tex dw the man was teddy rushingin childress texas i bought his shop after he passed away,their was a burlap bag full of the smaller diameter pegs they were molded badly so i threw them away,havent seen any since then.teddy made boots in the 20's till the mid50's.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#22 Post by dw » Tue Aug 27, 2002 11:08 am

Terry,

Teddy sounds right but the last name, Rushing, doesn't ring a bell...but at my age I'm lucky I remembered Childress.

Thanks for the info

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tmattimore

Re: Vertical fasteners

#23 Post by tmattimore » Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:00 pm

There is apparently one distributor for blau ring in the U.S.. I have yet to get a hold of him and none of the finders will give me his number. If any one knows it I would appreciate the help. D.W. I have been told that their number system is the gauge of the peg followed by the length. I discovered back up for this on the pegs for my pegging machine which uses 4/12 and 4/14 4mm/12mm etc. I wish to talk to the distributor to obtain 16mm long for heavy work.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#24 Post by jake » Tue Aug 27, 2002 7:11 pm

Tex,

I'm at the house right now on a different computer, but I did some research on this a few years back on suppliers. Seems like there's a supplier by the name of Wiener & Sons in North Carolina....help me out here D.W. Like I said, I'm not at my shop computer at the moment.

I would bet that Arensberg would have them, or could get them for you.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Vertical fasteners

#25 Post by dw » Tue Aug 27, 2002 8:04 pm

Jake, Tom,

When I used to buy Blau Rings they had a designation much like you describe, Tom...7/9...6/11...etc. But the 7/9's were the larger pegs and the longer ones, so that designation is probably not the same as you are describing.

Arensberg does carry Blau Rings. He orders direct from Goetz. Wiener and Sons??...I've never heard of them. Sorry, Jake. I wonder if there's a central distributor of Blau Ring pegs in the states though? If so, I don't know who it is. If you get a Goetz catalog from Arensberg, you might be able to call their stateside rep (Used to be Ralph Burkhardt, but now? anyway, they're listed in the catalog, with mugshots and all)...when he's actually in the States...and ask him.

I maybe have a lifetime supply of pegs but I sure hate to think that pegs are gonna get hard to find now. I mean I'll go to extremes to maintain the quality of my boots but I'm dern sure not gonna whittle the 200-300 pegs needed for each pair. (10 to the inch, twelve inches from welt to welt, and some for heel stacks).

Image

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