Outsoles

Share secrets, compare techniques, discuss the merits of materials--eg. veg vs. chrome--and above all, seek knowledge.
Post Reply
Message
Author
admin
Site Admin
Posts: 406
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 10:00 am
Full Name: Admin
Been Liked: 1 time

Outsoles

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 5:31 pm

Over 125 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

Admin--06 May 2002

Mike Strong

Re: Outsoles

#2 Post by Mike Strong » Tue Nov 05, 2002 9:24 am

Hi All,

I hope that I'm placing this question in the right place. If not DW please help and forgive me. The question is I'm building a lace roper for a customer. He's a rancher and a good friend. The question is should it be a full welt or a 3/4 welt? Or does in matter? I haven't done many roper types so I would like to hear some comments. Thanks for the help.

Mike

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#3 Post by dw » Wed Nov 06, 2002 7:21 am

Mike,

Can be either...or. I generally welt around the lateral side of the boot from the heel forward but end my welt just behind the ball on the medial side, which I peg as usual. [ I got the idea from an *old* high quality shoe I saw...can't remember the brand but they were almost bespoke in quality ]. Of course the current fad/tradition is to welt from heel to heel but I've seen custom-made boots with that heel height only welted ball to ball.

I think in this instance it's either consult your customer or do it the way you want.

Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

User avatar
jake
7
7
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Jake
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA

Re: Outsoles

#4 Post by jake » Wed Nov 06, 2002 9:18 am

Mike,

Some where in the back of my mind, I thought it depended on heel height. At what height dictated 3/4 or full welting, I can't recall. But basically what I remember, is that the full welt hindered the longivity of the boot on higher heeled footwear. Along this line, was the addition of pegging through the shank, which added longivity. It might have been Sam Lucchese's comments in his book, A Lifetime With Boots. I would be interested in hearing from Some more experience than I on the above comments.

I've got a reproduction of a 1938 Visalia Stock Saddle Company catalog. Footwear from Justin, Walker, Starnes, and English riding boots depict both examples of welting. But I would have to say, most are of full welting and 1 5/8" heels. But most examples do not show the medial side .......so D.W. may be welting like they did "way back then".

Tex Robin

Re: Outsoles

#5 Post by Tex Robin » Wed Nov 06, 2002 9:28 am

Mike, DW,

I may differ in my opinion and method of making the low arch ropers or shoes in that I only inseam from ball to ball. The 3/4 welt is in my opinion a factory procedure that is easily done with an inseam machine but unnecessary with a pegged shank. All of my boots and shoes are pegged shanks. I have done the 3/4 welts and even done full welts, but no more.

Most customers do not question a maker's methods. They are in your shop because of your reputaion of building rugged footwear. If a customer came to me and told me how I should make his boots, I would tell him to make them himself! Image And I would be glad to enroll him in one of my classes! Image......TR

User avatar
gcunning
4
4
Posts: 156
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Gary
Location: Wichita Falls, TX, USA

Re: Outsoles

#6 Post by gcunning » Thu Nov 07, 2002 6:32 am

Mike
I have now torn apart several pair of Justin ropers. (I know, I know, guru's I'm not going to learn much from tearing down factory boots) I have noticed that they are all full welted. I don't know why but all were full welted. My guess and just a guess is that since the shank is not pegged that they are cheaper to make. Now you have me wondering does it have to be pegged due to the low heel?? I am foxing a 2nd pair (first pair was a disaster) and I will peg the shanks just like I was taught. I'm curious why a rancher wants a lace up roper? Does he walk a lot and not ride much?

rileycraig
2
2
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Riley G.

Re: Outsoles

#7 Post by rileycraig » Thu Nov 07, 2002 7:17 am

Gary, Mike,

Okay guys....straighten me out here...if a 3/4 welt is what we use on cowboy boots, and a full welt runs from (aproximately) the start of the heel plate....what is it called when the welt runs all the way around the boot?

Mike, I want to thank you again for all the help you've been with the lace up boots, and the photos you sent along with the instructions were a big help.

Good Bootmaking,

Riley

Mike Strong

Re: Outsoles

#8 Post by Mike Strong » Thu Nov 07, 2002 8:59 am

Gary and All

Thanks for the in put on welting the ropers. I wanted these boots to be done with the look of real quailty and tradition. I think boots look better with a 3/4 welt in the western ends of things. I do all the duty type boots I'm building with a full welt and rubber sole.

Gary my customer goes to church just about every Sunday and was wanting a boot which would go good in church. I know he rides and works his cattle but he does it in Justin boots.

At one time I remember that I worked on a pair of Lucchese ropers which were 3/4 welt and shank area nailed or peg. They looked really good.

Again to all thanks for the help.

Mike

User avatar
jake
7
7
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Jake
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA

Re: Outsoles

#9 Post by jake » Tue Nov 12, 2002 4:14 am

Mike,

Well, I guess I haven't killed "all" my brain cells yet. The information I was talking about was indeed in Sam Lucchese's book, A Lifetime With Boots. I'll try to be brief and because of a respect for copyright protection, I'll have to paraphase.

Most "older" bootmakers I know think Cosimo Lucchese might have been the best bootmaker who ever lived. I'm not going down that trail, but Mike here is what he thought before he died.

A pegged shank is better than a welted shank. That the point at which the welt stops is very critical. The boot's ability to stay together for many years depends on the strength of the shank.

Now, I don't know if we can conclude that if we welt and peg the shank, that it's weaker just because it's welted. But I do know that in this very same book, it shows pictures of full welted boots. But I betch ya my last biscuit they're also pegged through the shank. One final thought on the pictures, they may not have been made while Cosimo was living. Sam took over Lucchese's upon his father's death.

Just thought you might want to know.

Mike Strong

Re: Outsoles

#10 Post by Mike Strong » Tue Nov 12, 2002 8:59 am

Jake,

Thanks for the follow up. I'm going to make the roper with a 3/4 welt and peg the shank. I think the look will be great when I get them done I'll do some pictures and post them.

I guess this is one area that we'll just have to find by doing and track our customer to see how things turn out. One of the things that I'm looking for is a look that fits me. You know DW , Tex and others all have their own style or look. It would be nice to have one too.

Thanks,

Mike

User avatar
jake
7
7
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Jake
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA

Re: Outsoles

#11 Post by jake » Tue Nov 12, 2002 9:12 am

Mike,

You're Welcome! Looking forward to seeing the end result.
I guess this is one area that we'll just have to find by doing and track our customer to see how things turn out.


I hear ya! And I'm doing the same thing too. I have a notebook to make sure I keep things straight. In the example above with Cosimo Lucchese, it took him 5 years with several customers to reap the end results.

Developing your own style is always a good idea, and self rewarding too. It also separates yourself from the rest of the pack, so to speak.

Good Luck!

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#12 Post by dw » Sat Nov 23, 2002 8:11 am

Well...I've finally gone and done it! I've been threatening for some time and all the while, in the background, fiddling with ideas and techniques...I just couldn't put it off any longer.

In any case, it's something "new and different" (as I promised) and old and traditional all at once. I finally tried my hand at hand stitching the outsole. I wouldn't have missed it for the world. And I probably won't do it ever again...except, perhaps, on a pair of "show" boots, now and again.

I am relatively happy with the results. This was my first attempt at stitching the outsole and it shows, I'm sure. But Salaman quotes Devlin (I think) as saying that the stitches should look like a row of beads. I think I got that look pretty well.

The stitches are not as cleanly aligned with each other (in a straight "row" ) as they would have been with a curved needle stitcher. But not too bad...not too bad....I think that the next time I do this I might use paraffin for the wax (or at least something a bit whiter) and I might try sinking the welt side stitches into a shallow channel to keep them aligned. I know that that was looked down upon but frankly I kind of like it myownself.

Jake, Al, what do you think?

2301.jpg
2301.jpg (64.79 KiB) Viewed 4247 times


Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#13 Post by dw » Sat Nov 23, 2002 8:15 am

Oh!! By the way...the thing that I *really* like about hand stitching the outsoles...something that would almost make me want to do it all the time is what happens on the bottom.

Check this out...this is Rendenbach leather on a boot with the outsoles hand stitched!

Suh-weeet!!
2302.jpg
2302.jpg (49.29 KiB) Viewed 4247 times


Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

User avatar
jake
7
7
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Jake
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA

Re: Outsoles

#14 Post by jake » Sat Nov 23, 2002 8:45 am

D.W.,

THEY LOOK GREAT!

I knew you could do it! Why don't you explain your procedure and materials, like what size thread did ya use? What type of thread is it?

The bottoms are just breath-taking! I agree, it's almost enough to make ya hand-stitch from now on, but I for one, know what you went through to stitch these outsoles. Tip of the hat to ya!

On closing, one final thought......if this is your first try, wonder what would happen if you stayed with it? Image

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#15 Post by dw » Sat Nov 23, 2002 2:03 pm

Jake,

Well, at least for some things, the way I did it and the way it should have been done are two separate things.

I used a "7 cord" white Teklon. That may have been a mistake and I'll tell you why. It's not twisted very tightly. And even thought it's rated as 7 cord it really only consists of 4 strands. So each stitch had a tendency to spread a little...not stay compact. I think if I did it again, I might go to a pre-twisted linen 8 cord. Supposedly the number of strands makes a difference as to how each stand lays. Even numbered cords will lay flat, odd numbered cords will tend to form a round bundle.

I bristled the Teklon with lightweight nylon bristles and would do the same with the linen. They just feed so much better than steel bristles and that makes the job so much easier. I'd have to scrape-taper to create the taw, but that's what I had to do for the Teklon anyway.

I put the sole on and then trimmed the welt pretty close to where I wanted it. I drew a line around the welt using the vamp as a guide and ran a stitch marker along that line. The stitches were 10 to the inch. Not quite show quality but a little closer than most people using curved needles have them set. I'd go at least 12 to the inch next time. And I'd use the fudge wheel to mark the distance too. Al Saguto told me the trick there...tack a strip of leather (maybe 6 ounce) into the sole behind the end of the welt and then run that strip right up next to the vamp all the way around. That becomes a guide for the awl and it is a simple thing to butt the awl up against the strip just before you drive it through the welt and outsole. And you always have an even and consistent distance from the vamp. I used a square awl to make my holes. [I meant to photo the awl and put it up...sorry Bill...I'll do that next week]

I cut in from the edge of the outsole (that one of the reasons for trimming it pretty close to final size) at about a 60 degree angle and peeled back the resulting channel. Because it was at such an angle...and pretty deep...the leather was channeled a little less than half its thickness and the resulting "flap" was pretty thick right where the point of the awl was emerging. So I was never in any risk of piercing the "flap".

Of course the square awl makes a slit that is perpendicular to the edge of the welt. That's the way it should be. But the downside is that when the "incoming" and "outgoing" stitches both try to fit in that hole they tend to want their own space, so to speak. So one stitch seats itself in one corner of the slit and the other shifts to the other corner. That can create a "ropelike" effect that is very pretty when it is consistent and it is what the curved needle tries to accomplish with the angled awl--quite successfully too. But it is not what we want to see with handstitched outsoles. We want to see that beadlike effect with each stitch filling the slit and each stitch back to back with the previous one. That's part of what is so hard about doing this right. I've got a long way to go but I think I understand the problems and the principle, at any rate.

I know you're a long way ahead of me in this...I've only done it the one time, and I know you've done it lots. But you asked for a more complete description....I hope this serves.

And thanks again for the kind words...

Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

User avatar
jake
7
7
Posts: 544
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Jake
Location: Mountain View, Arkansas, USA

Re: Outsoles

#16 Post by jake » Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:18 pm

D.W.,

We appreciate you explaining in detail the procedure, materials, and thought process that went into sewing these outsoles. I know it takes quite a bit of time to organize your thoughts and explain the procedure. Thanks for sharing your time with us. I know your post will answer questions and guide the adventurous through the same process.

Thanks!

rileycraig
2
2
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Riley G.

Re: Outsoles

#17 Post by rileycraig » Sat Nov 23, 2002 6:24 pm

DW,

How did you make it sooooo looooong before stitching the outsole by hand. My teacher wouldn't do it any other way. The only place he would use a machine was to do top patterns, which he did very well. "Don't need no blasted curve needle...don't know how to operate one!" I've had the pleasure of sewing many outsoles on by hand. Never again, I hope!

Anyway, yours look good...keep up the good work! LOL and turning off the computer!

Good Bootmaking,

Riley

Mike Strong

Re: Outsoles

#18 Post by Mike Strong » Sun Nov 24, 2002 12:00 am

DW,

The boots are so great words couldn't possibly describe the work. Maybe some day the bottoms of my boots will look that way. But I'm not sure that I want to start stitching by hand to get it. So tell us are the boots for you or a customer? Thanks for sharing your work.

Mike

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#19 Post by dw » Sun Nov 24, 2002 7:03 am

Mike,

Thanks for the kind words. The boots were made for a customer...you don't think I'd experiment on a pair of boots for myself, do you?? Image

Riley,

I never, ever, had the need or the desire to stitch the soles by hand. I learned on a curved needle stitcher and until I met Al Saguto couldn't imagine it being done any other way. I always felt if someone were stitching by hand, they were doing it because they didn't know or couldn't afford better. Having listened and looked at examples that Al pointed me at, I realized that there was more to it than that. And I also realized that it took real talent to do it right. My middling example shown here. is nowhere near to the kind of precision and grace which the "dead guys" (and a few contemporary makers) brought to the job.

I think I could approach that kind of work if I did it, day in and day out for a while, but except for the bottoms, it's not show quality, in my mind.

Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

Tex Robin

Re: Outsoles

#20 Post by Tex Robin » Sun Nov 24, 2002 7:53 am

DW,
I will have to commend you for the fine job of handstitching on the alligator boots. It took SOME skill and dedication and time. Time is the word. I don't have it for handstitching.

I know there are some that are going to disagree with what I am going to say here but stitching soles by any method is unnecessary in the construction of a boot or shoe with the modern all-purpose cements. I make some boots without any sole stitching and when they come back for re-soling I need solvent to remove the old soles. If my "G" were to quit completely, I would simply make them without the stitching. Or I would send them to you or Al for handstitching! Image Once again I compliment you on the handstitching, but I was just making a point here about the stitching being unnecessary to the construction of footwear. And in this day and time stitching a sole is mostly ornamental. However, I will note that I prefer mine stitched.....TR

User avatar
dw
Seanachaidh
Posts: 5373
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 1997 10:00 am
Full Name: DWFII
Location: Redmond, OR
Has Liked: 39 times
Been Liked: 3 times
Contact:

Re: Outsoles

#21 Post by dw » Sun Nov 24, 2002 8:45 am

Tex,

Thank you. I appreciate it.

I have never relied solely on glue for holding my outsoles on except in the rare instances where I was doing a glue-on sole. Then I did it pretty much like you describe except when I finished inseaming I left the surplus vamp leather in place (didn't trim it flush to the holdfast) and glued it down to the insole. And then, of course, I put in a filler as Tom suggests.

I have heard that glue alone will do the job but I've never totally had faith in it. The notion was all the rage about twenty or twenty five years ago and I was doing more shoe repair then. I didn't like what I saw. Too many shoes and boots (in particular) coming in with the soles flapping. Of course, glues have gotten better since then but I've never felt the need to re-think my initial impression. My only question at this point would be...if glue alone can hold the sole to the boot and we don't need to stitch, why do we need to peg, either?

Tight Stitches
DWFII--Member HCC

Tex Robin

Re: Outsoles

#22 Post by Tex Robin » Sun Nov 24, 2002 8:56 am

DW,
I have said this before that pegging is also not completely necessary in the construction but it holds the sole in place with the cement. I have seen boots cemented together only in the shank but I would prefer to peg mine....TR

rileycraig
2
2
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Dec 30, 1998 7:01 pm
Full Name: Riley G.

Re: Outsoles

#23 Post by rileycraig » Sun Nov 24, 2002 9:17 am

DW,

I have some boots, which were made for me, many years ago with the outsoles hand sewn by my teacher. I also have a pair that I did the outsoles by hand. Just as soon as I figure out how to do all the necessary things, with this digital camera, I'll post some photos. Both pair look pretty good, and the stitching is tight and right, but not nearly as close as yours. I dread to think how long it may have taken you to complete that job....they are nice!

Tex,

I recall a pair of boots that you made for Margaret were at your shop when Annette and I visited. The soles were not sewn and the boots were beautiful. I don't have the nerve to try that, yet. Guess I'll keep sewing mine...WITH A CURVE NEEDLE!

Good Bootmaking,

Riley

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Outsoles

#24 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Sun Nov 24, 2002 9:01 pm

DW,

C-o-n-g-r-a-t-u-l-a-t-i-o-n-s! Welcome to the past, my world, etc.

A very, very good job for your first time out. Just like you with your curved-needle, if you did it by hand every week, it would become real "easy"
looking, and faster. You should see the cranky results I still get my Landis L--note I haven't been posting pix. I'll bet with time, since you're
only stitching from inside to outside ball, you should get around that little bit on a normal sized boot, at 12 per inch, in maybe 30-45 minutes.
Next time try some real hemp or linen thread [even stitcher thread], odd number of strands to lay flat, and a "jigger" to push them back from the
edge an equal distance. That tools corrects a multitude of sins Image

Tex,

You willin' to pay? I'll hand-stitch your foreparts, in real hemp too. Heck, I've got two apprentices here who love doing that stuff. My journeyman says he's scared of the Curved-needle--it's electrical Image

A while back, in the first Forum, we had a long discussion on how much attachment is via the thread [machine stitching], and how much is from the
Barge cement in a "modern" sole job where both are used together. Maybe it's time to revisit that. I think, if you're using Barge, or other contact
cement, the stitching is almost "decorative", as I've stuck plenty of soles without stitching, and they're still holding fine. If you use paste,
however, hand-stitching is a must I think. Machine-stitching, without the Barge, just doesn't do it for me.

gaid
3
3
Posts: 100
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 1999 3:42 pm
Full Name: Janne

Re: Outsoles

#25 Post by gaid » Mon Nov 25, 2002 6:35 am

Al, D.W,
You guys where talking about that odd/even numbers of strands will either make a bundle of the stitch or make it lay flat. I just wonder if that is something you have experince of or is it from a book?

I have stitched by hand with both even and odd numbers of strands and I have not noticed any difference other then the more numbers of strands the heavier the stitch will be.

However, in a Swedish book about shoe making by Werner Blom there is a method described which is called "belägga sticken" in English "cover the stitches". This is a method used when the client wanted so called "light stitches". In those cases the stitches where supposed to cover most of the welt to be a kind of decoration. He doesn't say anything about the numbers of strands but he says that it is of importance that the tread most not be twisted and no pitch other then to putt the bristles on. Doing this the right way the stitches will be transvers and I guess flat.

He also say that this is a method which will strenghten the stitches and that it is mostly used when inseaming the welt. "Covering the stitches" could be done from both sides of the seam.

Post Reply