The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

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DWFII

The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#1 Post by DWFII » Thu Oct 21, 1999 6:45 am

For those of you, especially those "across the pond," following the discussion in "The Art and Mysterie..." I am posting some photos of contemporary full wellingtons. Although some of the styling is reminicent of 19th century work, the boots are my own recent manufacture and all fully lined.

"No plastics, no paper, no nails" ;^P

The red Victorian revival in the upper left is a chrome tanned, burnishable cow calf that had a somewhat firm hand.

The 1930s style cowboy boot in the upper right is made of Rock--the Italian calf that is 80% veg, 20% chrome and VERY firm. This is the second of three pair for this customer--all in this style--and, yes, he DOES have a very high instep.

The turn of the century Hyer knock-off (my own personal boots) in the lower left is veg tanned kangaroo.

The modern cowboy boot in the lower right is a chrome burnishable buffalo calf with a pretty good hand. The collar is a glazed buffalo calf. (this is another of my own boots)
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#2 Post by DWFII » Mon Nov 15, 1999 3:25 pm

To inaugurate our move to the new server and the wonder of it all working smoothly (knock on wood) with only a rough (and I mean rough) 12 hours of fiddling to get it in that condition, I thought I would post a little photo essay about my favorite subject--the bootmaker's boot--the full wellington.

The first photo on the left is my pattern. It can be extended, of course, to any height of top.

The second photo is of my "moderate" first stage, crimping board made of a high density one inch plastic. And, for comparison, a 19th century board.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#3 Post by DWFII » Mon Nov 15, 1999 3:30 pm

This second pair of photos shows the beginnings of crimping the full blocker. This is a veg tan leather of about four ounces that I got from GH Leather. Relatively firm--but very suitable for a shoe or boot. I like to crimp inside out (fleshside out) to begin with. There needs to be a lot of rubbing and chasing of wrinkles in this process and doing it this way avoids damaging the grain.

The shot on the left represents the very first stage. I have just secured the toe and the top and set the iron. You will notice the huge jumble of pipes, wrinkles and surplus army goods that has been created at the break of the board.

The shot on the right show the process just a bit further along. Most of the surplus has been cleared off the edge of the board, at this stage.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#4 Post by DWFII » Mon Nov 15, 1999 3:36 pm

Mind you, this series of photos makes it look swift and easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each of the photos probably represent 15 to 20 minutes in between each stage.

Here we are with the end in sight. In the lefthand photo, I not only have cleared all the pipes and wrinkles from the edge of the board, I have pulled the leather tight to the board in the break area. At this point I don't have to worry about any wrinkles in the break--I'm past that stage. You can clearly see the mechanical principle is very like pulling back upon a bow--with the crimp screw representing your hand on the drawstring. The major pipes left in the leather at this point are like the strings of the bow.

In the second photo, I am almost there. I have tacked the bottom edge to roughly the ball joint area (or what will eventually be the joint area) and I have mounted the second crimp screw. I have tightened up on it some and all I really need to do now, is take some heavy drafts under the "instep" with my lasting pincers to pull out the remaining pipes.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#5 Post by DWFII » Mon Nov 15, 1999 3:40 pm

Finally! All wrinkles and pipes have been cleared! The leather is on the board clean and tight.

Next step is to let everything dry for several days, then take the blocker off the board, turn it rightside out, spritz it, and then put it on the "cruel" boards to get just a little more severe a crimp angle into the blocker.

I am shooting this whole process--right up though the finished boot. And when I get the rest of the photos (or the next set, at any rate) I will post them too.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#6 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 12:36 pm

When I started this photo essay, I had two small pieces of good quality veg tanned leather given to me as samples by Greg Hochhauser. Neither were big enough for a pair of boots. One was sort of a taupe color--I started with that piece--and the other was a London Tan. Neither piece was really large enough to make a boot much over 12", either, and the London Tan piece wouldn't even get that.

I want to remark that anything can go wrong when you are making a pair of full wellingtons. The crimping process is so stressful--and not just on the leather!! ;^) And I will be the first to say that I am NOT an expert on the full wellington--I am not sure anyone is, so maybe I'll do til a real experts come along. But I do generally get REAL satisfactory results. Still, having said that, I must admit that I am still working through some minor patterning questions--I haven't had a real problems in a while (knock on wood) but am still slightly dissatisfied with the nuances of line that results during lasting.

Anyway, to continue, here are two photos of the lining being crimped. this is a soft feeling full veg lining of about two and a half ounces. When it was crimped it became very stiff. You may notice that in the first photo, which was taken when the blocker was on my "easy" board, there is a patch on the edge of the blocker. This was the only problem I experienced with these linings and it was very probably due to a misjudgment on my part. The tearing happened during the initial crimping and I promptly pulled the blocker from the board, patched it and began again. That worked, and the second photo shows the blocker up on the "cruel" board. Believe it or not the rip never opened up any further and although it may have been more instructive to photograph the lining again, from the ripped side, I may use these photos in a book or something and you can be sure I will NOT show the ripped side in that venue. ;^P This is only for YOUR consumption.

I used these linings for the London Tan boot (which has already been lasted and bottomed and is even now being treed--photos in this set) and the rip trimmed completely off--sometimes you get lucky.
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dw

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#7 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 12:58 pm

The first in this next set of photos shows the taupe colored front blocker after it had been pulled off the board. And it shows the paper pattern superimposed over the front of the blocker. This process is something of a deviation from traditional methods, as far as I know, but it allows me to accurately position the break and to cut the sides of the blocker with precision.

The second photo shows the back blocker. And if you look closely you may notice that the "counter pocket" (for lack of a better term) has been crimped into the back panel. You may also notice the faint lines indicating where the leather will be cut.

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dw

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#8 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 1:15 pm

Here we see the front blocker cut. Again I did this because I did not have enough leather to make a 14 inch top, but this patterning style is one that goes back to the turn of the century or before, and is one that I like especially well. Also displayed is a side on photo of the front blocker after it had been cut. you may notice a flair at the bottom of what will be the side seam. It is my theory that the stresses applied to the leather during crimping are most along the bottom edge. This is where the leather has to stretch the most. Adding this flair compensates for the elasticity that has been taken out. There is some indication (to my mind) that the masters of this style of boot understood this principle fairly well. Old patterns all seem to have this "flair" incorporated. But I am not certain that what has come down to us, is similarly predicated on that understanding.
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dw

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#9 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 1:26 pm

This set shows the front of the boot assembled just prior to stitching, and the back of the boot from the liner side.
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dw

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#10 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 1:31 pm

And here's the boot, ready to be sideseamed--in the next installment.
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dw

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#11 Post by DWFII » Sun Jan 23, 2000 1:46 pm

And finally (for this installment), here is a couple of photos from the boot made of the London Tan leather that mentioned earlier. I kind of got diverted from the taupe boot, when I became interested in designing a collar that would let me use a very short blocker to make a 13" boot. I decided to put this boot on an 18/8" heel and make the old "half box" toe. I wanted this boot to have a more contemporary "western" look while still being a bona fide full wellington.

I enclosed the picture of the bottom of the boot, just after lasting to illustrate the way that the sideseams came together right opposite each other--an aspect of the boot that I consider pretty important. But I am also pretty happy with the way that the sideseam runs vertically up the side of the boot. On many of the old boots the sideseam appears to deviate--backwards--and I think it looks very poor.

The taupe colored boot, by the way, will be on an inch and five-eighths cuban heel with a full pegged sole--a sop to my Victorian revival fantasies.
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dw

Jake Dobbins

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#12 Post by Jake Dobbins » Sun Jan 23, 2000 2:06 pm

D.W., let me be the first to express our appreciation for sharing this series of photos with us!

Looking forward to seeing these techniques first hand next month. That's right gang! I'm putting my money where my mouth is (by the way, I've done so in the past too). I know I won't be disappointed!

Dan Ames

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#13 Post by Dan Ames » Tue Feb 22, 2000 12:16 pm

DW

Reading through a back posting I read you were having trouble polishing your poly crimp boards. Take a piece of cordura and put it on a burnishing wheel on your finisher. This will polish the poly nicely.

Dan

DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#14 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 4:18 pm

Well, here's the last in the series of photos illustrating the full wellington. I welcome comments and will answer questions on these for as long as people pose them. When the number of comments becomes too long I will archive them, leaving the photos behind. Eventually, I will consolidate all the photos in this series--The Art and The Mysterie: A Photo Essay--into one topic and close it to public discussion. This will leave the photo essay intact and available to all. However, the photo-less discussion topic "The Art and the Mysterie" will remain open for those who want to discuss the technique. All of this is sometime in the future so it's not really a problem for the present.

To continue:

You may remember I had two pieces of veg tan leather from GH Leather...only enough for one boot of each color and then not really enough to make full 14" boots. I started with a taupe vegetable tan and crimped it as a full wellington. I also crimped two and a half ounce vegetable liners for it. This is all shown in part one and part two. Then I got diverted to the second piece of veg tan--a London Tan colored leather of which there wasn't even enough for a 12" boot. So I designed a bone and green filigree color to make up the height deficiency.

The first photo continues with the rust colored boot. Shown is the boot after inseaming. The spring steel shank has been whipped into the shank of the boot. The second photo shows the boot after the shank cover has been added.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#15 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 4:28 pm

This next photo is really kind of "the odd man out," so to speak, especially in terms of size. But it shows the boot after it has been outsoled and pegged. And that's what I want to emphasize here. This photograph shows what the results are when a square pegging awl is used. Notice the pegs are aligned like interlocking diamonds--a most attractive presentation and one I have been striving to achieve for most of my career.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#16 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 4:40 pm

And this photo is the finished boot...
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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#17 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 4:55 pm

This next set of photos pick up where we left off on the taupe colored full wellington. When last we saw it, it was ready to be sideseamed...

Here it is lasted on an inch and five-eighths heel. The second shot is the boot just before the outsole is added. After the leather was pulled over the bottom of the last, the excess was trimmed off and whipped to the insole. Here the shank cover is in place and a half mid sole has been added, loosely emulating a clump sole.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#18 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 5:03 pm

The next photo is, again, sort of an odd ball shot. Here we are looking into the boot. The tops are necessarily out of focus, but we can see the last clearly. Note the way the leather hugs the cone and backpart of the last.
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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#19 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 5:09 pm

And finally, the finished boot...both a front view and a side view.
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DWFII

Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#20 Post by DWFII » Mon Mar 06, 2000 5:20 pm

Well, that's it folks! I sure have enjoyed making these boots...I gnawed my fingernails a bit and probably got a little grayer in the process but I learned a lot and enjoyed the suspense of trying to present something of this magnitude with no real assurance that every thing would work out right. It's always a challenge putting yourself and your work on the line this way. Anything could have gone wrong.. a few very minor things did...but it's extremely satisfying when you can pull it off. I hope this series has been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me.

Thanks to Greg Hochhauser for the leather...if you are looking to try your hand at the full wellington, Greg carries the black and the taupe vegetable tanned leathers in his Surf. It runs about four ounce and is very nice to work with. He also carries the two and a half ounce vegetable lining leather I used throughout the series. One of my all time favorite lining leathers.

Oh, and a bonus--ain't she sweet!! This is one of Dick Anderson's
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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#21 Post by dw » Sat May 05, 2001 7:02 am

Just a little addition to an old topic. Here's a pair of full pegged, full wellington soles. The boots are black veg, no graft, 14" bound tops, with a large red star top center. The pegged star (which is really the reason I posted this photo) is a take off on an authentic pair of 19th century American (early cowboy?) boots that were very similar. On that pair, however, the pegged star was done with iron "pegs"
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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#22 Post by dw » Sun May 06, 2001 7:34 am

Mick,

I suspect that this kind of thing was quite common. My only hesitation in the past was trying to figure out how long a peg to use...particularly under the ball of the foot--I would hate to have a customer returning the boot because the pegs were hurting his foot. But I have developed a "style" now where I use a midsole of such and such a thickness (no mystery, I just don't know what I split it to--relying more on visual cues than on splitter calibrations...which can be rather indeterminate, anyway) and a outsole of such and such a thickness (10 1/2-11 iron) and if I am consistent in that regard I can take a 4/8 peg and drive it nearly all the way in and never have it coming up inside the boot.

"...your star"??? Mick, I appreciate the thought but it dern sure isn't *my* star. I used a stationary store template to trace the star on the sole and a stitch marking wheel to space the pegs. Rest assured, I don't have many "secrets" that I would not share with sincerely interested folks...but if I did, I wouldn't post them to the forum--I'd keep them secret...that's what a secret's all about, after all. Image

No, have at it--if I put it out there on the forum, I mean it to be used or, at least, explored. I'm just tickled to help...of course, being renown for my selflessness and lack of ego, I don't care at all about all the compliments and appreciation. Image

Tight Stitches...
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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#23 Post by paul » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:23 am

DW,
It's been awhile since I looked through this whole essay, and I just loved it! Thank you for putting it up.
And thanks to Greg for providing the leather.
I want to acknowledge the tip I picked up reading through, of polishing my poly crimp boards. Duh! Who have thought that the burrs from past tacks would cause resistance to an already difficult task of crimping! I'm going to work mine over first thing today!
I was also struck by the photo looking down in the boot where we see the hugging in the throat area. I don't recall what you may have shown me about this when I took your FW course. No doubt that is by intentional attention. Would you share what you may be doing here beyond working it with your hammer or rub stick?

I'm in a bit of a slump right now on the FW, and will be working through it on a pair for myself.
This has been encouraging.
Thanks again,
Paul

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Re: The Art and Mysterie: a photo essay

#24 Post by dw » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:00 am

paul » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:23 am wrote:DW,
It's been awhile since I looked through this whole essay, and I just loved it! Thank you for putting it up.
:beers:
I was also struck by the photo looking down in the boot where we see the hugging in the throat area. Would you share what you may be doing here beyond working it with your hammer or rub stick?


Well, the most important part about that shot is where the break sits on the last--right at the high instep, IOW. I make that distinction because a lot of what is concerning you is how the throatline is located and how that affects stance. Locating the throatline on a FW is not quite as straight-forward as on a dress wellington. Too high...or too loose--sometimes one and the same, but no always...and the boot will pull too far down on the cone of the last and also lean forward. Too high and the boot leans back and the heel stiff never gets snugged against the back of the last.

Then too, the heel stiff is, well stiff. I "encourage" the whole throat to mold to the sides and back of the last by firmly setting it into "pin rack" built into my work bench. And letting it dry there.
I'm in a bit of a slump right now on the FW,


Sorry to hear that. Cheer up, bunky...this too shall pass.
This has been encouraging.
Good. Glad to have been of service.
DWFII--HCC Member
Without "good" there is no "better," without "better," no "best."
And without the recognition that there is a hierarchy of excellence in all things, nothing rises above the level of mundane.

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