Tools of the Trade

Share secrets, compare techniques, discuss the merits of materials--eg. veg vs. chrome--and above all, seek knowledge.
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lancepryor
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1801 Post by lancepryor » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:07 pm

Just finished this bench today and practiced making some wood shavings. I ordered the knife about a year ago and received it a few months back, but it took me a while to manage to find the time to construct the bench. It was a fun process -- I did a draw-bored mortise and tenon construction, and for the vise I cribbed some ideas from Benchcrafted, who make beautiful vise screws and related devices.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1802 Post by dw » Fri Dec 04, 2015 6:26 pm

Lance,

Beautiful!!
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1803 Post by n5a » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:35 pm

Good afternoon. I'm interested in the use of the 3 pronged removable post on this. I initially thought it might be for pulling lasts, however it doesn't fit any of my lasts. I know this is the place for a proper answer. Thank you.
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1804 Post by dw » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:16 pm

It almost looks like an old tyme repair jack. Hard to tell from that angle--"a photo is worth a thousand guesses.
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1805 Post by martin » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:24 pm

Hello,

I recently found 3 new friends :-) Middle and left are obviously more modern ones (they have German name and size stamps, so I estimate them at 50 - 100 years old), but the right one I'm totally at a loss. Modern and jsut very corroded? Or maybe quite a bit older than the other 2? Does anyone recognize the form perhaps?

Thanks,
Martin
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1806 Post by dw » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:00 pm

Could be hand forged...which may put it 18th century. I have one that is purportedly that old. It even has hallmarks.
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1807 Post by martin » Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:16 am

Thanks, DW!

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1808 Post by dmcharg » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:25 pm

G'day All,
As I'm now carving lasts for my customers, I was finding the drawknife and shave horse tiring and awkward to use. I decided to get a hold of a 'stock knife', as used by clog-makers etc. As I couldn't find any for sale here in Australia, and getting one custom made in England was going to be prohibitively expensive, I followed a tip from a Windsor chair maker I know and got onto French Ebay. Much cut n paste and Google Translate later, I was the, very happy, owner of a 19thC French clog (Sabot) maker's knife; and unusual in it's design. When first looking at buying this one I was a bit concerned as to it's ease of use due to the fact that it doesn't have a hook on the end, but a straight lug instead. I figured that I'd mount a small block on my lasting bench with an appropriate hole in it just above the work surface. Only 4 or 5 other images of this style came up in a google search; AND 1 PHOTO OF IT BEING USED! A turn of the century postcard, and the method has turned out to be very handy.
A vertical post is set in your work bench and a series of holes bored in, up it's height. This enables you to change the knife's height placement, depending on the part of the last you are working on, keeping the blade at a comfortable, and effective, position. I have not found I have to think about keeping the lug in the holes, or felt any insecurity. It's very quiet, instantaneous in adjustment, and both powerful and delicate in it's removal of wood. It's around 80cms long.
It also keeps it's edge, as I found out in a moment of inattention, after it had done around 4 hours of carving seasoned timber and was leaning up in my workroom and I reached behind it to fetch something, and pulled my hand out slightly wrong and got a glancing slice. Ooops!

Enough with the rabbiting; on with the pictures and a link to a Vimeo clip I made of my first, in-depth, use of it making a, non-specific, test, last shaped thing. It's 11mins long. https://vimeo.com/164683971
Enjoy.

Cheers
Duncan
Sabot knife In use.jpg
Sabot maker.jpg
Sabot maker.jpg (88.99 KiB) Viewed 698 times
paroir-t-ton-02-49bcc9c copy2.jpg
Last edited by dmcharg on Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1809 Post by dmcharg » Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:35 pm

And my set-up.
The completed last in the photos was made before I got the Sabot knife; I included it in the pictures as part of explaining it's use to my Face Book viewers.

Here you can see the beautiful dishing in the blade enabling tight corners. It came with a useable edge on it, but I spruced it up to shaving sharp, and after 4 hours of carving that's what bit me :doh:
Sabot knife front.jpeg
Sabot knife back.jpeg
Test carve 1.JPG

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1810 Post by homeboy » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:00 am

Duncan,

Holy Cow! Great job! Thanks for sharing!

Keep it coming.....

Adios, Jake
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1811 Post by dw » Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:05 am

Duncan,

Second Jake's remarks...good on you! Beautiful knife. And the results are looking real good.

Have you got a band saw, or how do you plan to "hinge" them?
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1812 Post by dmcharg » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:28 pm

Thanks Jake and DW,
This knife is going to revolutionise the time it's been taking to carve the lasts :) I'll also post some measuring up methods, when shaping the lasts, I've come up with recently, over in 'One Last question' thread, soon.

In answer to your question about hinging, DW, while the lasts are still a parallel block I use a Japanese double sided handsaw to cut through, just behind the ball of the 'foot', followed by cutting through the main part of the block, diagonally back towards the ankle, creating the removable 'scoop'. A 65mm wide solid brass hinge is then set in to the 'toe' and heel sections, the 3 parts re-assembled and a hole drilled in for the locating dowel at the front of the scoop, and a coarse wood screw set in the top back to tighten the whole lot together.
Here's a set of 7 photos that should explain it clearly. Oh, I took the photos before I'd got the Sabot knife, so the hatchet in one of the pics is now redundant :wink_smile:
Cheers
Duncan

The customer's silhouettes.
DSCN2077.JPG
Showing all the profiles I take off the customer's feet, cut in card to check the last's progress.
DSCN2086.JPG
Cut, and the hinge set in the slots, drilled and locked in place with hardwood dowels.
DSCN2087.JPG

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1813 Post by dmcharg » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:48 pm

Part 2.

A finished pair, showing the locking screws.
IMG_0533.JPG
IMG_0542.JPG
IMG_0550.JPG

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1814 Post by dmcharg » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:51 pm

Part the 3rd.
I like the idea of the last bending like a real foot.
IMG_0551.JPG
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1815 Post by dw » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:09 am

Duncan,

Very nice photo montage...very clear. Thank you for that.

People say...almost invariably in defense of mediocrity...that there are "other ways of doing things." Of course, there are. But whether they represent advancement or whether they embody any real intrinsic value depends almost entirely on how well such "alternative" techniques address one critical question--"does it make a better shoe?"

Why abandon 10,000 years of shoemaking evolution and Traditional techniques that have served us so well and met the test...of time and of quality?

Too often...tragically, IMO...the answer is not "this is a better way" but "this is faster," or "this is easier" or "this doesn't require that I master any unique or difficult (esp. 'difficult') skills."

I have always admired and respected you, Duncan, simply because, while you may not always take the conventional road you almost never take the most convenient, either.

Your process here is a good example of that. Your approach might not entirely meet the approval of someone who trained in the basement of Lobbs but it is, IMO, entirely Traditional.

:thumb:
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1816 Post by dmcharg » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:33 pm

Thanks DW,
I've used machines for various tasks, at various times (for instance, I made myself a large drum sander, a-la Koleff, for squaring up the edges of the laminated lasts) but often found that with the appropriate, sometimes 100+ year old hand tool, the job can be done faster, with more control, virtually silent (the lovely 'shushing' sound of blade through wood) and with minimal dust (just nice wood shavings). The Sabot knife is much nicer for doing all the work on the lasts, and the drum sander doesn't get a look in for that task anymore. Once the shape is spot on, a little hand sanding does the final smoothing out.
So I suppose what I'm saying, DW, is that 'not the most convenient road' often turns out to be so :) Certainly the more interesting. And that's why we do it, right DW? :rofl:

Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1817 Post by LarryPeterson » Mon Aug 15, 2016 7:46 pm

Duncan,

That bending last is a great idea. I'm impressed!!
Best wishes, LP

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1818 Post by dmcharg » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:00 pm

Thanks Larry,
It's what George Koleff describes in his video and book on last making, except that he used heavy leather for the hinge. A large brass hinge has no slop or stretch in it and is very strong. If you look closely at the completed last in my second post (with the Sabot knife on it's work bench) you can just see lines where it's cut for bending.
I've never understood why top end bespoke houses often use a plain scoop last, as you have to fight the shoe to get it out at the end; especially if it's a highish ankle boot.

Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1819 Post by lancepryor » Wed Aug 24, 2016 8:45 am

Duncan:

Nice work!

A couple of questions. Once you have your block glued up and ready to start kniving, how long do you think it takes you to get the last into finished shape?

Also, in terms of the various profiles you do of your customer's feet, how do you take these? With a profile gauge? Weight on or weight off? For your finished lasts, how closely do your lasts correspond with the profiles of the foot? I think there are different views as to how the last should compare to the foot, so it would be interesting to know what your experience tells you about that.

Well done.

Lance

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1820 Post by dmcharg » Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:37 am

G'day Lance,
So far I've only made 4 pair of lasts, one for me (and I wince a bit when I look at them, but being wood I can, and will, modify them) and 3 for customers, so my times for knifing up are still on the steep curve. Also I only got the 'Sabot' knife recently and am only now starting on carving up a real pair with it. The little one in my hand was a 'last shaped object' I carved with the Sabot knife to help come to grips with how to use it; and is the one I'm carving in the Vimeo film I linked to, and took about 2 1/2 - 3 hours.
Up till now I've been using a drawknife and a, slightly awkward to use, shaving horse which kept getting in the way of the drawknife. The Sabot knife set up is worlds apart. Having said that, with the drawknife it would take me about 4 hours to get the basic last shape out of the wood, and then numerous more in the fine trimming. That's the killer :) But I have an idea that should speed things up a little (apart from 'Practice' and that wonderful Knife) that I'll put over in 'One Last Question' soon.
For the profiles, yes I do use a profile gauge, a nice plastic one that has a smooth easy action I bought from a woodworking suppliers (see pic below). You'll notice in my previous posts that my lasts are slightly unusual in that they have 'ankles'. I started this after the high cut 'fitters pair' (on my first lasts for a customer) bagged around the ankles, so I took height and width measurements off her and added them on to the lasts. The shoes then formed around them, giving a much nicer, fitted look. And for lower cut shoes, it means I have a constant reference so that the top line won't dig into them in wear; something that caught me out with a pair for me that I made in-between a low and high cut shoe. They *just* caught under my ankles. They have adjusted and after a couple weeks of wear became very comfortable. My personal lasts will get, among other adjustments, 'ankles'.
I also take side photos of their feet, resting on heel and toe supports in the attitude the finished shoe will have, from as far away as I can get, and telephoto in to get a 'true' side view. And, using my iPod, I take multiple 'bursts' of photos as I move around their feet giving me a '3D' view I can scroll back and forwards through as a visual reference while I'm in the act of carving. It's like doing a sculpture with the subject there. For instance if, when looking through the data sheets, something looks a bit improbable (and let's face it, with people's feet that happens a bit) I can scroll through the 'burst' photos and watch the foot rotate in front of me and can jiggle back and forward at the point in question.

So, in answer to your question, I track very closely to the profiles I take. I make sure they are wearing the kind of socks they will use, and I take the data weight on (though I'm happy to listen to the 'weight off' camp as I'm always wanting to refine the shape etc.). I also use an engineer's height gauge to get spot heights over joints and bones, and also for recording the foot's perimeter height (maximum width) all around eg. a high arched foot will reach it's maximum width higher off the ground at that point than a flat foot. One person's heel profile will reach max curve, rear-wards, higher than another's etc.

The profile gauge and height gauge, with a few profile cut outs, including a heel side view over on the right.
Profile gauge.jpeg
My reminder sheet for all the 'spots and dots' and girth measurements. See the reference to 'Perimeter heights' on the middle and bottom left drawings.
Reference sheet.jpeg
And a couple of the data sheets from the first customer I carved lasts for. Have refined the layout a little since for clarity. And I'm not sure where her heel side view is. I did record it, as I had a card template.
Finished details.jpeg
I know that some probably think I'm going way overboard with the details I record, but it puts my mind at rest while working on the lasts.

Sorry, that was a marathon, but I hope that has answered your questions, and many others you didn't have :uhoh:

Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1821 Post by dw » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:47 am

If nothing else...just to satisfy your own (and, to some extent, mine) curiousity...take a set of measurements "weight on" and a set "weight off." It will be interesting to know what you come up with.

I've already done this experiment, years ago...we can compare observations and draw conclusions.

PS...I was wondering what wood you're using. It looks like you're laminating dimensional lumber--1" x n.

I always thought that laminating pieces of 1" x 20 ply birch would make a good last...although I understand maple, beech or hornbeam are preferred.
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1822 Post by dmcharg » Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:46 pm

OK, DW, I'll give that a test soon and let everyone know.
The wood I'm using is just clear pine. The first last I made (for me) I used Tasmanian Oak (not true oak, it's a Eucalyptus) and it was way too hard. My other personal last I made out of Cyprus. I've been given a large block of Jelutong by a couple of pattern makers (for casting metal) to try out.
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1823 Post by dmcharg » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:10 am

Pop over to 'One Last Question' for a bit more info, and pics, on an easier way than a tape measure for checking girth measurements while carving your lasts.
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1824 Post by Arttu » Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:53 pm

I spent saturday making a few tools. I didn't have a heel iron, and couldn't find one at a reasonable price so I made one. It's carved out of a solid chunk of steel with an angle grinder. The handle is birch I turned on a bench press.

Immediately after attaching the handle, I noticed that it would be better if I could get my hand closer to the "business end" for more control. I might cut a bit off where it attaches to the handle (or aft?). I'll try making a pair of shoes with it before doing any changes though.

I also made an adjustable edge iron that didn't turn out very pretty, but I believe should work fine.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#1825 Post by dw » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:20 pm

Good looking tools. Show worthy.
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