Tools of the Trade

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D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#51 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 6:54 am

DW,

Just some input on the tools to give the alternative names they usually go by in the rest of the English-speaking world:

1)The first pair of hammers--the one on the left isn't a true "Crispin" pattern exactly. Crispins usually have more of a down-curved pane than that one, plus a corrugated or checkered face so nails don't fly--the Crispin is a *cobbler* hammer anyway.

2)Your "Beatdown" hammer is usually called a "beating-out" hammer, and they come in all sizes. I have a nice dainty one that dosen't bruise the outsoles, but closes channels like a dream.

3)Your "Flounder", as well, is usualy called a "paste-fitters", or "closers" hammer. I have iron ones, and a nice old wooden one--plus a nice *new* wooden one I got for Christmas [thanks DW].

4)Likewise, your "Ticklers", are usually called just "pricks", or "stitch-pricks" in the catalogues, etc. Also, the trick to a getting a fudge wheel to line up perfectly at each stitch, is to use the fudge wheel to pre-mark your stitches first, and stitch by-hand with a "square" "stitching awl".

5)And your whatzit looks to be none other than a corrugated heel iron. The grooves on the face hold and carry the molten heel-ball wax [the tool is used hot, like other finishing kit tools], and the numerous little flats increase the psi. for ironing the heel-ball into the heel edge. You get your final polish on this kind of finish by twisting a canvas rag tightly around your thumb and "ragging-off" the edge to bring the wax shine up. But, "we" don't ever use heel-ball do "we" Image

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#52 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 6:56 am

DW,

Cool. Thanks.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#53 Post by dw » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:00 am

Jim,

I guess I misunderstood you...were you talking about the "mystery" tool? If so, it couldn't be a fudge tool, the head is roughly two and a half to three inches long and at least an inch wide. The serrations are a good quarter to three-eighths of an inch apart. If you've ever seen a "French" burnisher...this tool is like a larger version of that--except for the ridges, of course. I think Salaman suggests that wax was melted(?) onto the tool, collected between the ridges, and then was available for applying to heels (or??) when the tool was heated. Sort of like storing a weeks worth of groceries in your beard--just in case of famine, you understand. Image

But that explanation seems pretty doubtful to me. Once the top most layers of the wax had been applied, all the rest would be caught below the tops of the serrations and unable to contact any surface. And those ridges are deep, so there would be plenty of wax loaded onto the tool but useless.

Tight Stitches
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#54 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:12 am

Hey guys,

Tell me a little more about this using pliers and scissors to do stitch-pricking [AKA "separating"]. The technique [stitch-pricking], and the tool [stitch-prick], go way back into the 18th c. at least, to remove the excess wax that accumulates between each stitch when hand-stitching, and better define them, etc.--IOW, it's hoary, noble, antiquated, so I like it. But, I've never heard of using pliers or scissors before. I'd think you'd want a parallel-jaw plier for one, so the dent made would be of even depth at the sole edge, and in tight to the feather. Regular pliers, and especially scissors, would seem to me to bite harder and consequently deeper at the edge closer to their pivot, and not so deep further in closer to the vamp? "...'splain it to me Lucy".

I've had the best luck with an old fudge wheel when hand-stitching, because I use it to lightly pre-mark the holes first, and of course the stitch-prick works fine too; but when I've tried to do machine-stitched soles [still no great shakes at this], and use a bench mounted [USMC] welt indenting machine, nothing ever lines up *yuck* as well as by-hand, even pre-marking the welt and carefully setting the stitch-length on the Landis to match beforehand. I assume you guys who're using pliers and scissors are machine-stitching soles?

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#55 Post by dw » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:16 am

Al,

You know, I wasn't sure about the Crispin hammer name, but I was taught (not formally...just picked it up) that the cobblers hammer was a Crispinian. Funny how language gets skewed around.


And something else...I was just looking at the Gallery again (this is why I said it was interesting to go back) and noticed Janne's black wing tips. Now I know he uses a fudge wheel. But I just noticed for the first time that those shoes are not completed. They are welted but the sole is not on them...so there's no stitching on the welt. BUT!!! The welt has already been fudged! I was just thinking. "Hmmm, so maybe that's how he does it!"

Finally, I really and seriously don't know what you mean about heel ball. I use some Yankee wax that I thinly burnish into the heel but I've never even seen real heel ball that I know of. I wet, scrape, carefully pare, and then bone burnish the dickens out of the heel layers before I dye or wax them. So If I get a good surface, it's not heel ball it's elbow grease. Image

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#56 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:35 am

DW,

I haven't handled your whatzit tool, but from the photo it *looks* like a corrugated heel iron, like I posted already. Maybe it's a poorly designed one that survived because it didn't work very well. Most of the old ones don't have grooves that deep, and more rounded and polished "teeth". BTW, Salaman got that explanation from yours truly, and I got that explanation from the late Lorenz Scrocco [came here c. 1913, worked in NY and DC, d.1990], an elderly Italian shoemaker who got me started way back when. He had one, and I asked him how it worked.

If you have tried to use heel ball by hand, you first heat up your tool, then rub the ball of wax on the surface to melt some onto it. Then you apply it with the hot iron tool. A smooth polished face will hold very little wax, and needs frequent refreshing [re-heating, more smearing, etc.]. The corrugated face carries more wax, like a fountain pen versus a dip-as-you-go quill, but I don't think it holds so much there's plenty left for next time, like a week's worth of groceries in your beard. You want to load that heel with wax, lay it on heavy, melt it in, then do your finesse in ragging it off to the thickness of finish you desire. As we've discussed before, it's just a cheap and dirty way to finish a heel anyhoo, to fill in cracks, dings and dents that should have been avoided by more careful heel-finishing.

Think on this: the burnishing wheels on your finishing-line have corrugations across the face. Why? to hold and carry more wax to load the edge better. Same operating philosophy I'd bet.

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#57 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:41 am

Gary,
Yeah, It looks like two bootmakers have come up with the same idea 40 yrs apart. And I sure didn't tell Carl about it as I remember. But it's a lot better than a screwdriver....TR

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#58 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:52 am

Al,
Yes, we are most definitely using a machine to stitch our soles. When they invented the wheel we
liked it. I will make some of the dividers when I get time....TR

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#59 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:52 am

DW,

I knew the heel-ball crack would getcha Image Holt still makes it, or at least AGS in Ashland, VA still has some old stock if you want to try it with your whatzit tool to see if it works [not on anything good of course]. When you apply your Yankee wax [clear?], don't you hold a cake of it up to the spinning canvas-covered *corrugated* rubber wheel on your finishing line to melt it on and load the wheel? Don't you then see heavier deposits of wax held down in those corrugations, and little or no wax on top of each rubber tooth as they show through the canvas? Then, as you hold the heel-edge to the canvas, if you dwell in one spot too long, don't you get a big thick smear of wax there? When you move over to your brush wheel, and let it dwell in one spot, doesn't it tend to remove the heavy wax layer through heat and friction? I think this is pretty analogous to how the corrugated iron, and the ragging-off hand method is supposed to work. One process loads the wax on, the other takes it off. How much wax you leave on is up to you.

Crispinian hammers are a new one on me, but one thing's for sure, we are our own worst enemies with these terms and regional nicknames for tools and stuff. It's fun, but sure confusing. Besides, there are very well-known, historical terms, and tool names that could not be posted on a public Forum, or said in mixed company. Maybe we need another "private" room for those.

You never fudged a welt *before* stitching? No wonder you don't like hand-stitching Image

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#60 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:55 am

DW,
I have always thought that a Crispin hammer was the one with the serations and it was designed for driving headless tacks. At least that is what I have used mine for....TR

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#61 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 7:57 am

Tex,

You "modern" high-tech guy you. I hope you still use leather at least.

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#62 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 8:05 am

Al,
For everything but toe boxes. When the wheel came so did Celastic!....TR

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#63 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 8:12 am

Tex,

I see. Be careful though, next thing you know, you'll be using rubber soles and heels too Image

And hey, what are you doing sitting on your computer "talking boots"? Shouldn't you be out in the shop "makin' boots"? I have an excuse--it's my day off, [until my sick wife comes home from the doctor's and I have to go back into "nurse mode" that is]. I just can't get the hang of these squishy white shoes and the short polyester candy-striper dress. There're no pockets for my cigars and Zippo.

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#64 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 8:21 am

Al,
The blinds are drawn and the little people are working today.....TR

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#65 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 8:30 am

Tex,

Ah, you have little people? I used to, but Keebler stole 'em all to bake cookies in their hollow tree.

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#66 Post by gaid » Fri Jan 25, 2002 9:42 am

Al,
I saw Tex's "pricking-pliers" when I visited his shop. I am now the lucky owner of one too. I use it when stitching by machine but also sometimes when stitching by hand. The fudge wheel make "little babys" once and a while, the "pricking-pliers" is very good when it is about to adjust the wrong marks from the fudge wheel..........Janne

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Tools of the Trade

#67 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Fri Jan 25, 2002 9:49 am

Janne,

Thanks. I'd like to try a pair myself someday.

Lisa Sorrell

Re: Tools of the Trade

#68 Post by Lisa Sorrell » Fri Jan 25, 2002 10:31 am

I had a former student of Tex's in my shop, and she told me about Tex's stitch separating pliers. I made myself a pair and they work great. I smoothed and shaped them as Tex described. Then I opened the jaws about 1/4", or about the normal thickness of a sole. Al's right, at that point it would tend to bite into the boot at the tip. So I judged how much more I'd need to take off at the tip to get it level with the bottom, ground off a bit more from the top jaw and releveled and shaped it. Now it marks the boot evenly .

Lisa

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#69 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 11:38 am

Lisa,

Aha, The word is getting around about my stitch dividing pliers . My favorite ones are the ones my Father made and they were made from a pair of the cheap stampings pliers, but there aren't many of them around nowadays. I have made some more from different brands of pliers but haven't made a pair as good as the originals. Hey, I should have had them patented! There is also a technique to using them right. You slide them in to the stitch right up against the boot and you use your fingers on the left hand to guide them around the boot from the bottom...TR

Dr. Noah Tall

Re: Tools of the Trade

#70 Post by Dr. Noah Tall » Fri Jan 25, 2002 11:57 am

Ser Robin,

May I call you Texas? You know, of course that the wheel was invented in the mystical East and is one of the central designs of Eastern religion. In fact, every time you use a wheeled tool, you send a prayer and a benediction winging its way up to the Great Bodhisattva and the Hindu pantheon.

Of course, if you are smoking at the time (Lucky Strikes being the preferred brand--with the mystic circle on the package) not only are you assured of extra munificences but your prayers ascend the column of smoke that much faster.

Noah

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#71 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 12:08 pm

Noah,

I don't smoke. Tobacco or anything. WHAT did you say YOU were smoking?...TR

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Re: Tools of the Trade

#72 Post by jake » Fri Jan 25, 2002 12:48 pm

A couple more "stitch pricks".

The top one is made from a creaser. I ground and smoothed one side so it would butt up to the vamp and not leave a mark on it.

The bottom one is from George Barnsley & Sons. They call it a stitch prick, but it's used a little differently. Use it to mark your welt, then after hand stitching your outsole, go back and use in to separate and tighten your stitches. You still have to use a tool like the top one if you want to make the horizontal grooves. I guess I've confused the hell out of most people.....sorry!
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#73 Post by jake » Fri Jan 25, 2002 12:54 pm

Didn't want people new to the trade to think you couldn't find some of the hammers that have been illustrated. They are still available brand new........
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Re: Tools of the Trade

#74 Post by jake » Fri Jan 25, 2002 1:02 pm

I'm sorry.....

The top hammer is a true "crispin" hammer Al described.

The bottom hammer is what I call a french pattern. I may get in trouble over that, but I believe that's what it is.

Tex Robin

Re: Tools of the Trade

#75 Post by Tex Robin » Fri Jan 25, 2002 1:07 pm

Jake,
Yes the top one here is what I call a Crispin
hammer. I used to use them to drive the sprigs(small finishing nails) in the small ladies heels, but haven't even seen any of those heels lately. The Crispin is also handy in repair to drive the 5/8 clinch nails. TR

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