miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

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Bootmaker1
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1101 Post by Bootmaker1 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:38 pm

D. W. Thank you for your reply. If I can’t talk my customer out of full stingrays, I will give my best effort to the edges.
Thanks again
Don

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1102 Post by kpk » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:37 pm

Does anyone know where I can get lug soles like this in the States (see attachments)? I'm searching for terms like "commando", "dainite", "itshide", etc. but I can't seem to find a supplier. I'm looking for the thin smoke grey lugged sole that I can glue onto an existing leather sole. Thanks.
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IMG_3318.PNG
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1103 Post by dw » Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:39 pm

kpk » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:37 pm wrote:Does anyone know where I can get lug soles like this in the States (see attachments)? I'm searching for terms like "commando", "dainite", "itshide", etc. but I can't seem to find a supplier. I'm looking for the thin smoke grey lugged sole that I can glue onto an existing leather sole. Thanks.
If it has to be grey, it may not be available. It is almost certainly a manufacturers proprietary product. If grey is not a must, try searching for "Vibram outsole sources", or some variation. Or contact Quabaug directly.

Beyond that I know for a fact, that almost any supplier of shoe repair components...such as Oregon Leather or McPhereson's...carries Vibram products and lug soles specifically.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1104 Post by shoemaker84 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:03 am

Hello again good people. Great to be back here. In short, it was a trying period for me the later part of 2016; managed to get over my illness despite a recurrence. Felling much better now knowing that carefully managing my physical health would be the way forward. I am glad that I can get back to where I left off. Without digressing further, I would like ask a few things here. I hope this is the right thread.

I am putting together a list of essential tools needed for shoemaking. I know that there are tools that one would add gradually into his/her arsenal as time
Passes. There is high chance of me going out there to get hold as many tools as possible on impulse. I believe that there are tools that are a must to get started. I have listed the items below which I felt absolutely necessary. I seek your guidance as to what would NOT be necessary at this point in time.

1.Clicker's knife
2.Skiving knife
3.Lasting pincers/pliers
4.French Hammer
5.Double faced Hammer
6.Welting and Short(punch) Awls
7.Needles
8.Bone Knife
9.Welt knife
10.Compass
11.Nipper
12.Spirit Lamp
13.Plough(something similar to the feathering knife)
14.Feathering knife
15.Paring knife
16.Tack lifter
17.Rasp
18.Welt beater

I have left out the edge irons and the usual finishing tools that are commonly used to achieve
a clean, professional finish as found on dress shoes.

I am quite confused as to the length of the awls. They measure anything from 2 to 4 inches.
What is the length I should be getting?

Do feel free to add any tools I have missed out. I thank you all for taking time to read this lengthy post.

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1105 Post by dw » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:45 am

shoemaker84 » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:03 am wrote:
► Show Spoiler


shoemaker84,

I like your list. It's basic yet comprehensive. I wouldn't change anything--you'll find a use for every item. But if pressed, I would say that you probably don't need:

#5 a double faced hammer...just use the single face twice. :crackup: Seriously, a good polished faced hammer with a polished peen/pane is far more useful. A Hammond 00 is where I would start.

#7 needles...for what? Shoemakers don't use needles they use bristles.

#8 bone knife. I don't know what that is.

#11 nippers. I have several pair of nippers but the real question is, or ought to be: side nippers or end nippers, sharp or blunted? If you want nippers for pulling tacks then a side nipper is probably the way to go and then you don't need a tack lifter. Sharp nippers in general are more or less beside-the-point. What nails / tacks are you wanting to cut and doesn't that imply you'll leave part of the nail in the shoe?

#13 Plough If it is similar to a feathering knife (not entirely certain in my lexicon), why not use a feathering knife? For that matter, a feathering knife is similar to a French edger and the French edger can be used for a wide variety of chores with as much or more grace and facility than a feathering knife. I like tools that are task specific but esp. when starting out, a multitasker...and I'm not talking about make-shift tools here...can be a great asset. Beyond that, a good, simple welt / rhan knife can often do everything that a feathering knife can do.

Length of awls...this often depends on the thickness of the awl--shorter awls are almost always thinner awls. So, in turn, a lot depends on what kind of work you're doing (men's / women's, dress / work), what size lingel (inseaming thread) you're going to use, how thick the insole will be, etc.. Better question is "how many different types of awl do I need?"--sewing, inseaming, heel, pegging, square. Having a range of size in all of these is probably wise.

And while there can be many different roads to the top of the mountain and many different ways to do a thing...rest assured they are not all equal. A lot of tools such as clicking knives and skiving knives etc., can, and esp. by newbies often are, "fudged" with...again, what I call 'make-shift." Scalpels with replaceable blades instead of a dedicated clicker knife. Tandy (read "amateur") skiving gadgets...again with replaceable blades. Drill presses in lieu of dedicated hole punches. This kind of thing. The list is endless and sometimes I am puzzled as to why duct tape hasn't yet found its place among those who advocate for such expediencies.

On the other hand, I readily admit that I don't keep up with all the "advances" in shoemaking going on around the world.

:wink_smile:
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1106 Post by lancepryor » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:55 am

You will also need a punch for the eyelets, assuming you are doing a lace-up shoe or boot.

In terms of knives, a large variety really isn't necessary. The same good, sharp knife can be used for clicking, skiving, trimming etc. Of course, application-specific knives can add a bit more speed or efficiency to certain tasks, but imo they are not necessary.

You'll also need something with which to sharpen your knives as well as a leather strop mounted on a flat surface.

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1107 Post by dw » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:28 pm

lancepryor » Tue Jan 10, 2017 10:55 am wrote:You will also need a punch for the eyelets, assuming you are doing a lace-up shoe or boot.

In terms of knives, a large variety really isn't necessary. The same good, sharp knife can be used for clicking, skiving, trimming etc. Of course, application-specific knives can add a bit more speed or efficiency to certain tasks, but imo they are not necessary.

You'll also need something with which to sharpen your knives as well as a leather strop mounted on a flat surface.
Lance is quite right...up to a point, IMO. I guess it depends on how you work and what you're working at. In my opinion and experience, a clicking knife does a d*mn poor job of skiving. And any skiving knife capable of wide, flat skives, can't really make tight, small radius cuts with any finesse, if at all.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1108 Post by shoemaker84 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:57 am

Thank you dw & lance.

dw,

I now see why you would consider leaving those out. The list was compiled based off my limited knowledge coupled with information out there on the web.

#5 I will heed your advice and go with something similar to the Hammond 00. Would a similar hammer from Barnsley be an ideal substitute?

#7 Boar bristles? Should I get the needles for misc leather work such as bags etc?

#8 Apologies. It should have been listed as 'sleeking bone'

#11 I want a tool to remove the the tacks. So it will be either the side nippers/tack lifter. Would it be right to say that a sharp nipper is the right tool to snip off protruding wood pegs, once they are driven in? I do not plan to leave nails in the construction of the shoe.

#13 Got it. I will go with a welt knife then.

I will be focusing on men's non-dress footwear(boots, derbies etc); women's heels etc. I read somewhere online that getting a square/stitching awl 3 5/8" in length and welting awl measuring 3 1/4" would be a good start together with the appropriate thread. So, I will go with a sewing, inseaming, heel, pegging, square awl. Lengthwise, lets say they have 10 different lengths for an inseaming awl, should I get one each of the shortest and the longest?

More importantly, I need to get a good lasting pincer. Brand names have been thrown around. Schein? Barnsley? Berg(if i can find one)?

Thanks once again dw!

lance,

Thanks for adding the punch and the knife sharpener to the list! I feel that way too acquiring a broad range of knives; trying to get this list shrunken as much as possible(including knives).

I will follow-up with a few other questions shortly. I will be extremely grateful if you good people could be kind enough to share your thoughts/opinions/suggestions. Thank you once again.

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1109 Post by dw » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:52 pm

shoemaker84 » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:57 am wrote:Thank you dw & lance.

dw,
► Show Spoiler


#5 So, The Hammond 00 is the smallest they made, AFAIK. I love the weight and the size. But an 0 might work just as well. A similar size Barnsley would be just as good. And a good small Barnsley London Pattern will do just as well. Thing about hammers is that each shape and each size has its uses. I polish the faces of my Hammonds and my London Patterns, and even my French hammers. But there may be a situation where you would not want a polished face...although short of driving pegs or tacks I can't think of one. That said, you could use an additional Hammond 00 (or two) for those kinds of jobs.

And having said that...here is about 25% of my collection (most of the other 75% are duplicates)
DSC01305.JPG
altered French hammer for pegging, Hammond 00, London, French, German
DSC01306.JPG
Beatdown hammer, tack hammer
#7 Boar's bristles are Traditional and work well but are sometimes hard to find esp. in longer lengths. Used for inseaming and welt stitching. Many shoemakers have gone to 6"-9" lengths of, say, 30# monofilament fishing line, which works just as well, IMO.

Other makers who don't want to be bothered with learning the Traditional techniques have gone to wire bristles (you can even make your own from twisted steel guitar string). Personally, I don't know what the point of steel bristles is. You might as well use bent harness needles (seen that), at that point.

A boar's bristle and / or esp. a mono bristle will turn the corner and go through holes where you would have to force the steel bristle and forcing makes for a lot of frustrations when you're trying to get into a rhythm.

Needles for other work such as harness etc., are good to have, although I often use a twisted steel bristle made of the finest guitar string for fine upper work. The one thing about needles in such circumstances is that if you're good with a thimble you may not need to use an awl. But leather is, by nature, tougher than cloth and I always use a very fine sewing awl on upper work.

Duncan McHarg or Al Saguto could instruct you further in how to approach hand sewing uppers.

#8 I just bought an old cow leg bone from the butcher and let it hang in the sun for a couple of days while the yellow jackets stripped it. Then I cut it to shape and polished. Like all my other excesses, I have about ten of these in various sizes and shapes at different stations around the shop. A hard, fine grained, dense wood such as some forms of rosewood can be useful in the same situations.

Re: tack lifters...I have tack lifters and pigs feet and although I occasionally use them, a sharp point (and you may have grind it) side nipper is actually far more effective at removing tacks, esp. flush driven tacks, than a tack lifter. And one of my prize tools for clipping the tops of pegs is a side nipper that I ground such that there was no bottom bevel in the blades...so that they cut flush.

Re: lasting pincers...I have Bergs, I have Barnsleys, I have Scheins. I love them all. I also have Christiansons and USMs and an assortment of different shapes and sizes. Main thing is angle of leverage and width of jaw. You might want to start with something in-between but I have Scheins that have 3/4" wide jaw and Bergs with jaws that are only 3/16" wide.
DSC01276.JPG
Christianson bulldog, Berg, Schein, old USM, new USM
Awls....think about what you're doing. You will seldom need the longest or the heaviest. Similarly the shortest and finest. So one or two in middle range sizes might be best. Bear in mind however that they break, Lose one in the middle of inseaming and you'll be cursing a blue streak. Esp. once you get a handle on what you want, buying 10 of one size, and esp. if they are vintage, is the better part of wisdom. Newer iterations are not so good.

Speaking of knives I have probably in the neighborhood of a dozen uniquely shaped knives in the shop (and many more duplicates). I am amazed at how often I use even the more obscure ones.
DSC01353.JPG
DSC01337.JPG
DSC01344.JPG
One tool that that hasn't been mentioned but that you will surely want is a welt prick. The bottom one I made and the other is vintage commercial...
DSC01352.JPG
Well, this show and tell could go on forever...I have an obsession with tools...and you don't need all that to get started, but it shows you some options.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1110 Post by shoemaker84 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:43 pm

Thank you so much once again for the pictures and explanations, dw!

#5 Noted.

#7 I found a guy selling some boar bristles 7-8 inches in length. Would that be fine? If not I will just go with the monofilament fish line. I am keen to learn the traditional methods if the required materials are attainable.

#8 Interesting. I can get that done.

I will keep in mind that the side nipper's bottom bevel should be ground.

As for the lasting pincers, I will keep note of getting one in-between. Berg pincers do appear once in awhile on ebay. Might keep an eye out for those and get them if they are in a decent condition. It will be either Barnsley or Schein.

I feel that with the awls, I am still not able to pick out the right ones. Below are two pages from an old Barnsley catalogue. I will be grateful if you could point out what I should get. :brickwall:

https://imagebin.ca/v/38fLU4RK5udF

https://imagebin.ca/v/38fM7685s5pD

Added a welt prick. For the knives, I was thinking about getting these made by Tina. Again, Berg is hard to get hold of and even if they do come available, the asking price would be obscene.

Phew, getting a decent setup for shoemaking seems quite a challenge- at least for me. Lets not even talk about acquiring these.

I can't thank you enough dw for generously sharing your opinions and even going to the extend of taking some pictures of your tools to aid your explanations! Thank you!

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1111 Post by dw » Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:27 pm

shoemaker84 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:43 pm wrote:Thank you so much once again for the pictures and explanations, dw!

#5 Noted.

#7 I found a guy selling some boar bristles 7-8 inches in length. Would that be fine? If not I will just go with the monofilament fish line. I am keen to learn the traditional methods if the required materials are attainable.
Yes, 7-8" bristles should suffice but be careful some old stock can be quite brittle. Tell the truth, I learned on boars bristles but prefer the mono.

I feel that with the awls, I am still not able to pick out the right ones. Below are two pages from an old Barnsley catalogue. I will be grateful if you could point out what I should get. :brickwall:
Sewing awls are what you need for inseaming. I have a random selection running between 2-1/2" to 3-1/2". Mostly I use the 3-1/2" but again depends on the diameter (different manufacturers or time periods).

I also use inseaming awls for inseaming. Mine are almost all 3-1/2" long. Bear in mind that you can, and I do, file or grind them down not only to sharpen but to refine the thickness. Beware of destroying the temper, however.

Almost as important are the handles / hafts. I have Barnsleys but never did care for them. This shape is so much better in terms of leverage and comfort. Unfortunately, while an old and revered pattern no one makes them. I turned most of these. Dick Anderson of Thornapple River Tool Works turns a few and sells them...if he's still in business.
DSC01327.JPG
pegging awl with hand turned osage orange haft; German "sickle" awl, boxwood haft; inseaming awl, hand turned cherry haft; sewing awl, hand turned rosewood screw haft.

Added a welt prick. For the knives, I was thinking about getting these made by Tina. Again, Berg is hard to get hold of and even if they do come available, the asking price would be obscene.
Tinas work fine.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1112 Post by shoemaker84 » Sat Jan 14, 2017 1:11 pm

dw,

Thanks yet again for the clarification. I will be printing all these posts on paper for easy future reference.

Will bear that in mind when getting the bristles. For the knife, Tina it is.

More importantly, for the awls, I managed to gather some info on the following:

1.closing awl(slender round body and a curved oval point)
2.inseaming awl(full bend)
3.sewing awl(medium bend)
4.heel awl(mild bend)
5.square/stitching awl
6.hook awl(could this be the 'sickle' awl you were talking about?)
7.square/oval peg awl
8.sewing awls with 'eye' on the oval tip point.

I believe I have identified(in bold) above the right ones to get based on your post. I have gone with 3 1/2" in length for both. Might get the 2 1/2" ones just to cover the two ends of the range. Wise move for a start, dw?

Seems like I will be very much set to get things started.

I did try contacting Thornapple Boots about the shoe lasts. No response from those guys. Are they in business at this moment?

Thank you!

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1113 Post by dw » Sat Jan 14, 2017 3:15 pm

If you click on the photo above (the one with the awls and awl hafts) the photo will display larger and you can even click on it and it will get larger still. The second haft down has a German (sickle) awl mounted.

I don't know what a hook awl brings to the game (we used to call them "jerk" needles) and eyed sewing awls are pretty much in the same category.

You might be able to buy lasts from Dick at Thornapple but I mentioned him because he is the only one I know who actively makes awls and awl hafts (here)
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1114 Post by shoemaker84 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:20 pm

dw,

Thank you. I went ahead and enlarged them. :thumb:

A few more minor clarifications on these:

1. Is the heel awl actually necessary?

2. Could I venture out to say that the square awl is actually a stitching awl with a rectangular cross section?

3. Also, earlier on I read about the Wisvo(German made) awls in one of the awls' thread. Were they any good?

I have yet to hear from Thornapple regarding both the lasts and awls. It has been a week or so. I might have to call them in a day or so.

My sincere apologies if I had to ask some of these questions. Looking up for tools and their purposes has been an uphill task when it is referred and named differently from one manufacturer to another. Thank you in advance dw!

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1115 Post by dw » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:58 pm

shoemaker84 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:20 pm wrote:dw,
► Show Spoiler
My sincere apologies if I had to ask some of these questions. Looking up for tools and their purposes has been an uphill task when it is referred and named differently from one manufacturer to another. Thank you in advance dw!
No need for an apology. That's what we are here for.

1...I don't think so.

2...Sewing awl, inseam awl, heel awl, etc., make holes like this: - - - - . Square awls make holes like this: | | | |. German sickle awls make diamond shaped holes.

3...I don't know.

I always call Thornapple.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1116 Post by dmcharg » Thu Jan 19, 2017 7:49 pm

G'day Shoemaker84,
Here's a link to a photo I put up of a square awl. As you can see the cutting edge is in line with the length of the awl, as opposed to a sewing awl where the cutting edge goes side to side across the awl.
download/file.php?id=6164&mode=view

Heel awls are needed more if you plan to sew down through the layers of a stacked leather heel, anchoring behind the inseam stitches on the upper :)
Chriss's heel sewing 1.jpg
Chriss's heel sewing 2.jpg
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1117 Post by dmcharg » Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:04 pm

Also, for skiving on, an orphaned, glass, casserole pot lid works very well. Go to your local Opp Shops (Thrift shops) as they sometimes have tubs of these orphaned lids and you can pick them up for a few dollars. Unscrew the knob and there should only be a small hole left behind in the middle, and give it a good scrub with detergent to remove cooking grease etc.
IMG_6449.JPG
IMG_6450.JPG
Being right handed I skive on the left hand side of the glass as it sits on my lap, with my right hand clear above the middle third.
Cheers
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1118 Post by martin » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:59 am

That's a cool idea there with the lid!

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1119 Post by shoemaker84 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:37 am

dw,

Thank you. That explains my confusion.

Duncan,

G'day my friend. Thank you for taking time to put up these pictures to illustrate your point. I was trying to figure out what the heel awl was for. Is sewing the heel as such better than nailing it down with lemonwood pegs?

I did see the casserole pot lid idea for skiving in another thread here in HCC; I have some lying around my place; would be excellent for a beginner like myself.

I feel compelled to say that I have learnt so much from you good people here in this short period. It is a privilege to have individuals like dw and Duncan around here sharing their knowledge with aspiring shoemakers like myself. :beers:

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1120 Post by dw » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:30 am

shoemaker84 » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:37 am wrote:dw,

Thank you. That explains my confusion.
► Show Spoiler


I can't and don't mean to speak for Duncan. But while I'm here and at it, I hope you and he will forgive me for offering another perspective.

IMO, use of the heel awl is just an older, more historically correct way of doing things. Almost no one that I know of does it that way anymore. Is it better than pegs? I dunno, I suspect not all that much, if at all. That said, it is an admirable technique, and a valuable skill to have.

And it is dern sure better than using iron nails to attach the heel. Again, IMO.

The casserole lid is a great idea for skiving in the lap. It allows the scraps to fall away from the knife.

I skive on the bench. And fifty years ago or so, my teacher was using the screen from an old TV to skive on the bench. That screen was shaped much like the casserole lid, although larger. So I suppose you could skive on the bench with the lid, as well.

When I first began, those kinds of TV screens were near impossible to come by (the day of the separate tube TVs had come and gone) so I found alternatives. One of which is to embed a cider jug about a third of the way into the top of the bench (cut a rectangular hole smaller than the diameter of the jug). This makes a great skiving surface, with scraps and crumbs falling away from the knife, and also provides a straight shot...if you want one...for those long skives where you've got the exact angle on the knife and want to run with it.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1121 Post by dmcharg » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:30 pm

Wheee! I'm 'Almost a no-one' :rofl:

'Iron nails? Feeelthy iron nails! I spit on iron nails' :)
Actually, brass escutcheon pins work well for lasting (come in several sizes in the picture framing department of our large hardware chain in Oz) as they don't stain the leather.

But seriously Folks; One of the other advantages to using a curved glass surface for skiving, whether pot lid, cider jug or telly screen, is that the skiving hand's knuckles are clear of the surface. Not so much of an issue if you're using a flexible skiving knife, but is when a stiffer knife is employed. I've cut a couple of flexy ones out of an old hand saw, but I need to get around to hardening and tempering them before they'll hold an edge (cut them close to the spine of the saw. The teeth were a mess and it was going to cost a fair bit to re-cut it, so.....). My usual skiving knife is a Japanese woodworker's single bevel knife. Completely ridged but I usually have it shaving sharp, and on the pot lid glass skives very well. I also use it for most other cutting tasks as well; clicking, sole and heel shaping, fine trimming of lasts I'm carving etc.

Cheers
Duncan

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1122 Post by dw » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:55 am

dmcharg » Fri Jan 20, 2017 11:30 pm wrote:Wheee! I'm 'Almost a no-one' :rofl:
Well, you are unique. :crackup: That's what I like about you.

In truth, many if not most historical shoemakers...Al Saguto is another who comes to mind...probably sew the heel on. But it is not a technique that is practiced much among contemporary shoemakers...at least not that I know of. And it is almost always associated with a turned rand, is it not?

Again, it is a skill that I respect, revere actually, same as being able to hand stitch, by eye, at 18+ stitches per inch. Please don't take offense.
'Iron nails? Feeelthy iron nails! I spit on iron nails' :) Actually, brass escutcheon pins work well for lasting (come in several sizes in the picture framing department of our large hardware chain in Oz) as they don't stain the leather.
Me too. But the real problem is that if you leave iron nails in the shoe...and many do (it's a common "modern" practice)...it will cause the leather of the insole (if leather is even used for the insole) to turn black and get brittle, eventually fragmenting, even unto dust. The iron rusts and rust is a slow fire--it scorches and burns the leather. (I'm sure that's not a scientific explanation but it is a pretty fair description of what happens.)

That said, I use iron tacks, and steel and even stainless steel nails, while lasting. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing that....as long as they are pulled and don't remain in the shoe where salt water (perspiration) and heat can begin the breakdown.

And brass...esp. if it is solid brass not just brass coated...is not subject to rust, so even if you leave brass in the shoe, no harm, no foul.

My objection to iron nails is based on the long term good of the shoe. And on the iron, not the nail aspect of it. Once you know what iron nails can, and will, do a shoemaker can no longer claim innocence / ignorance and the gates of Eden are forever closed. :old&wise:

Tioraidh :beers:
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1123 Post by dw » Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:47 am

Another thing that should be mentioned about skiving on a "dome" is that if your skiving knife is curved (as many of the best are...for the same reason Duncan mentioned above--knuckles) ) the cutting edge is curved against, or in opposition to, the curve of the glass. So the effective cut is reduced to a point rather than a longer space as would be the case with a flat blade...esp. on a flat surface. It all adds up to better and more precise control.
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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1124 Post by shoemaker84 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:06 am

dw,

As always, thank you! I do agree with you on the heels being stitched with an heel awl. I am in no position to make conclusive statements as to whether it would be worth the extra work. However, form a lay person's perspective, I believe that in doing so it could further increase the integrity of the heel block?? In other words, the stitched might just hold the stack of leather used to form the heel together. Would pegging along be enough?

On the topic of awls, I have a question on the proper size haft that should be used. I might sound very silly with this as I have no idea how to size them. Please forgive me. Here are the numbers:

The awl handle has a tapered ferrule and it measures 3 1/2" in length. Fitted with an awl measuring 3 1/2", the overall length of the awl + handle comes up to 6 1/4" (3/4" of the tang pressed inside the handle). From what I gathered, the awl blade should not be beyond 1/4" - 1/2" from the finger tip with the hand in the stitching position. I measured my palm :crackup: and it is 3 1/2" wide.

Is there a neat trick out there to ensure a proper fit when you good people purchase an awl haft on its own or one fitted with an awl?

Duncan,

Thanks again. Note taken on the skiving and nails, Sir. I enjoyed the other posts you have made on last making using the stock knife.

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Re: miscellaneous tips, advice, and cautions

#1125 Post by dw » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:32 am

One of the things that I have always thought worthwhile about the shoe as it evolved (up to a certain point in time) was that it was a sturdy and reliable construct that nevertheless recognized that the shoe's first function is to protect the foot. Because the shoe is always in contact with the harsh reality of the world, parts of it wear out relatively quickly...in lieu of the foot itself wearing out.

So some parts have to be replaced on a regular basis over the course of the life of the shoe. Heels and soles the obvious example. This is natural. This is "as intended."

In our society, and even in history to some extent, the replacement is often done by someone other than the original maker. Maybe even someone with only a partial skill set in shoemaking...such as a cobbler.

I don't do sewn heels, so I recognize that there may be another perspective on this issue. But it seems to me that when the heel needs to be replaced, the harder it is to re-do it the way it was originally done, the less likely it is going to be done well or inexpensively. And in such cases, the consumer will often not have it done at all. Which significantly reduces the life and utility of the shoe.

I don't know a cobbler anywhere that is ready for sewn heels. But they can all drive a nail and many of the better ones can drive a peg.

Is a pegged heel block as strong as a sewn heel block? Maybe, maybe not. All I can tell you is that after near on to 50 years of building heels, up to and including 2-1/'2 height...entirely by pegging...I've never had one come off accidentally or before its time. And, by and large, these are boots (and heels) that are "ridden hard and put up wet." Worked, IOW, to a far more extreme degree than dress shoes.

Awl hafts are very personal. You have to try one...or two or ten...before you know what fits you. However, the awls hafts that I use and that I think are the best, are held in a very specific way that may not be immediately obvious. And which determines, to a large degree, whether you think the awl haft fits your hand or not.

The "mushroom cap" butt fits snugly in the hollow of your palm, and the thumb, forefinger and second finger cradle the ferrule...almost like your fingers would hold a pen (although, again, the butt of the haft is inside the hand).

The palm drives the awl...straight forward. You should never, ever, "lever" the awl or the awl haft. Nor wiggle the point of the awl until it has emerged fully from the leather you are "holing." The "old dead guys" warn about this.

No other grip that I have tried facilitates this driving motion so well or tends to discourage the forcing of the awl blade.

This is an old, old photo and not a very good one but it is the only one I have (it's hard to hold a camera in one hand and photograph the other), but it is pretty close to what I mean.
inseam3.jpg
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