Bottoming techniques

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#501 Post by LarryPeterson » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:44 pm

Paul,
Thanx for this wonderful posting. I must try this out on my next pair. If you will agree to keep up the great work, I will try to stay sober. ok?

I wish you well, LP

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#502 Post by paul » Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:46 am

Thank you Larry.
I've been working my way through my queue, while looking forward to taking on another pair with this sole construction.
If you do wish to give it a go, and have any questions about it, please don't hesitate to contact me. My shop phone number is 928 442-1213.
Regards,
Paul

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#503 Post by dw » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:22 am

Haven't done this in a while but I had the photos (an exercise in using a smartphone as a camera), so...FWIW. This is mostly about dealing with the surplus around the toe and heel. Just posting photos but open to questions :
20170120_092347 (1024 x 768).jpg
20170120_092836 (1024 x 768).jpg
20170123_094008 (1024 x 768).jpg
20170124_092343 (1024 x 768).jpg
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#504 Post by homeboy » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:46 am

Great job with that smartphone! Now.....keep'em coming!
What one man has done....another can do.

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#505 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:27 am

G'day All,
I did a search for 'Shanks' and this thread seemed to have the most references to them, so I hope it's OK putting up a DIY Bamboo shanks series. I experimented and developed this method for some shoemaking students in a nearby city (well 150kms away; is that nearby?). Personally I use leather shanks very successfully, but for anyone who would like to try this, feel welcome. It will be in a number of parts as there are about 20 photos (I'm very thorough :) )

Cheers
Duncan

This is a DIY, but if you’re making shoes, then you probably have the tools and the skills to do this. It takes about +- 1/2 hour to make three shanks (the reasons for three will become clear), and because you are making them you have complete understanding of how it’s done and can customise each one for exactly your needs, and you are never stuck for a supplier, as long as the raw materials are available which, at the moment, they very much are.
There are quite a few photos, not because it’s difficult but, because I also show some of my road to discovery with this project.
I have made bamboo bows for archery before, and made my arrows from bamboo canes, which means I was familiar with heat bending (the canes for the arrows don’t come straight), but the extra size and thickness for the shanks proved to be a learning curve. But after half a dozen experiments (and charing one shank in particular :) ), I found the easiest and best way.

1.First stop, a hardware shop that sells bamboo for garden features etc! A big chain in Australia sells big bamboo, both Black Bamboo and the more usual cream one. Black Bamboo tends to be a bit denser and harder, so may make an equally strong shank as the cream but with a little less bulk. The Black Bamboo I have I’m using for bows, so I made them out of some cream that I had in my workroom.
Bamboo shanks 1.JPG
2 Look at the ends of the ‘boo. You are wanting one with a tight fibre structure below the outer skin (top of photo). This one looks pretty good. Some will resemble closer to a third to half way down this picture.
Bamboo shanks 2.JPG
3 This ‘boo is 10cm by 180cm and you can see by the shank slat (long enough for 3 shanks) I brought from home (leaning up against it) that it fits between the nodes. It also fits about 10 times around the ‘boo giving you a potential maximum of 150 shanks, or 75 pairs of shoes, for $29, or 39c, in materials, per pair.
Bamboo shanks 3.jpg

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#506 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:44 am

Part 2.

4. Split out a piece the width you want for the shanks. An old blunt kitchen knife works really well for this. You don’t want a sharp knife, as that will be more likely to make it’s own way through the ‘boo. A blunt one causes the ‘boo to split, following it’s own fibres.
Bamboo shanks 5.jpg
5. I found that thicknessing it by splitting it about 1/3 to 2/5 in from the outer surface gave a truer split, and should be quite strong enough.
Bamboo shanks 6.jpg
6. I tried splitting at the 1/2 way point…
Bamboo shanks 7.jpg

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#507 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:49 am

Part 3.

7. …and it ran off to the inside. This is not the end of the world. Flip it over…
Bamboo shanks 8.jpg
8. …and do the same from the other end. This should get it very close to parallel.
Bamboo shanks 9.jpg
9. Watch out for fibres etc along the edges, and sand with abrasive stuck to a piece of wood. This is the result of a 5mm ‘boo splinter I got while sanding with the paper in my hand. Hurt a lot more getting it out (in three pieces) than when it went in (which still hurt a lot). So keep the edges smooth.
Bamboo shanks 12.JPG

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#508 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:54 am

Part 4.

10. Grab a heat gun that doesn’t mind being on for a couple of minutes, and put it on low (if it only has two settings like mine) or medium (if it has three). You don’t want to burn the ‘boo, just soften it.
Apply bending tension to the slat so that as it softens it will start to give. Don’t overly force it, work with it. You will get the hang of how much flex you need to be giving it quickly.
The slat is quite long so that I can get a good grip on it, as this stuff is strong. But (Learning moment) bending at one end still required that too much ‘boo was in the outer hand…
Bamboo shanks 13.JPG
11. Nice bend, but I wouldn’t be able to get three shanks out of it with this method.
Bamboo shanks 14.JPG
12. Vice grips work a treat, enabling you to get the bend in the right place at the outer ends of the slat. It turned out that the welder’s gloves weren’t absolutely necessary if you take care. Keep the ‘boo moving over the area you want for the bend. Remember, we don’t want to burn this, just soften it.
Bamboo shanks 15.JPG

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#509 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:58 am

Part 5.

13. Holding it just behind a last to compare curves.
Bamboo shanks 16.JPG
14. Here you can see the difference between the end held in my hand (Left) and in the vice grips (Right).
Bamboo shanks 17.JPG
15. So I re-heated the dud bend…
Bamboo shanks 18.JPG

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#510 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:03 am

Part 6.

15. And straightened it, before putting a new bend in the correct place. Make sure the ‘boo is cool before re-working near it.
Bamboo shanks 19.JPG
16. Then the 3rd bend in the middle, moving backwards and forwards; bends 1 and 2 are in my hands.
Bamboo shanks 20.JPG
17. A ‘three shank slat’. I then used a jeweller’s saw to cut it into three, but a hacksaw will work just as well. The ends were tapered and rounded on 60 and 120grit ‘Toughbak’ stuck to pine, but if you have access to a line finisher or drum sander you’ll find it even faster.
Keeping in mind the archery analogy, a bow needs to be thinest at the ends and thickest in the middle, in a smooth blend, to distribute the bending stresses and prevent it from breaking. A shank works the same way, and this feathering of the ends also helps it fit into the shoe without bulges.
Bamboo shanks 21.jpg

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#511 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 2:05 am

Part 7.

18. All the equipment used, with the three shanks and a blank slat.
Hope this has been useful, and feel free to ask any questions.
Bamboo shanks 23.jpg
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#512 Post by paul » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:13 am

Duncan! Wow!
What a great project and contribution to the "body of knowledge"!
Clear and concise, and easy to follow. I was imagining myself running down to Home Depot to buy a length of "boo! (I love that)

I'd probably pick up a new heat gun (mine surely would be tested to be on that long. You said it was a 30minute project? About half go that time then, the gun being on?
I'd probably also pick up welders gloves anyway.

I'm curious about the range application for a 'boo shank, for equal strength and support. The heel height on the last you showed looks be be somewhere around 30cm? What have your thoughts been about that?

Thank you very much for this wonderful presentation. Great way to start the day!

With regards,
Paul

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#513 Post by dw » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:34 am

Duncan,

Amazing! This is one of the best photo essays /DIY on this forum. I am going to try this...if I can find some bamboo.

Several questions if I may:

First, on almost ever steel shank I have ever seen (or used) the toe end of the shank has a slight reverse curve to conform to the change of direction from the waist of the last to the ball joint. And, depending on the last, maybe even a slighter reverse bend to conform to the heel "radius." Do you create these curves to accommodate the last when making a bamboo shank?

Second, I am not all that familiar with the properties of bamboo...would soaking the bamboo prior to shaping help it bend easier?

And more specifically what happens when a bent bamboo shank gets wet? Will it loose its curvature / shape?

If not, I should think it would be a superior material to steel or leather...and at nearly any heel height.

Finally...did I miss it?... can you provide a diameter measurement of the cane you are using and the distance between nodes?

Thank you!
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#514 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:35 pm

Thanks Paul and DW,
Glad you guys liked it; I was afraid I was going into too much detail, but, really there's almost no such thing :)
The heat gun was only on for a few minutes at a time, while doing the actual bending. The rest of the time involved was the marking out, splitting blanks, (bending), cutting the individual shanks, filing/ sanding to shape.
I called it 'boo to cut down on typing :) It's not Australian slang, even though we do contract most longish words and names: Mozzie/Mosquito , Cozzie/bathers (bathing costume), Sickie/ taking a sick day and for Track-suit/ Trackies, or if you're just using the pants they're Trackie Dacks ('dacks' being slang for pants/shorts etc) :crackup: If you said "I've got some 'boo back at home" to an Ozzie, they wouldn't know what you were talking about.
Standard leather 'Riggers' gloves should give you all the protection you need, and give you better 'feedback' with the bending. Once I was using the vice-grips for the ends I realised things weren't getting hot where my hands were, and the middle bend was easy.

In part 1 I list that the bamboo is 10cm diameter, and around 6' tall. It would be approx. 32cms between nodes.
I think I would probably put the ball end reverse curves into the shanks before doing the main bends. If you have the finished measurements well worked out, you should be able to put the small bends into the spaces between the shanks. The important thing is to keep it as a long, multi shank, strip as it is much easier to work and control in this form.
Bamboo shanks 15a.jpg
Bamboo shanks 15a.jpg (60.73 KiB) Viewed 678 times

I haven't tried soaking the 'boo, but, in my experience with a little bit of archery, it does seem to be water resistant. I think I'll bend one up and soak it for you, DW, and post the results, with before and after photos and curve lines. I'll leave it in water for a day and see what happens. Considering I have no trouble with strictly using leather for my shanks, and the ones in my everyday shoes I only made out of hammered insole leather (to try it out), I shouldn't think bamboo would give any problems, especially as they make shanks out of regular wood.
Stay tuned
Cheers

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#515 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 4:46 pm

Just realised I missed one of your questions, Paul.
I presume you meant the heel height on the pictured last looked to be *3cm*, not 30cm (1 foot) ! ( Just went and measured it and it's 3.5 to 4 cm, so good guess). The shanks I made were rock solid; it would probably be wise to thin them a little so they had a little 'give' in use. But that said, I therefore think they could cope with any heel height you could throw at them.
Cheers

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#516 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:11 pm

OK, I've bent up another 'shank', this time with a secondary curve at the bottom as per DW's comment. I then used my parallax free pencil to trace around it before submerging it in water (stuck to the bottom of the container with Blu-Tac, so it doesn't float) where it will stay for 24hours (Take that, Bamboo!) and we'll then compare curves.
IMG_6663.JPG
IMG_6667.JPG
Further about the pencil following...

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#517 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:23 pm

I've noticed, in shoemaking texts both old and new, that they mention tracing out the customer's feet while taking into account the thickness of the pencil; so either deduct that amount, or tilt the pencil such that the lead is in line with the pencil's outside. My line of thinking went; "Why not just get rid of the problem?" so I sanded off the timber on one side till it *just* touched the lead, coated it with shellac and used a knife to sharpen it just from the 'full' timber side thereby giving me a pencil with zero parallax. This also makes it very easy getting the tread line of the foot.
See Below.
IMG_6664.JPG
IMG_6666.JPG
IMG_6665.JPG

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#518 Post by paul » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:02 pm

Thanks for your thorough answers Duncan.
I've noticed the penchant for shortening amongst Aussies!

Yes, I did mean 3cm, thank you for your gracious reply

I saw a lot of wooden shanks in the 80s, many if not most of them broken in Western boots. Your 'boo seems like it would be stronger. I don't think I would ever replace double ribbed steel shanks in my boots, but who knows about other forms of footwear.
It will be nice having this alternative given a circumstance or situation in the future.

Regards,
Paul

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#519 Post by dmcharg » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:13 pm

One of the theories about why Aussies (QED) shorten their words is to stop their tongues from getting sunburned.

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#520 Post by dw » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:24 pm

There is a somewhat traditional tool (how old or how far back it goes, I don't know) that did just what you are trying to do with the pencil...although perhaps a bit more accurately or at least consistently accurately.

It could come in many shapes, some even in the shape of a stylized shoe. In its simplest form, it is a block of wood with at least two perfectly flat faces at right angles to each other. One face will slide on the paper used for tracing the foot, the other face will butt up against the foot. A hole is drilled at a 45 degree angle (to some extent the angle is not so important) which emerges dead center in the corner of the right angle formed by the two flat faces. That corner is then chamfered or cut off. The hole is only slightly larger in diameter than a pencil. A pencil is inserted into the hole and the lead emerges such that when point of the lead is touching the paper, the point is precisely inline with the surface of the face that is against the foot. Shims or a long wood screw with a blunted point can be used to prevent the pencil from slipping.

When the block is run around the foot with the flat face touching the foot, the pencil marks the precise outline.

I have one I made of one inch scrap cutting / crimping board plastic. works a treat. i will take a photo tomorrow if i think about it and post it here. Might make my poor explanation clearer.
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#521 Post by dw » Sun Feb 12, 2017 9:32 pm

Paul, Duncan,

I too don't have much regard for wooden shanks and even less for leather shanks. My experience is also that they don't last long before the break or are useless for supporting the foot.

The theory, however, is that at 8/8 (or less) heel height a wooden shank is more than adequate and even leather will do (do what, I'm sure I don't know). But once you raise the heel above one inch and esp. once you get up around 1-1/2" or above, the shoe / boot will breakdown in the waist and fail to support the foot if the shank is not strong and nearly rigid.

Metal shanks all rust sooner or later, however.

Bamboo might be the ticket...that's why I'd like to try it.
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#522 Post by dmcharg » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:59 pm

OK, after 27hours (because I forgot about it) of sitting at the bottom of a tub of water, the bamboo shank has lost a little of it's primary curve, in the order of about it's own thickness, and the secondary curve at the left end has lost about 75% . Still feels very stiff, even though I haven't waited till it's dried out. So, considering this isn't the usual circumstances the shank would have to put up with, looks good.
IMG_6684.JPG
IMG_6679.JPG
Cheers
Duncan

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Re: Bottoming techniques

#523 Post by dw » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:04 am

Duncan,

Interesting...thanks for that.

Seems to me I recall that wood can be, and Traditionally is, bent using steam. Or hot water in some measure. I wonder if, after soaking, it wouldn't be easier to bend the bamboo...perhaps it would be more malleable...using the heat source or even a jig. And if having bent it when it was wet if it would retain that curvature longer and more resolutely. I think of bentwood chairs and so forth--seems to me they never lose their shape.
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#524 Post by dw » Tue Feb 14, 2017 9:01 am

As promised several days ago, here is a photo of a simple (and somewhat make-shift) tracing / outline tool. At the bottom left corner of the tool you can just barely see the tip of the mechanical pencil showing:
20170214_073221_(1024_x_768).jpg
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Re: Bottoming techniques

#525 Post by leech77 » Sat Aug 26, 2017 11:44 am

Hi folks! It's been a while since I've had a stumper that I couldn't quite figure out without wasting a bunch of leather ;) I'm working on making Dyer/quoddy type ring boots. I've figured out how to make them fine, but adding the double sole confuses me a bit. Not so much how it's stitched on, but how it's measured for and placed on the moccasin for stitching. I have a few ideas of how to go about it, but am not entirely certain. I figured I should ask the pros! Thanks in advance.
-Eric-

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