Finishing techniques

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

#151 Post by farmerfalconer » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:31 pm

Oh, I'll try it out on scraps first. I dont to do rubber soles so it may be useless.
Oh well. If I ever do rubber Ill be set for life :)

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Re: Finishing techniques

#152 Post by Nathan » Mon Jul 01, 2013 3:52 am

I am pretty excited that I cam offer some info on a few things here.
Bitumen you can get from Livergreaseltd.co.uk
They stock a few different types that suit different ambient temperatures.
Pigments you can get from L.Cornelissen & Co
If you order their pigment colour chart it is amazing and has swatches of the pigments and their colour index.

The work method I use for sole edges is as follows.
Trim excess with knife. Rasp edge to even the surface ( flat side of rasp for flat edges and rounded side for the waist)
When both are equal, dampen and glass.
Use a rolled piece of sandpaper to create a concave surface in the edge of the sole. This helps the sole edge fit the edge iron. I use 80, 120 and 240 grit paper.
Plough top edge of the welt, if need be fudge again.
Gently rasp bottom edge of the sole from the inside of the shoe towards the outside. This creates a small lip. The lip should look a bit fluffy-the edge iron will make the lip into a solid line
Check the fit of the edge iron
Wet the edge and using a clean wet cloth rub the edge lightly getting any leather particles off of the sole edge. Once cloth comes away clean apply soap to the edge. Apply the soap by just running the bar along the sole edge. Rub any excess off lightly in the direction of the sole with a clean cloth.
I don't have a brand preference.
Warm the iron. If you wet your finger and touch it and it just sizzles that is about right.
Once warm run the iron around the sole edge applying pressure and keeping it at a 90 degree angle to the welt.
Basic finish is then pushing hard wax along the sole edge and rubbing back with a cloth. Generally I do that three times and then start with a wax polish or glacé.

For same day stuff I either push the wax onto the sole edge with the hard polishing wheel and then hand rubbing back and finishing with wax polish and a cloth or using Edge Stain which is a wax in water suspension. I can check out the composition of it in the next few days.

I also use Gum Stain to finish some of the low brow leather soles I do on such shoes as Florsheim. It comes in Black, Brown, Mahogany and Clear. My understanding is that it has Gum Tragacanth in suspension.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#153 Post by dw » Mon Jul 01, 2013 6:13 am

Nathan,

Thanks for sharing that. :thumb:

What is glace'?

What do you use for natural bottoms if you don't use gum stain...your 'high-brow' work, IOW?

PS...I use liquid gum dragon with few grains of dry, water soluble wood stain mixed in.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#154 Post by Nathan » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:26 am

dw wrote:Nathan,

Thanks for sharing that. :thumb:

What is glace'?

What do you use for natural bottoms if you don't use gum stain...your 'high-brow' work, IOW?

PS...I use liquid gum dragon with few grains of dry, water soluble wood stain mixed in.

No worries on the sharing.

By glacé I mean something like Saphir glacé polish. High wax/pine turpentine mixture.

High brow work I glass the bottoms.
Wet them with clean water and wipe them gently, repeat this a couple of times.
After they have dried and have a bone colour as a surface I use a clean hammer handle and burnish the bottom. I work with an upright last jack so the heel is held in position by my stomach and with both hands grasping the handle I pull towards myself.
Any ripples and bumps I bone out and clean up the heel breast area then use the bone along the bottom edge of the sole to work up a darker edge line.
This usually brings up a good deep golden colour.
I would not polish with Saphir Neutral glacé.

For colour work.

If is a solid colour like black or brown I use Yankee wax at the stage before using the hammer handle. I push it in over the glassed bottom and then use an elliptical edge iron heated up to melt the pushed in wax into the bottom. This has a dual action of pushing the leather fibres down and forcing the hard wax down past the epidermis?! of the leather.
I then hand polish this in more with a cloth.
I would then finger polish with a neutral glacé and/or tints with a mahogany or cognac if I had the time or cognac!

I tend to work this way because I really enjoy it and helps improve my technique. I don't know a lot about gum stains other than what I have investigated as part of my "want to learn more about hand made". Generally I have a small sub-set of customers who go for this and realistically I charge a materials cost. I do it so I can garner a good understanding of the construction of higher end shoes and push into new areas like patina polishing and antiquing etc.

I hope that is informative.


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Re: Finishing techniques

#155 Post by Nathan » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:31 am

Oops that should read...
I would then polish with Saphir neutral glacé rather than
I would not polish with Saphir Neutral glacé.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#156 Post by dw » Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:54 am

In another thread...
Nathan wrote: I have been doing a lot of full leathers on shoes like Edward Green and Saint Crispin. Currently I round the top edge of the sole with sandpaper and my bone tool.
However I want to know what cutting tool is used to achieve the neat concave sole edge and then the slightly convex with lip on the sole edge. If I can do that with the finisher I am using it would save a whole heap of time.
Any thoughts?
Nathan,
You don't say what kind of finisher you're using but most full size finishers were built with a trimmer section and a brush section. The trimmer section needs a trimmer--a small circular knife/attachment that is comprised of multiple blades. They come sized and will cut the concave surface and the wires...top edge and bottom...all at the same time. A carbide cutter/trimmer will stay sharper longer than the old steel ones. A size 14 generally works with a standard thickness welt and a 10-12 iron outsole.

The brush section usually has a bayonet fitting on one end and a circular burnishing iron/attachment will twist on to that. The burnishing irons are shaped almost identically to the trimmer knives. Most brush sections have a built-in heater but many makes just take that off and make a heating pad with a donut shaped piece of sole leather and a stout spring.

You wet the outsole, trim and then warm the burnishing iron and burnish the trimmed edge. Then you can apply dye, ink and or wax and re-burnish with a hotter iron.

This will get you where you want to go with the finisher.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#157 Post by dw » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:48 am

Something tasty for the weekend...not strictly Traditional, I suppose, but borrowing from tradition.

I have given a lot of time and thought to refining my outsole finishing particularly on high end men's shoes.

One of the problems is closing and securing the outsole channel. Many fine makers use all-purpose. but I don't like the fact that AP will soften and "ooze" a bit when trimming and burnishing the edge.. It also has a tendency to come apart before the outsole is worn down to the threads.

Other makers use some variation of glue--hide glue, potato glue and/or pvc. The problem there is that since the "to tack" time is so long with these glues, a solid, tight closure of the channel is not guaranteed. I've been using Titebond III. It's waterproof but the same issues arise with it--tack time and incomplete closure. But where the glue does the job it provides terrific adhesion and will trim up nicely and wear with the rest of the outsole. [Parenthetically, Tightbond is coming out with a moulding glue that is supposed to have a tack time of 3 minutes]

So I came up with a fairly crude but workable solution--sandbags. As the following illustrates they work good and as a bonus could surely be used to build heels with glue (rather than cement) or any other situation where "clamping" or weight is needed.

The first photo is of the outsole having been channeled and stitched (by hand, with a square awl) ten to the inch around the forepart and 5spi in the waist.
DSCF2603 (800 x 600).jpg
In the second photo, the outsole has been thoroughly moistened, the channel opened as wide as it will go, and the very next step is to apply your glue (again I used Titebond III).

Apply the glue somewhat freely bearing in mind that the moisture in the leather will tend to retard adhesion. This is where it really helps to have some sort of protective cover for the shoe such as shrink wrap.
DSCF2605_(800_x_600).jpg

To be continued...
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Re: Finishing techniques

#158 Post by dw » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:49 am

At this point the leather must be rubbed down flat and any creases or dents, etc., boned out, and the channel hammered, chased and closed up tight.

The next photo shows the sandbag placed on top of the outsole. I use my hands to hammer the sandbag forcing the sand to pile up along the edges of the outsole and to drape over the edge such that the weight of the sand holds the channel tight. This isn't a sure thing, so check the edge and make sure you have plenty of weight and sufficient overhang.

Let this sit for 4-6 hours or better, overnight.
DSCF2607_(800_x_600).jpg
TBC
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Re: Finishing techniques

#159 Post by dw » Sat Oct 05, 2013 10:54 am

So here's a photo of the outsole after the sandbag has come off and after the outsole has been trimmed and the preliminary finish work begun.
DSCF2610 (800 x 600).jpg
DSCF2610 (800 x 600).jpg (198.9 KiB) Viewed 4494 times
The second photo is a close-up of the edge after it has been trimmed. Any excess glue trims off nicely and the edge of the channel is invisible and/or subsumed in the "wire."
DSCF2614_(800_x_600).jpg
This was my first attempt to do a full, "natural" sole and, frankly, it's a little bit problematic. I like a little "character" but the left shoe has a bit of streaking in the bottom finish that I regret.
DSCF2609_(800_x_600).jpg
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Re: Finishing techniques

#160 Post by 1947redhed » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:43 pm

Envious of your beautifully-executed outsole flange covering the stitching. Other than a sharp eye and a sharp knife, do you have any tricks for cutting it so cleanly and evenly?

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Re: Finishing techniques

#161 Post by 1947redhed » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:44 pm

Forgot to sign that last one,
Georgene

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Re: Finishing techniques

#162 Post by dw » Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:55 pm

1947redhed wrote:Envious of your beautifully-executed outsole flange covering the stitching. Other than a sharp eye and a sharp knife, do you have any tricks for cutting it so cleanly and evenly?
Georgene,

Thanks. I suppose it looks clean and even...and within the bounds or functionality and even reason, it is...but it is not all that easy and not all that clean or even. To some degree, I would argue that it doesn't have to be...as long as the result is sufficient thickness in both the "flange" and what remains.

I use a very sharp knife and cut in "stages," I suppose you'd say--making the initial cut to establish the depth below the surface of the outsole and then subsequent passes at an angle until the channel is deep enough to turn back and up, while, at the same time, allowing the awl to pass cleanly through the welt and outsole without damaging the "flange." With each pass of the knife, and prior to it, the existing flange must be turned back, of course.

Fact is...and this is just between you and me and the occasional other reader...I may have stumbled on a very effective way, using the sandbag, to create a beveled waist without having to significantly thin the outsole prior to mounting it. And if this pans out, it would alleviate the problem of cutting an effective and sturdy channel into the edge of a section of the outsole (in the waist) that, ideally, is no more than 6 iron. Or not...time will tell.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#163 Post by dw » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:29 am

I recently saw several photos of fully lasted and bottomed shoes being held over an open flame. The flame/heat was being applied to the upper--the vamp-forepart in the photos.

I suspect this is a variation of applying heat with a burnishing iron but I have never run across either technique in the wild.

After some discussion here with Janne Melkersohn, I tried using a burnishing iron...judiciously...but I saw little if any difference. I am still not clear with regard to why heat would be needed, or wanted, in the first place. Or what to expect if I've done it correctly. Or even how hot the iron is supposed to be. Whether the leather should be dry or slightly moist. Etc..

Does anyone here use heat on the upper in the final stages of finishing a shoe? Why? What does it do? Is it effective on chrome leathers and/or veg tans?
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Re: Finishing techniques

#164 Post by tjburr » Sat Nov 22, 2014 10:14 pm

I would like to announce that I have digitized Crooker's Design Book - Bottom Finishing from 1885 and it has been posted to the HCC guild library; go to the HCC home page and select Guild Library from the left side of the page.

Here is a little teaser from the book. I found many of the example designs presented in this book ended the tips of pointed inking with filled circles. I had wondered if this was done because it was easier to control the flow of the ink in this manner. I kept the resolution of the images high enough so you can zoom in on the images and see more detail. Looking at the designs in this book, I was trying to figure out how I would actually complete some of the designs.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#165 Post by das » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:37 am

Boy that was fast. Many thanks Terry--let's see some of those bottom finishes revived and tried out :beers:

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Re: Finishing techniques

#166 Post by dw » Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:19 am

I thought an announcement in The HCC bulletin board would go down easy but this is perfectly located.

I have to commend you. I know what it takes to convert and digitalize these old books.

I love the watermark.

I just wonder how they did this--whether is was simply painted on or if the lines and circles were cut or scribed into the leather

Now see if you can find a copy of "The Art and the Mysterie" --that's a likely prospect, begging for digitalization. :thinking:
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Re: Finishing techniques

#167 Post by tjburr » Sun Nov 23, 2014 9:12 am

DW,

Thanks.

Yes, I wish I had a physical copy of "the art and mystery...". I know there are scanned copies on google and elsewhere, but there is nothing like having a printed piece of history.

At the AGM i asked Al some questions about this particular picture. I believe he said that the filled in circles would have been performed by first using a round tool and leaving a small indention. The ink would then be contained in the indention if not too much was used. I unfortunately was discussing this book and posting it and did not go back and discuss other techniques. So I would love to hear some more techniques for bottoming.

Terry

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Re: Finishing techniques

#168 Post by dw » Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:26 am

lancepryor » Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:07 pm wrote:
Aniline powder is something I'm considering trying. It is water (or alcohol) soluble, and is sold in many colors by folks in the woodworking trade. It is preferred by many due to the transparency of the finish when compared to wood stains.

Here is one example:

http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.a ... ,190,42942

Lance
I'm currently using some of the aniline dye from Lee Valley for my foreparts. I dissolve it in water and I paint it on with a soft brush. I keep it pretty dilute and that way it doesn't strike unevenly.

Once the surface moisture has dissipated, I begin burnishing the forepart with a bone or a hardwood rub stick. It's slow going but after a bit the leather will get a mirror shine on it all by itself--no wax. It starts out patchy but if you persevere the burnish/shine will cover the whole forepart.

At that point you can put wax over the top (to protect it from dye spatters or dirt) or you can bull it to a high gloss shine.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#169 Post by Janne Melkersson » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:39 am

DW, interesting method of closing the channel you have experimented with, thanks for sharing.

I have been using Hirchkleber all my career and it works well too. One thing of importance is to clean the channel from pitch after stitching. If there is any left over pitch the channel will not close properly. After closing the channel I wait until Hirchkleber is dry and scrape it with gllass and a file. That together with the hammer use to make for an unvisible channel. Also, if the cut it close to edge like your's, it helps

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Re: Finishing techniques

#170 Post by Janne Melkersson » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:52 am

dw » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:29 am wrote: Does anyone here use heat on the upper in the final stages of finishing a shoe? Why? What does it do? Is it effective on chrome leathers and/or veg tans?
The reason for using heat on a shoe in the finnishing stage is to get rid of the small wrinkles that occurs when turning the vamp back towards the toe when preparing the toe stiffener. On box calf the wrinkles disappear right away, in most cases. I have found that veg tanned often don't respond
In my fathers shoe factory they used a mix of hot air and water. I use the same method, I sprnkle the vamp with water and use the hot air gun 15-20cm away from the vamp. Here in Europe it seems to be a common method since it was used at the work shop where I was apprentice.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#171 Post by dw » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:40 am

Janne Melkersson » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:39 am wrote:DW, interesting method of closing the channel you have experimented with, thanks for sharing.

I have been using Hirchkleber all my career and it works well too. One thing of importance is to clean the channel from pitch after stitching. If there is any left over pitch the channel will not close properly. After closing the channel I wait until Hirchkleber is dry and scrape it with gllass and a file. That together with the hammer use to make for an unvisible channel. Also, if the cut it close to edge like your's, it helps
Thank you Janne. Keep in mind that while I've been making boots for over 40 years but I've only been making shoes about 6 or 7...and it's has been up hilll most of the way simply because I've never had any formal training.

Most of what I do I had to teach myself using high end work from makers such as yourself as an example. As Jake says "what one man has done, another may also do."

The reason I say all that is simply that using other high end shoes as examples, I have never found a perfect solution to the problem of securing the "flange." Hischkleber is water soluble and that flange will come loose in rainy weather. Worse, the customer doesn't understand why it's coming loose--he thinks the shoe is falling apart. Even contact cement will not hold if the channel is cut too thin. And honestly?...it really does look like hell when the edge starts fraying.

So I may do some things a little unorthodox...but I'm trying for the best results that I can imagine even if I can't always implement them.

The sandbags are great but not the whole answer...may have to go to clamps in the waist (esp. if it is to be a beveled waist).
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Re: Finishing techniques

#172 Post by dw » Tue Dec 02, 2014 7:46 am

Janne Melkersson » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:52 am wrote:
Does anyone here use heat on the upper in the final stages of finishing a shoe? Why? What does it do? Is it effective on chrome leathers and/or veg tans?
The reason for using heat on a shoe in the finnishing stage is to get rid of the small wrinkles that occurs when turning the vamp back towards the toe when preparing the toe stiffener. On box calf the wrinkles disappear right away, in most cases. I have found that veg tanned often don't respond
In my fathers shoe factory they used a mix of hot air and water. I use the same method, I sprnkle the vamp with water and use the hot air gun 15-20cm away from the vamp. Here in Europe it seems to be a common method since it was used at the work shop where I was apprentice.

This is so interesting. I have that problem all the time!! I've known that heat was used to tighten the leather but not how exactly to do it. I am going to try the heat gun and water next pair!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

That said, I am unhappy to hear you say it doesn't work with veg tans too well. if I had my druthers I'd be using veg tans all the way. A.A. Crack has a St. Crispin Baby calf that may be the best shoe leather being made on the planet. Getting it shipped to the US is almost prohibitive.

So you do something different when you're working with crust or other veg tans?
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Re: Finishing techniques

#173 Post by Janne Melkersson » Tue Dec 02, 2014 8:11 am

DW, You are welcome! Not all veg tanned leather respond to heat but some and not all chrome tanned respond but some! Last week I made a pair out of Horweens chromexcell, nice leather but it did not respond much to heat. I always last my shoes as if they not are going to respond to heat, I guess that is what you can do. But when it does, it is simply a miracle. It is kind of crimping without stress on the leather. However, you have to be careful not to burn the leather.
If you don't like the air gun heat up your heel iron wet a piece of sheet fabric and do it the same way as when ironing your shirt. That's the way we did it before the time of air gun. On leather where there is a risk of stains from water we did it dry but with a thinn piece of greaseproof paper between the iron and the upper.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#174 Post by brooklyn_edie » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:14 pm

I thought some may be interested...

If you've seen the work of Landry Lacour you'll likely agree that his finishing techniques are impressive. I recently learned that he's doing an exclusive patina workshop in Brooklyn, NY, at the Brooklyn Shoe Space.

I found an interview with him on claymoor's list that includes some good photos:
http://www.claymoorslist.com/portfolios/landry-lacour

The link for details about this workshop:
http://brooklynshoespace.com/booking/pa ... -332076001

Sorry I couldn't post this sooner as the class is just around the corner. The contact details for Keiko - she runs the Brooklyn Shoe Space - are available:
http://brooklynshoespace.com/contact/

(hope this is the correct area to post this - It's finishing techniques, but more for the upper than sole)

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Re: Finishing techniques

#175 Post by grenik » Fri Mar 13, 2015 12:01 pm

I have learned so much from this site and have made a couple pairs of shoes (one that I am even able to wear for work!) Still in the beginning stages. I am not sure if this forum is the correct spot, but how is the burnished toe in these pictures achieved? Is it done after the shoe is complete with polish or is it put into the leather before closing the upper, after it is on the last, etc?
allenedmonds_shoes_rogue_walnut-burnished-calf.jpg
DiBianco-Shoes_PicMonkey.jpg
Because the color seems to go all the way to the upper/sole interface, it seems like these are done beofre the outsole is attached?

Thank you

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