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Re: The Registry

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:24 am
by joost
Hello all,

My name is Joost, I live in Brussels, Belgium, and I recently decided that I will make my own shoes. I don't know the first thing about it, have no experience nor do I know anybody else who makes shoes. However, I've been frustrated for the largest part in my life because I never could find shoes that suit me as I wear size 52 (something between 16 and 17 in US sizes).
I understand that it will be an uphill battle, but people said I was slightly crazy when I started making my own clothes, and yet as I sit here typing this, most of what I'm wearing I made myself.

I find the efforts you're doing here to keep the trade alive noble and as such I've contributed my 20 dollar to the hcc. It will be a while before I get to making shoes as the first challenge I'm facing is getting shoe lasts made.
I've took a plaster cast of my foot, transformed it into a 3D model with Autodesk's 123DCatch and now I'm using Blender to model a shoelast around it.
I don't know Blender (I'm learning it for this project) nor do I know the first thing about shoe lasts, so this is all a great adventure.

Once done, I will get it 3D printed, and I visited an old woodworker today who can take that plastic shoe last and copy it in wood.

If you see some simpler way of getting to a last, or if you have some existing 3D model of a last I could base mine on, please let me know Image


Re: The Registry

Posted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:34 am
by large_shoemaker_at_large
Welcome to the HCC.
I have many years ago played with an early last CAD program. It was god but so were my computer skills. But the $ was way high.

I knew it would be a matter of time till the costs can down.

You are lucky to have access to CNC equpiment.

Can you post any pics as a JPEG format and we can help you along. Depending on what type of plastic the CNC mills you maybe able to not have to have it made out of wood.

There are lots of EU last makers on line. Look in some archives here or get you search engine looking for lasts.

There is a thread her about a last making program, I just can't remember were it is.

Good luck with your journey.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:03 am
by lancepryor

Welcome to the HCC.

While I think making lasts is rewarding, if I were you I would try to find a lastmaking company that could supply you a pre-made last. Learning shoemaking is a challenging enough task without layering on trying to learn lastmaking, which really is a separate skill set.

You could try either SpringLine ( in Northampton, UK or Spenle ( in Germany -- they both supply RTW lasts at a reasonable price and may be able to supply a suitable last for you. I believe Spenle will even make a custom last to your tracing and measurements. SpringLine have a discounted price for shoemaking students.

Good luck, and, again, welcome.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:10 am
by frank_jones
Joost De Cock

Welcome to the Crispin Colloquy. I would like to endorse the suggestions from Lance. Last making is a whole other set of skills and there is so much to learn just in shoemaking without taking on more.

One further suggestion to add to the list of last suppliers.

The Kopitarna Company in Slovenia is worth trying. Bostjan Pragar is a good contact who speaks English.

Kopitarna Sevnica D. D.
Prvomajska ulica 8.
tel: +386 78163400
direct tel: +386 78163465

It is good to hear from somebody on this side of the Atlantic. Do feel free to make contact if you think I could help. My direct telephone is +44 1706211181

Frank Jones

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:12 am
by joost
Hello Frank, Lance, Brendan and others.

Thank you so much for your kind feedback. I very much appreciate the info and good advice. You all sound very sensible and I'm sure that it would be very smart to listen to you Image

That being said, I have gotten really frustrated with my last-making efforts on a couple of occasions, and have searched and look at all options for buying a last at least twice.
But in the end, I always get back to my own last and with renewed courage pick it up again to try and do it better this time.

So it seems I will stubbornly ignore your advice, and continue to create my own Image Not because I don't think it's good advice, I am sure it is, but I just like to try and learn a thing or two in the process. If I fail terribly (I probably will) those commercial lasts aren't going anywhere are they?

In a way, I don't know anything about shoe making. So starting that is just as foolish as starting to make a last.
When you think about these things rationally, there's really no point in getting into this. But the simple truth is that I'm having fun trying to come up with a last. So as long as I enjoy it, I'm sticking to it Image

Thanks again. I'll let you know when I abandon and order my last Image


Re: The Registry

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:25 am
by chuck_deats
Good for you. Go for it. Making several sets of fitters which will be required to check the fit of the last is probably the best practice you can have. You will end up with an understanding of the most difficult part of boot/shoemaking, which is getting the fit right. Best of luck in your adventure.

Re: The Registry

Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 9:27 am
by joost
Thank you Chuck. Actually, I am about done with my first version of the last, and published it online to get some feedback.

You can have a look at in on my blog and I would really appreciate any feedback.

Come to think of it, I might want to ask for some feedback on a more appropriate place on this forum.

Thanks in advance for your (and the others) kind words of support. It's much appreciated.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 6:54 am
by bj_goodman
Good Morning
Just a quick introduction here. I am not a shoemaker yet, but am a "part time"repairer in the theater and dance department at the local college where I work. I have had a fasination with shoes and feet from the begining, as I needed special shoes to learn to walk way back in the early 1950s.
My father sold shoes in a high end department store for many years and was aquanted with several shoemakers whom I was allowed to watch at times. Like most "children" of that era I went my own way after college and apprenticed a farrier, eventially having a good business of stables and boarding barns. I learned to do corrective shoeing and enjoyed being part of a team with the trainers and vets.
Like most kids in their early thirties I thought I was invinceable and destroyed my knees and damaged a shoulder. I was fortunate enough to land a job in a field I had studied and enjoy, but shoes and working with my hands keeps calling to me.
So here I am, begining my trek to my long desired I have questions, the list is mighty long. Thanks already for the lessons I have learned from Lurking and I only hope that I may someday be able to offer some helpful advice.

Re: The Registry

Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:30 am
by frank_jones
Brian Goodman

Welcome to the Crispin Colloquy. We are a friendly bunch but most of the good discussions are generated by newbies who ask questions.

Ask away, we don’t bite!

Frank Jones

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:06 am
by tibthebear
Hello everybody,

My name is Tibere, currently Living in Toronto.
I have been apprenticing with Nasser for several months now and can inseam and sole stitch properly, although I am still having trouble with thread making and lasting and still need to learn pattern making and a bunch of other things. But so far so good, I am learning... and I might be asking questions and advice from time to time on the forum instead of lurking.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:21 pm
by dosia
Hello all!

My name is Ambrosia, I reside in NYC and am super excited to be a part of this community. I have a lot to learn and am very knowledge thirsty!

Re: The Registry

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:33 pm
by tomo
Ha! So you found our other home!
Welcome Ambrosia.

Re: The Registry

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:43 am
by guerreiro
Hello to all,

I'm having a hard time in introducting a post. I'd like to post it in the bottoming techniques area but I'm not being able to do so.
A litle help please.

Thank you.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:03 pm
by romango
Hi Miguel,

It's the same as posting here. Can you give me more detail about the difficulty you are having?

Re: The Registry

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:52 pm
by dlskidmore

My name is Denise Skidmore. I have acquired several hobby crafts in my life and got into shoe making due to discovering some of my health issues were related to my shoes. I've made several pairs of moccasins and sandals, but am interested in learning more about making dress shoes and boots. I started reading Golding Vol. I, but my lack of practical background on the subject is not helping my comprehension. Is there a better work to start with for beginners?

I'm most interested at the moment in techniques for making custom lasts. I am using some masking tape molds of my feet stuffed with paper, which is fine for moccasin work and glue repairs, but is not stiff enough to hold tacks or stretch leather around. My foot is not a standard shape, so I doubt I'll find any purchased last suitable.

I'm curious how many of you cater to the "minimalist" shoe market? Some moccasin companies get a lot of buzz in the minimalist running community, but there are always complaints about their backlog and lack of work shoe options.

I am a contributor at, if anyone offers a minimalist shoe by web sales that they would like added to the index. ( Minimalist shoes should have thin, flexible soles, designed for wide toe boxes, and are made on a last with no heel and minimal toe spring. I'm also working on a section for on making your own shoes, but I only have the very basics down myself.

Re: The Registry

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:07 pm
by gshoes
hello Denise,


I will give you my 2 cents worth having started out with the same desire to create a custom last from scratch to meet my very special needs. I was advised by many in this group to take a standard last and build it up or grind it down. I did not take that advice. I did make my own lasts. Several pairs in fact at the expense of a great amount of time. There is a huge learning curve when you are doing it, rather, in the dark. I wish that I would have listened to the words of those more wise than me. Start with a last and alter it. The time that I lost in trying to become a last maker could have been better spent in being a shoemaker.


Re: The Registry

Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 7:36 pm
by dlskidmore
Do you have any good references for learning how to modify a last?

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:19 am
by simon_brusa
My name is Simone and I am an Italian boy of 22 years in Genoa.
About a year ago I began to thrill leather working techniques.
So I started making bracelets, handbags etc until you get to want to create a pair of sandals.
In achieving these sandals I approached the world of shoemaking and from that moment, I am passionate and I set out to learn.

It was not easy to enter this world because I come from no longer carries the craft, I had no idea how to make a shoe!
These are the two pairs of sandals that I did before learning the art of shoemaking: not perfect but they are very comfortable and I've made ​​without having precise ideas of how to do.
I had the good fortune to know a shoemaker with a fair of traditional crafts that advised me to buy the book Tym Skyrme to learn step by step how to create a shoe.
Just put aside the money I bought his book and it took me a long time to translate the most important parts because I do not speak English!
Once you understand the process I bought some old wooden last on the internet, some tools and started working right away with a pair of boots.
This is the result of my first pair of boots. It was not easy to design and then assemble them but the result was satisfactory! I sewed everything by hand with waxed thread.

Unfortunately, in too much haste I did not do well the part of the sole, but then I redid the sole.
I pasted a welt to the upper and then I sewed the midsole.
The result is this:
I wear them almost every day to walk and work in the garden and are very comfortable and durable.
After these boots I have tried to make a pair of boots for women, are very beautiful in appearance, however, for the upper I used an old jacket deerskin and uppers was quickly torn.
This time I sewed together the welt to the upper and sole, and subsequently between welt and midsole.
Now I'm working on a second pair of boots, I bought appropriate materials (leather is very expensive, unfortunately!) And this time I intend to put the Alpine welt as I saw on your forum and I intend to take the second seam welt midsole and also sole tank.
Tym advised me to follow you; Tym I have been very helpful and again was very kind in answering my problems.
I hope to learn a lot from you all and hope to find answers to my questions.

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 5:25 am
by paul
Welcome Simone,
I admire your attitude to learn. That is very good.
Please keep trying to get your pictures posted, as I am sure I am not the only one here who would like to see your progress.
It's always a little tricky at first, but ask for help with the pictures if you need it.
Again Welcome,

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:23 pm
by simon_brusa
I'm sorry but I could not edit the post in time to correct the images, now try again.
Sorry for the mistake, but not very practical computer.

(Message edited by simon_brusa on March 20, 2012)

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:40 pm
by simon_brusa
These are the first two shoes made by myself with no instructions or guidance.
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Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:43 pm
by simon_brusa
These are the boots before and after redone the sole.
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Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:53 pm
by simon_brusa
These boots but instead I made a skin too weak that it is soon torn.
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But here my last couple "work in progress".
For this boot I try to follow the procedure for the "Alpine welt" or "Norwegian welt."
I hope to do it if I have doubts that I hope I can give help.
The hard part will try to explain in a technical way because I do not know English well!
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Thanks to everybody Simon

(Message edited by simon_brusa on March 20, 2012)

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:03 pm
by tomo
Wow you have got the bug Simon! Well done Image

Re: The Registry

Posted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:23 pm
by dave
Thanks for sharing Simone. I've got some lasts on their way in the mail and I look forward to working on my first pair very soon. You provide inspiration.