The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

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The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#1 Post by admin » Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:35 am

Here you go fellas.

Yr. Hmb. Svt.

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#2 Post by das » Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:12 am

Thanks Emmit

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#3 Post by dw » Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:21 pm

Al,

I just received my copy of Art du Cordonnier. It is mind-boggling...it is magnificent! I have penned a few "from the bench essays" that got bound and called books but perhaps because I have done that little bit, I see...as much as any third party could...the effort, the dedication, the persistence of vision (and I mean "vision" in its most exalted form )and the vitality...the life energy, the spirit...that went into producing this work.

It is a gift to all of us and I felt compelled to offer a personal and, I hope suitably humble, "thank you" for sharing it with us.

DW

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#4 Post by das » Sat Oct 10, 2009 4:37 am

DW,

I appreciate those comments full well, especially coming from you--perhaps our most prolific practical boot/shoemaking author of the past 20 years. And do not down-play your "bench essays"--those I fear will have more practical application to our art than Garsault ever will. The techniques in AotS, are almost as obsolete today as those footwear types--most of the materials, tools, and ingredients are gone--but it's good to know our roots, where techniques came from, etc. About the time the editors "closed the book" to ship it off to the printers, I discovered an additional German, as well as Polish shoemaking text that may also derive from/relate to Garsault, but they'll have to wait for the second edition *hahahaha*

Now the dead guys' "voices" have stopped in my head after their constant companionship for almost 30 years... Garsault's jokes about cordonnier=corn-maker, and impolite popular dictums about how "well-heeled" women were/weren't; Platiere's, "but nowadays (1788) that is out of fashion..." and his quips about "mutton dressed as lamb" in Chinese slip-ons , Schreber's sniping, "that may be fine in France, but in Germany we do it differently, but I have no time to explain..."; Hartwig's cool and calm step-by-step instruction from the vocational "Realschule" in Berlin, and Robinet's sensitive "Cliff Notes" abridgement of Garsault. To use a biker analogy, it was quite a ride and quite a crew to ride with.

I hope you, and indeed every reader, will peek into the past through this opened window, not only for shoemaking how-tos, but to see how much the world has changed--and how it hasn't.

Cheers,

Al

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#5 Post by dw » Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:22 am

Al,

I was a bit alarmed by your reference to "mutton dressed as lamb" as I am under the impression that "mutton" was popular, if rather impolite, cant somewhere in this span of years.

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#6 Post by dearbone » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:15 am

Al,

I just received my ART OF THE SHOEMAKER, what a tremendous work, well done,easy read and i am soaking it like a sponge,I really like reading the notes after the chapters. Good on you my Brother.
Back to reading some more or shoemaking?

Regards
Nasser

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#7 Post by das » Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:47 am

Nasser,

Thanks for the kind words. Sorry the footnotes are all piled-up at the end of each chapter, I had them arranged page by page, but my editor insisted. You're basically reading 7 versions in one, with all the additions, comments, and discrepancies woven in.

Study it well, there'll be a test on it later Image

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#8 Post by das » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:07 am

Brendan,

Thanks for asking about these.

1) 18thc. boots were typically made in most countries of waxed calf (flesh out), but grain-out was becoming fashionable (e.g. some "draw boots", mock-calf on deerskin for light summer wear, "cordovan" or ass/horse-hide, etc.) , hence demonstrating you could do either/or. Read Rees (1813) for the differences in closing grain versus waxed uppers (and boots), or 'Art of the Shoemaker' for more details on English, German, and French bootmaking tricks and tastes in that era.

2) "Seam above..." is a mystery. It could mean closed outside (visible) versus inside (hidden), IOW a seam that showed. Some rigid jackboots and postillion boots had the leg seam up the center front of the bootleg, no seam or just a "mock seam" (row of stitches for show) up the back where we're used to seeing the bootkeg closed. I'm just speculating here though.

3) "Possler" is another mystery-word. Best suggestion I got was it was a form of postillion (see my 'Art of the Shoemaker' for step-by-step how-to, illustrations and explanations).

4) "Big straps"=buckle shoes with "big" (wide?) straps for buckles. The iconic 18thc buckled shoes were made and sold sans buckles. The wearer merely affixed whatever shoe buckles they owned/liked to cinch them shut, like we put cuff links and studs on Tuxedo shirts--IOW the buckles were not integral with the shoes or sold with them, but were transferable jewelry. So, to the shoemakers, it was all about the buckle-straps, nothing to do with the actual buckles.

I'm double-posting this to 'Art of the Shoemaker', where any further book-related comments or queries are welcome BTW.

ephraim

Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#9 Post by ephraim » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:42 pm

Dear R.A.S.L. Saguto,

Garsault says, in talking about the sharpening steel used by French makers, that the English use a "root from a tree-climbing ivy" to strop the knife. What's going on with that? Any idea what kind of ivy this is (l. Hedera Helix, c. Common, or English Ivy, perhaps)? This is intriguing, and I figured you'd want the question and whatever answer you have to show up on the Colloquy. Looking forward to your reply, I remain,

Yr. Humble Apprentice,
+Bt., a.k.a. Ephraim

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#10 Post by ephraim » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:43 pm

Dear R.A.S.L.,

Oh,...I almost forgot. What them fellers said about this being a great book and thanks to you and all that? Well,...I concur.

YHS&A, &c.,
+Bt.

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#11 Post by das » Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:28 pm

Brett "Ephraim",

That's a good question, thanks for asking. I ripped up a huge English ivy root from in front of my parents' house many decades ago to see how it worked after translating that bit of Latin. It didn't. I have never seen another reference to using ivy roots for knife stroppers, so it remains, alas, a mystery of the past I guess.

As a side-note, I could have argued with, contradicted or nagged Garsault, Schreber, Hartwig, et al, with surviving archaeological evidence to the contrary, but as I wrote in the front matter, I decided to let these dead guys "speak for themselves" without comments every other paragraph. Here is the place to ask, though, if you find weird discrepancies in their instructions.

I'm glad you're enjoying the book, and feel free to post any other questions here.

ephraim

Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#12 Post by ephraim » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:09 pm

Dear R.A.S.L. Saguto,

Thanks for the reply. I think I'll stick with the strop, for now. Image

On another note,...what do you think Garsault is on about when he talks about really good leather coming from the Levant and Ireland? I thought that the barley meal tanning was interesting. Oh,...the myriad of mysteries of Monsieur de Garsault! How deep shall we go to plumb them?

I look forward to your insights on "what the dead guys said for themselves," and remain,

Yr. Srvnt.,
+Bt./Ephraim

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#13 Post by das » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:01 am

Brett,

Strops, or "stopping sticks" do work much better Image

The leathers Garsault specifically mentioned from the Levant were the exotics of his day, real Morocco, "cordovan", shagreen, etc. Bear in mind that the mysterious near-east was the original source of "cordwain" leather--whence we get our moniker during the Crusades--a combination-tannage with alum-tawing involved, on at first goatskins, then by Garsault's time that mustard seed-imprinted asshide. Whether leathers from the near-east, Hungary, Russia and the Baltic, the level of international commerce was hardly new by 1767--remember the Romans invaded Britain not only for her tin mines, but for her oak tanned leathers.

While preparing the book I grilled Roy Thompson, former tanner himself, and the go-to historic tanning guy at Leather Conservation Centre, Northampton about the Irish "lime and barley" sole leather. He'd never heard of it, but suggested that a bath in fermented barely could have been done for raising or drenching the hides (opening the pores) before the actual tanning. The 1807 directions for making Russia leather Janne shared around the other week also mentioned working flour-paste into the wet hides before tanning. I don't know enough about tanning chemistry to say more, sorry.

Bear in mind always with Garsault, it was he or his interviewers going into cloistered trade shops and interviewing tradesmen on specialized and secret stuff--field research. Imagine a grad-student from W&M coming to the Shoe Shop at Colonial Williamsburg and interviewing us on how to make a shoe? What were they told? What were they not told? What did they gloss, interpret/misinterpret? At least Roland de la Platiere says he sent Garsault's text to his personal shoemaker for his professional comments and input.That's all part of the fascination I think, and it will take a generation of researchers to chase all these little things to ground. Some shoemaker in Paris might have extolled the sole leather from Ireland, the so-called "lime and barley leather". Was it so superior because of the Irish cattle hides? The "lime & barley" processing? Importer/exporter marketing? Or the final tanning or preparation? I can't say, but it does illustrate the depth and complexity of these people's industrial world, and their savvy about the materials they used from around the world--this hopefully will dispel the popular myth that shoemakers worked all alone like a Keebler elf, using leather tanned locally from last Sunday's roast beef (especially considering it could take nigh on to two years to tan sole bends) to make their shoes.

hrst

Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#14 Post by hrst » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:02 am

Greetings from chilly Nova Scotia. I would like to purchase a copy of "The Art Of The Shoemaker" but when I visit the Colonial Williamsburg website it doesn't appear to accept any country other than the US to which it will ship this book. As I live in Canada this poses a challenge. Can anyone provide a way around this problem? Perhaps a different website? Many thanks in advance. Ron

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#15 Post by lancepryor » Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:58 am

Ron:

It is sold on Amazon.com, which I would assume ships to Canada.

Lance

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#16 Post by proxy_posting » Mon Feb 01, 2010 1:49 pm

We are delighted to hear that Mr.MacIntyre is interested in purchasing the (sic) book "The Art Of The Shoemaker". We are only able to process USA orders directly through our website, however, Mr. MacIntyre can place his order by calling 1-800-446-9240 Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time). Our Order Entry Representatives will be happy to assist him in making his purchase and shipping it to Canada.

Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any other way.

Thank you,

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#17 Post by hrst » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:01 pm

Thanks Lance. It's been ordered and is on it's way. Thanks also to Ms. Gilliam, via proxy posting- there was more that one book on offer at Colonial Williamsburg that appealed.

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#18 Post by fclasse » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:06 pm

Master Saguto,

I was thrilled to see the publication of your annotated translation coincide with my trip to see the Bata Shoe Museum's opening of their new exhibit on platforms and early modern raised heels - being a student of 16th-18th C. heels and platforms, it provided excellent reading material for the flight!

However, I must lament your tease in the introduction - you mention that there are a number of differences between the French school of construction and the English, so much so that another couple of volumes might be written! Having finished such an effort, I don't suppose that there is any possibility of a follow up work along those lines? I'm sure that many others (myself included) would be very interested to know some of the detailed differences in construction and technique, some of which are alluded to in the actual French text, but only through vague description. Irrespective, thank you very much for this great resource.


Francis

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#19 Post by das » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:45 pm

Francis,

Thanks very much for the kind words on 'Art of the Shoemaker', and I'm glad you enjoyed the platforms exhibit at Bata Shoe Museum. I'm afraid there were necessarily lots of "teases" in the intro. Garsault, Schreber, et al, I felt, must be left to speak in their own voices and have their say without being nagged every step of the way by me pointing out discrepancies evidenced by archaeological remains, English practice, my bias, etc, etc.

The next book in line on my desk is the archeological footwear of N. Am. c.1600-1850, which will heavily cite 'AotS' and illustrate many variant examples, but absolutely, I plan follow-up works to build off of that foundational gathering of texts, rest assured.

It's sad that 'AotS' came out at the dawn of "The Great Recession", and nobody can say for certain what might be published or not in the near tern, but again, I thank you for your encouragement here, as this web-site is, truly, the only direct link to me, the author.

Cheers.

ephraim

Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#20 Post by ephraim » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:29 am

Dear R.A.S.L. Saguto,

I agree with Francis. There is a significant need for an in-depth study of the calcaeological differences between Franco-American and Anglo-American footwear in the colonial period. That way, we can see where "the dead guys" got it right and where they did not. "Possibly 18th-Century German footwear, too?" I hear someone query? Sure,...why not. Schreber and Hartwig would approve, I'm sure.

Francis,...glad to see you're "out there thinking." I hope we'll see several more entrées of this calibre by Mr. Saguto, as it is a boon to all the Knights of St. Crispin and - durst I be so bold? - the human race in general. After all, in the words of my master, "Everybody needs shoes."

Mmmmm,...I can already smell the ideas cooking in Master Saguto's kitchen. Does anybody know what wine goes best with Garsault, by the way?

We all wait here at Chez Soulier with knife and fork in hand.

Yr. Srvnt., &c.,
+Bt. Walker, a.k.a. Ephraim

(Message edited by Ephraim on February 06, 2010)

ephraim

Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#21 Post by ephraim » Sat Feb 06, 2010 2:16 pm

Addendum to Above:

Dear R.A.S.L. Saguto,

I was wondering if you can think of any reason why Garsault says that the shoemaker doesn't pull the stitches as hard with the right hand as he does with the left? He attributes the use of "le gant royale" to this, which is correct; but we also know that the awl haft functions as a lever to pull against on the right side.

Furthermore, it is counter-intuitive. I would be more concerned with tearing through the holdfast, in most cases, than pulling through and upper and liner. Do you think this is one of those areas where Garsault or his interviewer didn't quite comprehend the operation? Or am I just too "gung-ho" on hard-drawing the threads, as per England's "Act concerning Tanners, Curriers, Shoe-makers and other Artificers Occupying the Cutting of Leather?"

I look forward to your insights, Sir, and remain,

Yr. Humble Srvnt., &c.,
+Bt., a.k.a. Ephraim

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#22 Post by das » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:49 am

Brett,

Any Talmudic reading of Garsault will point up endless details like this, and as Francis raised the point, a series of spin-off publications would necessary to sort them all out.

Bear in mind, what Garsault wrote was collected through interviews with Paris shoemakers, either done by Garsault himself or his "interns", none of whom were shoemakers as far as we can tell. As shoemakers we know that in welt sewing one side of the thread (the right, not left) needs to be pulled harder to draw the half-cast knot made on the welt-side in tight so it sinks into the work. At least the half-cast is usually made on the welt-side to put more thread into the work there, to prevent the welt grinning and "showing its teeth" afterwards. Perhaps Garsault was told one side got pulled harder, and got which one reversed?????

As closely as you're reading, please keep track of any typos you find--sadly I've found one so far myself Image

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#23 Post by frank_jones » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:01 am

R.A.S.L./Master Saguto/Al (what ever is the current moniker)

As I have said to you before, I love it when you use words that are new to me.

I am referring to “Talmudic” in your Feb 7 posting.

My search started in Webster’s Dictionary but found nothing relevant there. So I reverted to the Oxford Dictionary and hit pay-dirt (is that the correct Americanism?).

Now I need to know what is the connection between ‘Jewish civil and commercial law and legend’ and the reading of an modern version of a 16th Century book on shoemaking?

- from a UK-based student of the English language -

Frank Jones - HCC Member
frank.jones@noblefootwear.com

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#24 Post by das » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:21 am

Ah Frank, leave it to you Image

"Talmudic", as in the scrupulous (to the extreme) way the Talmud is read, is not a common term, nor an "Americanism"--it's just apt in certain circumstances. And as our language's great bard Shakespeare turned the noun "uncle" into a verb ("nor uncle me no uncle..." Rich. II), I only followed his lead in creating a "fire-new word" (Love's Labours Lost).

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Re: The Art of the Shoemaker--Garsault, 1767, Saguto, 2009

#25 Post by dw » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:52 am

I don't think that the use of "Talmudic" in this context is all that unfamiliar. I understood it immediately...perhaps because I had heard it used before...even though it is not a word in my working lexicon.

This is all kind of beside the point but I once had an English teacher...albeit an elementary school teacher...become completely confused and even offended by the usage of "willy-nilly."

And another dear, lovely older woman (also a teacher) who nearly fell out of her chair when I used the word "prodigious"--perhaps she just never expected it to come from these lips. Image

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