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

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

#26 Post by lancepryor » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:03 am

Al:

I've always seen the half-cast knot done on the insole side of the stitch, including (IIRC) in DW's video of the 'hand jive.' So, is that approach in fact contrary to tradition? Or am I missing something when folks are putting a half-twist on the sole side of the stitch before putting the bristle through the resulting opening? Further, when the half-cast knot is done on the welt side, is this also done by putting a half twist on the thread, or is it done some other way?

By the way, your book is a obviously a result of tremendous effort on your part. In addition to my copy, I sent a copy to T. Moore, so I look forward to comparing notes with him about it someday.

Congratulations on getting it done.

Lance

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

#27 Post by fclasse » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:16 pm

Master Saguto,

Thanks for the good news of future plans - like Brett, I, too, will stay hungry for your forthcoming publications!


Brett,

Along with a bit of salt (needed to better incorporate commentary from other period cordwainers from the annotations), I only had a Cabernet on the plane over, but it paired well with Garsault. A Sangiovese might go better. =)


Francis

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

#28 Post by das » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:39 pm

Lance,

Very interesting. Perhaps Garsault was not confused--as I said it's hard to say. I believe Rees, Deviln and my mentor advocated making the half-cast on the welt side as it puts more thread in the work on that side of the seam. Only having been at this 37 years, I haven't lived long enough to be familiar with all "tradition--I just commune with the dead guys, can't interview them posthumously I'm afraid. If they didn't bother to write it down, I'm lost Image

Thanks for the congratulations--it was a big project that seemed to never end, and times were when I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew. BTW, and Francis should note, while the ms. was in final edit I did trace a possible Polish version of 'Art du Cordonnier' from the 1770s, but my editors screamed when I told them that. 'Art of the Shoemaker' is hardly the end of the story, "case closed".... for many I hope it is the beginning. It might seem too grandiose an analogy, but just as the writings of the Early Church Fathers, dry and often thorny to read, are foundational to understanding the early Church, so too these early technical treatises combine with what we know from artifacts, art-history, and oral traditions about our early trade.Having access to reliable translations of them--indeed of all our early trades and manufactures--might go a long way, and for future generations, towards remedying our "cultural amnesia" about who we are, where we've been, and somewhat towards why we are the ways we are today.

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

#29 Post by dw » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:22 pm

Lance, Al,

In this (and a few other things) I wasn't taught the "traditional" way, I'm afraid. Or to put it another way, it was a different tradition.

I am not sure that what I do is considered a "half twist," in any case, as I manipulate both sides of the stitch. What I...my "tradition"...is striving for is a lock in the center of the stitch...deep in the holdfast. Neither on one side nor the other.

But I was taught to always pull harder with the right hand than with the left. This to draw the welt into the feather. I would assume that if one was left handed one might be forced to reverse that sequence.

Who knows?


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

#30 Post by dw » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:55 pm

PS...I know this discussion is about Garsault's /Saguto's Art of the Shoemaker, and I really don't want to hijack the thread. But apropos to the question that has arisen, I noticed in Thornton that he recommends, and illustrates, the "overcast" or "half-twist" being done on the insole side of the welt...again, with more pressure brought to bear with the right hand.

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

#31 Post by dw » Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:15 am

For those members across the pond, Art of the Shoemaker may be found at

eurospanbookstore.com

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

#32 Post by lancepryor » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:36 pm

It is also available from Amazon sites for the UK, Germany, Spain, Austria, and France.

Lance

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

#33 Post by ephraim » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:20 am

Brother Crispins,

Great discussion. This is where being shoemakers ourselves gives us the ability to take a dry old French technical manual and make it into something intriguing and fun to read,...much, I'm sure, to the chagrin of our loved ones, who cannot understand why we consider this engaging reading material for taking to the beach. Perhaps we can sell T-shirts and bumper-stickers at the next Cordwainers' Gathering: "It's a Crispin thing - you just wouldn't understand."

I just want to throw one last something into this "thread" on hard-drawing with hand leathers, &c.: Perhaps, as has already been intimated, Garsault or his interviewer saw one on a myriad of possibilities. It might be imagined that the shop just down the block from where the interview was performed had a completely different take on it.

I was originally taught (not by R.A.S.L. Saguto, mind you) to do a half cast on BOTH sides and pull them with equal force. I am likewise informed (almost daily,...by my colleagues here in the shop) that I have a singular way of putting the bristle on a thread. I tried to blame this on one of them, but he strictly disavows teaching this to me during a visit I made here in 2002. Nevertheless, I never have bristles come off, and I believe that is the object of the technique.

As my father used to tell me, there are three ways for a craftsman to do things - the bad way, the good way, and the best way. It would be interesting to learn if the other trades Garsault documented (viz., carpentry, metal trades, textile trades, &c.) find the techniques he recorded to differ from what they were taught.

Well,...I'm off to more "light reading" of the dead guys. Bonjour, and I remain,

YHS, &c.,
+Bt.

N.B. Francis,...I thought a nice Pinot would complement the "earthiness" of such a well-aged work. DW,...have you ever tried "widdershins" on any old ladies? I'll bet that would make them swoon.

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

#34 Post by fclasse » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:56 pm

Brett, I was considering the same thing - there are a variety of ways to perform the same task, along with a variety of tools (the annotations in AdC make this very clear as well). I think it is a reasonable to make an assumption that different cordwainers had different "preferences" in terms of coad, technique, etc., perhaps because they learned from a specific tradition or discovered a particular technique that worked well for them. These different traditions in craftsmanship are akin to a particular artist's style - as long as they do not impact the end product, it is not a matter of "better," but rather "better for me." =)

Mmm...a Pinot sounds lovely about now (and I resist the urge to bring up the topic of drinking on the job - last time that happened, I almost forgot to nail the insoles on before lasting the shoe =)

- Francis

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

#35 Post by ephraim » Sun Feb 14, 2010 11:48 am

Dear Francis,

Thanks for backing my theory. I think there's a lot in our study of "the dead guys" that can be explained this way.

As for the mixing of wine and shoemaking, I find it relaxing - like listing to Vivaldi - and I have often thought my work went faster with one or two glasses. If the bottom of the bottle is easily seen by halfway through the day, though, perhaps that WOULD have the result you described,...which incidentally, I have done once whilst drinking nothing stronger than Earl Grey tea!

On to more reading...

I remain,

Yr. Srvnt., &c.,
+Bt.

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

#36 Post by das » Thu Dec 22, 2016 4:11 pm

As a spin-off, here's a link to more translation: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/d/did/did2222 ... t;rgn=main

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

#37 Post by SharonKudrle » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:03 am

Al,
I would like to post this question specifically to Al Saguto. I have not found many photos of straight lasts from this period, for women especially, but also for men. Are there any photos online of straight lasts that include the top and bottom as well as the side view? I would like to use a straight last, but I'm not a woodworker, and I'm trying to figure out what different options are possible to get a straight last.
The Horma lasts from Mexico I've seen needed modifications when compared to photos of ones I’ve seen, or fairly early lasts that I own; and were also limiting style-wise. Hiring a lastmaker or a woodworker might be a possibility if general specs and photos were available. It might also be possible to modify a modern wooden last by using leather build-ups, wouldn't it? I do have a few straight lasts I've bought on EBay over the years though they're later than this era, or the original last was modified to follow changing fashion over the years.
The photos at the back of Garsault were helpful to illustrate the line drawings of lasts in the book, but more photos would be helpful. I am also aware that there is a video on early lasts (video number XII) The Ubiquitous Shoe Last: A Look at Lasts Old & New by presenters Al Saguto and Dan Freeman that is available through the HCC homepage under Resources, The Guild Library.
I am posting this question specifically to Al Saguto because I would like to know his thoughts on the subject. Thank you in advance, Sharon Kudrle

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

#38 Post by das » Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:55 am

Sharon,
Historically when lasts outlived their usefulness they were handy firewood, thus it's a miracle any survive. That said there's a fine 1770s set, a small run of 7 sizes, all belonging to a shoemaker named Thos. Ruggles, (b.1750 d.1808), near you at the Hardwick Historical Society, MA. If you can convince them it's harmless to the antiques, you might even be able to 3-D scan them, "print" models in plastic and have those copied by a lastmaking firm (Horma, El Arbo, J&V, etc.). I think it would be more trouble than it's worth to try and make a "straight" last out of a modern L&R, but that's a last ditch option I guess. Just be sure the fill in the medial side through the arch, so the joints at the widest point both line up with the lateral (outside) ball, not the medial (inside) ball like modern lasts do. Antique lasts, like off of eBay, are a pig in a poke as to whether the're going to be good fitters or not, so grab the good ones but be prepared to do a bit of fitting-up. Yes, the video Dan and I did on 'The Ubiquitous Last' is an HCC DVD video, available through the guild library on our home page.

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

#39 Post by SharonKudrle » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:56 am

Al,
Thank you for your quick reply.
So, to get a straight last, the options are:
1. to 3-D scan an original, print it in plastic, and have it copied.
2. Altering a modern L&R last, though possible, is a last ditch option.

Do you think that if enough photographs, drawings, and information are available, maybe a woodworker can make a straight last that is close to an original, especially if differences between modern lasts and lasts of a particular era are known?
I was looking through Olaf Goubitz "Stepping Through Time" this morning again, and his drawings of the bottom shapes of shoe soles. Thank you for all the information you've put on the HCC Forum.

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

#40 Post by das » Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:21 pm

Sharon,

Glad to help. I think THE most reasonable course is to 3-D scan an antique last and have lasts made from 3-D printed plastic model. Bear in mind, too, often, lasts can only be turned 2-3 sizes up/down from the model size maintaining proportions--you can't scan in a kid's size 5 and ask for a 14 off of it IOW, the heel seat will become too wide, etc. Maybe with digital scanning they now have algorithms to compensate, but be careful. Altering a modern L&R is not going to net you historically accurate lasts for making repro shoes, just a "straight" if you're lucky. Why would you want straight lasts unless you're making historical repro shoes anyway? But, with any luck the architecture of the bottom will be closer converting a modern L&R, than if a genetic woodworker tried to make one from drawings and a log. Last making's a very sophisticated trade in its own right. Goubitz drawings are great, but what you need are bottom contours (transverse plus longitudinal) taken with a contour gauge, like a topo map, and sadly Olaf didn't give us those to follow.

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

#41 Post by SharonKudrle » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:35 pm

I know rights for reproductions can be an issue for museums now. If the only historically accurate lasts are antique ones which have been scanned in, and in a graded range of sizes that fit modern feet, then it would be nearly impossible to make a historically accurate shoe. If the bottom contours of shoe lasts were formed to fit the contour of the average foot then it shouldn't be that hard to duplicate. A Tandy booklet on sandal making suggests that the wearer step onto the cased insole to make it form to the bottom of the foot before cutting the sandal itself, and then impressing that form onto the outsole. Garsault describes forming the heel of an insole in a cupped wooden mold to shape it. I think Jesselee Cantrell also addressed that aspect of antique lasts in this Forum. There are a few photos on the internet of early lasts. So far, I've found: Old Sturbridge Village accession number 54.17.119, and Historic New England accession number 1991.1159. Aside from the bottom contours, it is the more visible side profile and the top down view that I find interesting. I wish more photos of old lasts were available. The Garsault lasts look so much different than modern ones.
I have learned a lot from your posts to this forum, and I hoped to start this thread in order to clarify options for people who want to make shoes that look as close to historically accurate as possible. It isn’t necessarily about lasts, I just started with that subject because I had a pair of uppers ready to last. Is there anything you especially don't like to see in reproduction shoes, realizing that there are degrees of accuracy?

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

#42 Post by das » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:47 am

Lasts, like shoes and shoe constructions, have gone through a distinct evolution, changing over the last 2000 years. What the Romans thought was a "good" last design (1stc Mainz), earlier(?) examples from Russia, then on through Medieval ones (Marc Carlson's excellent website shows many of these) changed radically over time. The more recent 17thc/18thc through 20thc architecture of lasts, and the theory behind it, was pretty well discussed in the HCC video by me and Dan Freemen you asked about earlier.

Not sure I understood you correctly, "If the only historically accurate lasts are antique ones which have been scanned in, and in a graded range of sizes that fit modern feet, then it would be nearly impossible to make a historically accurate shoe"? Copying, precisely, (digital scanning or otherwise) a reliably dated antique last is IMO the only way to begin making an historically accurate shoe. Grading it up/down into a range of sizes is nothing more than the lastmakers of old did for centuries to make runs of a given last for shoemakers to buy, by eye (before the advent of the pantograph lathe), Look at the runs of lasts in the wall rack in Garsault as well as Diderot.

I mentioned bottom contours because this is where most beginners have the most trouble getting a scratch-built last right. Sole shape is easy to duplicate from measured drawings like Goubitz', toe-shape and side profile only a little trickier, but bottom contours....? If these are not right the shoes will be a misery to wear. Contouring a last bottom for "X" heel height, "Y" toe spring to correspond, "degree","wedge angle", and "pitch" are critical factors to get a good bottom contour--sole outline and side profile are only part of the equation. If someone, a fledgling shoemaker (no insults intended) decides they want to make a last from a log, but have little or no guidance on heel height, toe spring to correspond, "degree","wedge angle", and "pitch", or where the joint-line ought to be crowned the deepest across the bottom, the task before them will be very hit or miss. Not all antique lasts are going to be great fitters, but by starting with a scan/model of one, at least the skill of that long-dead maker is a starting point.

"Is there anything you especially don't like to see in reproduction shoes, realizing that there are degrees of accuracy?"--what pops to mind immediately, here, are lasts and toe shapes. Nothing is more prevalent, or spoils an otherwise credible attempt at reproducing any period shoe, than the use of a last that does not capture the correct shape and toe-shape for the decade the shoe's supposed to represent. Repro 1770s War for Independence footwear is a good example. Repro American Civil War era footwear is a big seller in the reenactor market, and many have tried to tap into the Rev War market by simply making 1770ish looking buckle shoes on lasts they use primarily for their (more appropriately shaped) 1860s repros. In general, the other "sin" (missing the mark) is in copying a copy, or reproducing a repro shoe rather than taking a pattern off reliably dated antique shoes. In about 1973-4 the famous John A. Frye Shoe Co., Marlboro, MA brought out their "Americana" line of shoes, bootees, and boots, to try to cash-in on the popularity of Civil War reenacting, and the upcoming Bicentennial of the Rev War. Their fanciful "colonial" buckle shoe, and even the buckles they designed to fit it, were "theatrical grade" at best, but cheap, well-made, and wildly popular. When Frye discontinued making these, when they got sold to Alberto-Culver in 1978, small entrepreneurial reenactor-shoemakers filled the void by making more or less exact copies of the Frye "colonial" shoe. There are still vendors who unwittingly(?) supply basically a repro Frye "colonial" shoe and repros of the old Frye shoe buckles 44 years on.

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

#43 Post by SharonKudrle » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:52 am

I love Marc Carlson’s website – he also has a wonderful section for new shoemakers on how to make a period last.
Rusty Moore’s posts on this Forum about lastmaking at Plimoth Plantation were also helpful.
I ordered the video yesterday, and it is on its way, I am looking forward to seeing it.
Copying original lasts: so there is is no alternative. The issue is availability of lasts to copy within date range. Photos are helpful if nothing else at all is available. Hell ratio is always an issue. In a post on the Forum, you pointed out that some early shoemakers put heels on flat lasts which caused problems for the wearers.
I am glad you pointed out that a 3D scan of one last can only be used for a few graded sizes.
I think bottom contours wouldn’t be too difficult to duplicate from what I’ve seen, even for a beginner with a photo. They seem mostly consistent until you get into mid-late 1800s R&L highly shaped arches, twisted cones, etc. Accounting for heel pitch and matching a heel is harder. Shoemakers must have had some ability to work wood if they were women’s shoemakers because Garsault wrote that heels were sold oversized and cut to fit the shoe being made. I haven’t seen too many side build ups on the very few early lasts that I’ve seen, and if instep leathers/shovers were mostly used, the build up would be on top, and the sides would get walked over. At least one buckle I’ve seen for a man’s shoe had a very high arch rather than being flatter like repro buckles. I’m hoping this helps to get a better straight last in any way possible, and correct mistakes. I don’t always see toe spring corresponding to heel height from photos of made up shoes, and I don’t know how that factors in with heels that are also shanks. Stabilizing heeled shoes is another question I have. Do the existing high heeled shoes have reinforced heel areas in the uppers? Uncrowned joint lines – can you tell me if that area is commonly crowned in that era? I haven’t seen any early lasts made to accept heels to know if that is a common feature. Ankle stabilization in shoes with higher heels has been an issue for me, and I’m curious to know how shoemakers in that era solved that problem. To me, the sole outlines Iin Goubitz were helpful for seeing the approximate width/waist of shank area, fashion vs. function, and the sheer variety of R&L and straight shapes over time.
So, the major sins – missing the mark – are:
+ Incorrect last shape, incorrect toe shapes
+ Copying a bad repro shoe

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

#44 Post by das » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:25 am

Sharon,
SharonKudrle wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:52 am
"Copying original lasts: so there is is no alternative. The issue is availability of lasts to copy within date range. Photos are helpful if nothing else at all is available. Hell ratio is always an issue. In a post on the Forum, you pointed out that some early shoemakers put heels on flat lasts which caused problems for the wearers."
--IMO there's no *better* "alternative" than to copy antique lasts, but when you can "read" lasts better, you can tell an antique "turd" last from a good one, and after making shoes off of it for a while whether it's a good fitter--a good starting point IOW. And yes, there are antique shoes surviving with heels too high for the last, lasts with insufficient toe spring, etc. Lots of surviving dead-stock shoes too, that either didn't fit well (never got worn), or were so pug-ugly in their day nobody bought them, which is why they survived to be in our museums. By advocating the copying of antique lasts as the better starting point, I'm not suggesting this is fool-proof. Don't let perfection become the enemy of "better" here.
"Shoemakers must have had some ability to work wood if they were women’s shoemakers because Garsault wrote that heels were sold oversized and cut to fit the shoe being made. "
-- Absolutely correct, but there's a big difference between whittling-down an over-sized pre-made heel, versus making a last from scratch, not to mention the lost time/$. Note that the text says, first choice, select a last from the ones on-hand, or second choice, send to a lastmaker to make one--not carve it yourself. Then, as now, I'm sure there were the occasional highly-skilled makers who could carve a fairly decent one-off bespoke last. But, surviving lasts indicate there were plenty of shoemakers, probably in rural or provincial circumstances where no pro-lastmakers were handy, who butchered existing lasts, or made crude ones--plenty of these survive too.
"Stabilizing heeled shoes is another question I have. Do the existing high heeled shoes have reinforced heel areas in the uppers?"
--Some do, many do not, not rigid stiffeners or counters like we think of them. The leather uppers (women's 17thc early 18thc) occasionally have whip-stitched heel-linings, or low side-linings that run around the base of the quarters to add some firmness, and some textile uppers (predominant) have inserted stiffeners between the lining and shell, but again, nothing as structurally stiff as in modern footwear.
"Uncrowned joint lines – can you tell me if that area is commonly crowned in that era?"
--Have not seen any/many antique lasts that are dead flat on the bottom across the joint-line, they all have some convexity there. Early in the 18thc there was a fad for highly convex soles, June Swann nicknamed "domed soles" (we do not know what this style was called in the day). It's all about girths. I you can "hide" excess girth under the foot, rather than out the sides, via convexity of the bottom, so the lasts/shoes appear narrower and more dainty, just like adding girth on top via an instep leather. Plenty of antique shoes were "walked over" (the foot was wider than the soles and the uppers got walked on).
"I haven’t seen any early lasts made to accept heels to know if that is a common feature."
--The Ruggles lasts @ Hardwick Hist. Soc. were made c.1760s-70s for women's heeled shoes. You could take a heel-height "stair step" gizmo with you and measure how many 1/8ths inch heel they were designed for, and remember in the 18thc shoes were often made with heels too high for the last, the joint-line barely touching the ground. Modern standards be damned.
"Ankle stabilization in shoes with higher heels has been an issue for me, and I’m curious to know how shoemakers in that era solved that problem."
--Not to sound snarky, but since none of the women's shoes with higher heels from that era extended above the ankle, there was no opportunity to stabilize the ankle per se.

One book I can recommend shows many women's higher heeled shoes 17thc-18thc (some mis-dated, beware) that illustrate many of my points above, especially heels too high for the last: 'Schuhe' by Saskia Durian-Ress (1992). https://www.amazon.de/Schuhe-Saskia-Dur ... urian-Ress

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

#45 Post by SharonKudrle » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:11 am

"Copying original lasts: so there is is no alternative. The issue is availability of lasts to copy within date range. Photos are helpful if nothing else at all is available. Hell ratio is always an issue. In a post on the Forum, you pointed out that some early shoemakers put heels on flat lasts which caused problems for the wearers."--IMO there's no *better* "alternative" than to copy antique lasts, but when you can "read" lasts better, you can tell an antique "turd" last from a good one, and after making shoes off of it for a while whether it's a good fitter--a good starting point IOW. And yes, there are antique shoes surviving with heels too high for the last, lasts with insufficient toe spring, etc. Lots of surviving dead-stock shoes too, that either didn't fit well (never got worn), or were so pug-ugly in their day nobody bought them, which is why they survived to be in our museums. By advocating the copying of antique lasts as the better starting point, I'm not suggesting this is fool-proof. Don't let perfection become the enemy of "better" here.
"Shoemakers must have had some ability to work wood if they were women’s shoemakers because Garsault wrote that heels were sold oversized and cut to fit the shoe being made. "-- Absolutely correct, but there's a big difference between whittling-down an over-sized pre-made heel, versus making a last from scratch, not to mention the lost time/$. Note that the text says, first choice, select a last from the ones on-hand, or second choice, send to a lastmaker to make one--not carve it yourself. Then, as now, I'm sure there were the occasional highly-skilled makers who could carve a fairly decent one-off bespoke last. But, surviving lasts indicate there were plenty of shoemakers, probably in rural or provincial circumstances where no pro-lastmakers were handy, who butchered existing lasts, or made crude ones--plenty of these survive too.
*I suggested having a woodworker make a last, are there any lastmakers that make accurate 18th lasts? I don’t know of any 18thc lasts that are available to copy in 3D. Whittling down an oversized heel to fit will likely be another discussion. I’ve found lasts earlier than 1900 in the 10.00-15.00 range on EBay, but not the 1700s.
but when you can "read" lasts better, you can tell an antique "turd" last from a good one, and after making shoes off of it for a while whether it's a good fitter--a good starting point IOW.
*Making crude straight last might be a good start, then, and using trial and error to refine it? To train the eye to “read” a last, being able to see a variety of them would helpful. I’m looking forward to watching the HCC video next week. For those who can’t hire a woodworker, but want to make a straight shoe, it makes me happy to read that even with minimal tools and skills, one can make a last and improve. The early lasts don’t have hinges, twisted cones, R&L, etc.

"Stabilizing heeled shoes is another question I have. Do the existing high heeled shoes have reinforced heel areas in the uppers?"--Some do, many do not, not rigid stiffeners or counters like we think of them. The leather uppers (women's 17thc early 18thc) occasionally have whip-stitched heel-linings, or low side-linings that run around the base of the quarters to add some firmness, and some textile uppers (predominant) have inserted stiffeners between the lining and shell, but again, nothing as structurally stiff as in modern footwear.
*Of the textile uppers with reinforcement, what was used?

"Uncrowned joint lines – can you tell me if that area is commonly crowned in that era?"--Have not seen any/many antique lasts that are dead flat on the bottom across the joint-line, they all have some convexity there. Early in the 18thc there was a fad for highly convex soles, June Swann nicknamed "domed soles" (we do not know what this style was called in the day). It's all about girths. I you can "hide" excess girth under the foot, rather than out the sides, via convexity of the bottom, so the lasts/shoes appear narrower and more dainty, just like adding girth on top via an instep leather. Plenty of antique shoes were "walked over" (the foot was wider than the soles and the uppers got walked on).
*It would be nice to see more photographs of the bottoms of early lasts in order to replicate the convexity you are writing about.

"I haven’t seen any early lasts made to accept heels to know if that is a common feature."--The Ruggles lasts @ Hardwick Hist. Soc. were made c.1760s-70s for women's heeled shoes. You could take a heel-height "stair step" gizmo with you and measure how many 1/8ths inch heel they were designed for, and remember in the 18thc shoes were often made with heels too high for the last, the joint-line barely touching the ground. Modern standards be damned.
*I’ve contacted the Hardwick Historical Society, and I think they will permit viewing the lasts when they are open, which is for 2 hours on Sundays. More than that, I don’t know at this point in time.

"Ankle stabilization in shoes with higher heels has been an issue for me, and I’m curious to know how shoemakers in that era solved that problem."--Not to sound snarky, but since none of the women's shoes with higher heels from that era extended above the ankle, there was no opportunity to stabilize the ankle per se.
*In making modern women’s shoes, a lot of the stability depends on the shank board, the heel stiffener, and a something to hold the forepart so the foot doesn’t slide forward or the ankle wobble. Otherwise the foot and body have to do all that work and the wearers foot can slide off the heel. A buckle or tie over the arch helps restrain the foot, and a wooden shank attached to a heel that is well centered under the leg helps so the heel won’t buckle forward/backward/sideways. I’m sorry for not expressing that well.
*Once the last reproduction questions are addressed, my questions about high heels are because I am hoping to get information so that a variety of heel heights and styles can be achieved for women rather than restricting repros to a low heel.

One book I can recommend shows many women's higher heeled shoes 17thc-18thc (some mis-dated, beware) that illustrate many of my points above, especially heels too high for the last: 'Schuhe' by Saskia Durian-Ress (1992).https://www.amazon.de/Schuhe-Saskia-Dur ... urian-Ress
*I’ve found that many online museum collections worldwide have photos of women’s shoes from the 17th-18th century and much fewer men’s shoes. The best men’s shoes photos I’ve seen are the ones in the back of Garsault.

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

#46 Post by admin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:17 am

I have moved the discussion / diversion regarding formatting tools from this thread to 911-Help Central-- here

And with that, we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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

#47 Post by dw » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:22 am

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

#48 Post by SharonKudrle » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:10 am

Within the past week, I've seen for the first time on EBay a modern last that has been shaped as a straight last.
I hope I didn't cause problems here with this thread, and I recommend viewing the HCC video number XII, The Ubiquitous Shoe Last: A Look at Lasts Old & New by presenters Al Saguto and Dan Freeman that is available through the HCC homepage under Resources, The Guild Library. If you watch that video, you will be much less likely to make a mistake in buying an antique last. The video has views of many lasts from all sides.

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

#49 Post by das » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:35 pm

Sharon,

Thanks for the gratuitous plug for the 'Ubiquitous Last' HCC video. I'm glad it was helpful. Many more good antique lasts have surfaced since we made that, it's probably due for a do-over.

And without attempting the "quote format" (sorry DW):

Stability--of course no shank-board in the 18thc, but the breast of the wood heel extended much further forward into the arch than today's styles. And, as Garsault describes, wood splints were packed under the hell, too, before the outsole went on, to further stiffen this area. If you go examine and handle 18thc women's shoes, you'll find them exceedingly light-weight compared to modern "high heels". Whether they "fit" or not by modern standards, they were "tolerated" in great number for a long, long, time.

Men's 18thc Shoes--these survive by the thousands archaeologically, but being pretty plain and black were not coveted by early collectors in the 19th and 20thc like the fancy textile women's shoes were, thus they're scarce as hen's teeth in museums now. The ones shown in the back of my book are some of best the surviving examples--thank you. There are a bunch (non-excavated/unworn) in the Royal Armoury, Stockholm, too, but mostly of an archaic Swedish army pattern predating Garsault, so I omitted them. But they are well worth a look on their on-line catalogue.

Cheers,
Al

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

#50 Post by dw » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:07 pm

das wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:35 pm
Sharon,

Thanks for the gratuitous plug for the 'Ubiquitous Last' HCC video. I'm glad it was helpful. Many more good antique lasts have surfaced since we made that, it's probably due for a do-over.

And without attempting the "quote format" (sorry DW):
Hey, no problem--separate paragraphs work almost as well.
And, as Garsault describes, wood splints were packed under the hell, too, before the outsole went on, to further stiffen this area.


Several times in this conversation the word "hell" is used in a context that suggest you mean "heel." Just for my peace of mind, can you confirm that there is no part of the shoe known as the "hell" (maybe the fit?).
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Without "good" there is no "better," without "better," no "best."
And without the recognition that there is a hierarchy of excellence in all things, nothing rises above the level of mundane.

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