"64 to the inch"

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#101 Post by kaspar » Sun May 09, 2010 6:28 am

Hi DW
I can take photos on wednesday when I get my camera back. I`ll have to ask.
Ca. means circa but I guess in English you would not say that then, when you mean "roughly"? Roughly 51 spi was the welt/sole and 36 the uppers.
Yes they are in a cabinet for a public view on St. James`s street shop.
K.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#102 Post by lancepryor » Sun May 09, 2010 7:31 am

When looking for Devlin on-line (to no avail), I happened upon this: http://books.google.com/books?id=6_MHAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=james+devli n+crispiana&source=gbs_book_other_versions#v=onepage&q&f=true


a pamphlet written by Devlin about shoes and boots displayed at the British Exhibition of 1852. It is somewhat entertaining.

If you look at page 41, you will see some comments about the sewing of some uppers in the range of 40 to 44 SPI, which he writes "is not any extraordinary number." I haven't read the whole thing, but there may be further comments about stitch density elsewhere in the publication.

Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#103 Post by dw » Sun May 09, 2010 10:49 am

Lance,

Thanks for that. I saved the pdf Image to read later. As I understand it, Devlin was one of the people who actually mastered 64 to the inch.


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Re: "64 to the inch"

#104 Post by lancepryor » Wed May 19, 2010 7:20 am

I had the opportunity to visit the John Lobb shop in London last week. Their display cases contain a wide range of shoes, many of them quite old.

I had the good fortune to get an up-close look at an 'exhibition' boot that had a hand closed upper and a finely stitched outsole. (A dress Wellington?) The stitches on the outsole look, literally, like tiny dots or pin pricks. I don't know what the stitch count is, but it is really incredible. Likewise, the upper closing was done with extraordinarily fine stitching; again, no feel for the stitch count, but certainly well north of 40 SPI. An attempt was made at photography, but the quality of the camera (point and shoot) did not generate a photograph of sufficient resolution to display the stitching.

Also got a tour of the downstairs workshop and met a few folks. Fortunately, Lobb continues to have a few apprentices -- I understand there are 4 apprentice Makers there now; the apprenticeship is more or less 2 years in duration, depending on the student's rate of progress. Current apprentices come from Asia, Eastern Europe, and Spain (the 3 I met).

If anyone is headed over to London, let me know and I'll try to arrange for a contact there to show you around.

Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#105 Post by large_shoemaker_at_large » Wed May 19, 2010 5:10 pm

Lance.
Have you read John Lobbs book.

The Last shall be first. ?

I read it 29 years ago. It makes a reference to how many stitchs per inch that was good enough to make footwear for the Royal Family.

If you could borrow a copy. the mystery of SPI os solved.

I would do it myself but I am sort of far away [img]http://www.thehcc.org/forum/images/old_smilies/sad.gif"%20ALT="sad[/img]

Is is a great read and I would like to read it again. Lots of history.

Regards
Brendan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#106 Post by kaspar » Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:45 am

Hi
Been a while since I wanted to post this one.
The red boot is the one that is stitched 51 SPI. Stitched heel cover.
Upper looks to be handstitched also. 30 something. Or could a sewing machine do such a fine work?
15088.jpg


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Re: "64 to the inch"

#107 Post by kaspar » Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:14 am

Sorry for the oversized picture. Here is one that shows sole stitching. There is a minor damage and you can see stitches going through.Is the black leather "wrinkled" over the time because it was a patent leather of some sort originally?
Image

And stitches on the upper. It looks like the shaft of the boot was covered with cloth.
It´s a superb work.
Image

(Message edited by Kaspar on December 26, 2012)

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#108 Post by lancepryor » Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:00 am

Kaspar:

Welcome back!

I hope you can successfully repost those close-up pictures, as the work on those boots is really incredible. (If you have trouble posting, you can e-mail me the pics and I'll see what I can do.)

Have you finished your apprenticeship? Last I heard, you were up North in Scotland learning the pump stitch for formal slippers? (you can see a bunch of discussion about the pump stitch here: http://www.thehcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=34792#p34792 )

Would love to see a few pictures of your recent work.

Lance

(Message edited by lancepryor on December 26, 2012)

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#109 Post by kaspar » Wed Dec 26, 2012 12:08 pm

Lance,
Thank you.

Yes, I finished my apprenticeship in the beginning of 2011. And before that I visited an old maker up in Scotland. I wanted to know about turnshoes and stitching the heel cover to heel breast. He´s reply was, in a lovely Geordie accent: "You want to forget that game" Image
But he went through a pair of "pump-s". I have some photos and I´ll post them tho the thread you provided.
15092.jpg
15091.jpg


K.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#110 Post by dmcharg » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:38 pm

I know it's been a long time since this thread was last visited, but I've just re-read it all, and I want to thank Kaspar for posting the above photos (I think I missed the last part of this thread when it was originally put up).

WOW! That is inspirational, especially the sole stitching. Gets me wondering... :)

Cheers All, and if I haven't said it already, Happy New Year,
Hoping it's a safe, enjoyable and full of learning one for us all.

Duncan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#111 Post by dw » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:03 pm

I don't know how I missed this!! I never saw the photos.

Kaspar...thanks so much for posting these photos. I wish you had put a ruler up against the stitching. But more importantly can you give us more details? Am I missing something? Who did the work? Where are the boots located? Did you say Lobbs? :bowdown:

What do you know about the brown boots?

Oh man, it's been a year or more...I hope you're still reading this forum...
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#112 Post by das » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:37 am

Kaspar,

Thanks for the photos--more proof of what was indeed possible once.

Duncan,

Great to hear from you. Enjoying summer down there? Our wax won't work in a Polar Vortex, and I daren't soften it any further or it'll be sift as chewing gum on the normal winter days.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#113 Post by lancepryor » Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:16 pm

DW et al:

I think perhaps those pictures were taken while I was there.... Yes, they are at Lobb London. They are normally in the cases you can see in the background, so visitors usually don't get a super close up view, nor can they handle the shoes/boots. Also, it is rather dark in the Lobb front room where the case is located, and with the reflections from the glass fronts, it is hard to see things in the case too well.

When I dropped into Lobb and was looking around, lo and behold one of the apprentices on his break came up, opened up the case, took out the boots, and inspected them. He also took some pictures. Turns out that apprentice was Kaspar! I was interested in looking at them, given the discussion of the 64-to-the-inch topic that had preceded my trip to London, and I think it was the HCC discussion that motivated Kaspar to look at them.

I believe those boots were exhibition/competition boots, made by Lobb sometime in the 19th century. If Kaspar is reading this, perhaps he will give more details, if he knows them.

In any event, the stitching on the boots was amazing, as I wrote back in 2010. In the somewhat weak light of the shop, it was really a challenge to make out the individual stitches -- they really did just look like little dots on the surface of the leather. I don't know the stitch density, but I guess one can take a crack at it -- if you look at the sole thickness, it was really thin -- I recall thinking at the time that I didn't know how the outsole included both a welt and an outsole. I would guess the thickness of the sole/welt edge was around 1/16th of an inch. In the enlarged pic, it looks like there are about 2 stitches in the distance equivalent to the thickness of the sole, so that would correspond to a 32 SPI density. I do think it was perhaps greater than that, if memory serves.

For the upper closing, maybe take a crack at the height of the boot, then the collar, and work from there. These boots were pretty small, perhaps the boot itself was 9 inches long, so that makes it look like a height of what, 14 inches? Then, it looks like the silver collar is 1 inch wide, so I would imagine the height of the red 'tab' on the front (the last picture) is maybe 2 inches in total height. If so, the two intersecting s curves would be about 1 inch high; by that measure, it looks like there are 44 stitches in one of the 's's, hence a 44 SPI count.

I would imagine that June Swann has inspected these boots before as well. It sure would be interesting for someone to get a really good camera and some time to do some up close, detailed shots of the work.

Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#114 Post by dmcharg » Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:51 pm

G'day Al,
I'm inside in front of a fan and it's 30 degC (86 degF) so thats not too bad. Outside it's 40 degC ( 104 degF ). It's expected to get hotter on the week end. Our house consists of an 1860's miners cottage joined to an 1870's weatherboard house, both still having the timber shingles under the tin which keeps the house about 10 degC cooler.

Back on topic, who else on the forum has had a try at pushing their stitch count into the stratosphere. I should look at this thread more often, as I find it very inspiring, and should put aside regular, official time to practice. They weren't gods, they just had a huge amount of experience, dedication and encouragement to excel (and a belief that it was possible). To start with, grab some good veg Kangaroo, check it for fibre orientation (so your stitches go over the fibres. Imagine your fingers are the fibres and you will stitch across your fingers, with the stitch holes in the same orientation as the spaces between the fingers eg. [[[[ ). Split the 'roo down to about 1/4 mm to make it easier to keep the holes parallel through the thickness. Mark the line to sew, and, as Al Saguto said those years ago, in between each stitch, smooth the reference line back to your last stitch to give yourself the clearest view of where to put the next hole; and make it closer than you think possible :rofl: No, I'm serious.

We have been given amazing minds, eyes (even if we have to wear glasses), and hands. Lets show the world what they can be capable of.

Glad I was able to bring Kaspars contribution into sight. Now, how do I get to London?

Cheers
Duncan

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#115 Post by lancepryor » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:45 am

Al:

What type of thread would have been used for sewing the shoes at the high stitch counts? Would silk have been used for the closing, or would it still have been linen/hemp?

I assume the soles would have been sewn with linen/hemp?

Thanks,
Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#116 Post by das » Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:49 am

On the threads used for 64 spi, maybe check what Devlin says re his "shamrock tongue"? I've never gotten to do thread fiber analysis on the museum examples w/ high spi counts, sorry. Silk twist was known/used (for whipping linings, because it needed no wax), so try silk.

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#117 Post by lancepryor » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:10 am

I was in London on a family trip recently; alas, due to family circumstances, I didn't get the opportunity to do any shoemaking visits. However, I did go to the Victoria & Albert museum with my daughters, and there they have a wide variety of products spanning many centuries in the UK. Among these is an exhibit including clothing, and there were a few boots from circa 1850 which were listed as competition/exhibition boots. They may have been from the Great Exhibition of 1851, though this was not stated. Also, no maker was listed. I was able to snap a few photos, which are below. Also, I will post a link to the originals, so if interested you can look at the original photos at full size; when doing so, you can inspect the welt stitching and also the upper stitching. Given the timeframe, I believe all of this work was done by hand.

These are not as finely done as the Lobb's shown earlier in this thread, but I would guess the stiching is somewhere between 30 and 40 spi. Unfortunately my daughters' patience for my photographic efforts was limited, so I didn't get too spend much time viewing the boots. Of course, they were behind glass, so there was no opportunity to handle them or put something next to them for a reference as to stitch length.

Image

Image

Image


The originals can be found here:

http://s1185.photobucket.com/user/lance ... t%20museum


If you click on the individual pictures, there will be the opportunity in the lower right hand corner to view the original pics at full size -- you need to click the magnifier glass symbol, then click it a second time.
Lance

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#118 Post by das » Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:31 am

Thanks Lance! Inspirational :thumb:

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#119 Post by dw » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:28 am

Lance,

Very nice! Thank you!

:beers:
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#120 Post by das » Tue Oct 28, 2014 10:39 am

It was my honor this past Saturday to read my friend and mentor June Swann's paper, 'Shoemaking Through The Ages' at the 30th HCC AGM in Providence, Rhode Island. In the paper June made reference to this super-fine stitching:

"...in 1873 at the first national Leather Trades Exhibition (it was held in Northampton), the emphasis was on fine workmanship. The boot shown has 44 stitches to the inch, and did not even win a prize. The prize-winners were all sold to America: please look for 72 stitches to the inch."

I asked her to give me some additional examples to offer folks who might be skeptical. Here's Junes reply:

"There were 2 women’s knee boots in LACMA when I did the shoe cataloguing there, both with 64 to inch: no. TR 9205. 33 & 34, and the next I looked at, a woman’s plain brown knee boot no. TR 9205. 43 with a mere 50 to the inch; Edward Maeder also counted these 3 after I found them, and confirmed figs.
(even that 6 more had more than the 44 per inch, the highest in Northampton Museum’s collection no.337, which I wanted to show. 44 also on National Museum of Scotland's no. 1985.489 black & green Balmoral upper. James Devlin (1800-c63) of course was believed to do 60 to inch (T.Wright p.168), ditto in Sparkes Hall. St. Crispin IX p.181: case of prize work for Lobb, inc. jockey with 60 per 1”. 64 per 1” in 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition by Grey Bros., Syracuse, ‘welts (stitched) by Sandy McCarthy’. Also, 53 per inch was noted in 1851 Great Exhibition catalogue, by Facers, Northampton.

I know it’s difficult to realise how clever people were in the past, now we can’t even make anything at all. They worked long hours per day and at least 5 1/2 days per week, beginning age 6 or so; so after 40-something years they were a lot more skilled than those working shorter hours and never for 40-something years, as in recent decades. Don’t have time to dig out all the refs, but believe me, you’re all amateurs in comparison – and you can tell ‘em that!
June"

In several examples cited above this is welt stitching to the outsole, so done with a curved awl as well. I know some here have experimented with straight awl stabbing, trying to get SPI up there. After I read her paper, and nobody challenged me on this bit of history, I thought it would be good for posterity to just post this here "for all time coming". Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is readily accessible, so go check these out for yourselves if you're still a non-believer.

"Archaeology is revealed truth" :bowdown:

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#121 Post by dw » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:07 am

Thank you, Al. Well done and good on you!
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#122 Post by das » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:25 am

To update this thread, I'm still awaiting photo's of LACMA's 64/" boots Edward M. is chasing for us, but in the mean time June Swann reported last week:

"About to set off for another day looking at a collection of prize work at Northampton Museum acquired since I left – haven’t yet found above 40 stitches per 1”, but some staggering stuff. From a Reverend‘s collection in tiny village North Yorkshire – obviously he'd nothing better to do, but most must have come from London – some ‘lent by Hoby & Gullick’, made for 1851 Great Exhibition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"A lot of theirs (Gullick's) were shown also in the 1862 London Exhibition.
And today I counted 64 stitches per 1” on a boot, same collection, in Northampton Museum store, equal to the 2 highest spi boots in LACMA years ago.
And still more to look at next week."

And yes, I've begged her to snap some photos to post here for the skeptics :wink_smile:

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#123 Post by dw » Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:10 pm

das » Tue Mar 31, 2015 11:25 am wrote:To update this thread, I'm still awaiting photo's of LACMA's 64/" boots Edward M. is chasing for us, but in the mean time June Swann reported last week:

"About to set off for another day looking at a collection of prize work at Northampton Museum acquired since I left – haven’t yet found above 40 stitches per 1”, but some staggering stuff. From a Reverend‘s collection in tiny village North Yorkshire – obviously he'd nothing better to do, but most must have come from London – some ‘lent by Hoby & Gullick’, made for 1851 Great Exhibition!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"A lot of theirs (Gullick's) were shown also in the 1862 London Exhibition.
And today I counted 64 stitches per 1” on a boot, same collection, in Northampton Museum store, equal to the 2 highest spi boots in LACMA years ago.
And still more to look at next week."

And yes, I've begged her to snap some photos to post here for the skeptics :wink_smile:
It's so good of her to pass these comments on to us...and I, for one appreciate that and thank oth of you.

We've had some really good examples of fine stitching recently...53spi in one case (the yellow and black boots with the ornate overlay) but what really missing and probably always will be is a close up of the stitching--so close there can be no doubt about how incredible it is.

Wouldn't it be mind-blowing if the Guild could acquire just one piece...for the "archives" as who should say...? We could keep it in an hermetically sealed case and bring it to every AGM...and carry it at the front of our little troupe/troop, every time we go into battle--kind of like the Ark of the Covenant. I know this is coming off a little facetious...and rightfully so...but I am serious about acquiring one boot/shoe at 50+spi.
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Re: "64 to the inch"

#124 Post by das » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:45 am

Hopefully we'll get some photos, as well as a description of where on the boot is this fine stitching located. The ones at LACMA are reportedly 64/" in the welt-stitching, curved awl, which I find incredible. To do 64/" stabbing fine uppers with a straight awl is one thing, but for stitching--wow! :bowdown:

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Re: "64 to the inch"

#125 Post by lancepryor » Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:20 am

I am excited to see some really detailed photos of these. I hope June has or can borrow a camera with a really good lens and ability to focus on up-close details. As described previously, the boots I saw at Lobb had such incredibly fine stitching, it was hard to actually see the individual stitches; a magnifying glass or loupe would have been very helpful, plus some really good lighting. Also, hopefully there will be something in the photos to provide a point of reference/scale.

Al, I would also be interested if she know what the type of thread was that was used for this stitching -- was it linen/hemp, or was it silk? Or linen for welt, and silk for uppers? Or something else (cotton)?

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