Medieval Lasts

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Lisa Cresson

Re: Medieval Lasts

#26 Post by Lisa Cresson » Sun Feb 06, 2005 3:47 am

Dear Marc,
Thanks for the images of lasts. Could you post a closer shot of the pair of matched lasts from Greenland? And maybe include measurements at typical landmarks.
Just wondering how they compared to modern stuff cause they sure look wearable even today.

On another note, does anyone have any comments as to if feet are changing? and if so, how they are different than say 30-50 years back? I only know about the pair I use. ;-)

Regards,
Lisa

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#27 Post by marc » Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:13 am

Lisa, let me see what I have around here and get back on it.

Marc

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#28 Post by marc » Sun Feb 13, 2005 8:55 pm

Lisa,
You had to pick those ... The Greenland repros are the first I ever did and so are flawed, since the actual measurements for it are based on my measurements, rather than the originals.
3455.gif
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The lasts they are based on look more like:
3454.gif
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Other lasts from the same site
3453.gif
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3452.gif
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3451.gif
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3450.gif
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3449.gif
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A final last from Greenland from a different site:
3448.jpg
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If this isn't clear, please let me know.

Marc

dagon

Re: Medieval Lasts

#29 Post by dagon » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:00 pm

Hey Marc, I'm hosting a class on making Medieval Lasts next month. Since I've still got the one I did (correctly) for you, I'll see if I can make a match for it, and get them to you. It has only been..what.... 3 years? I use the FUBAR-ed match to teach why you should always ALWAYS check twice before cutting (Left last, with Right measurements. Truly impressive...sigh).

We will be doing the 14th Century German lasts. We will be following it up with another shoemaking class the next month. I've got a bandsaw, a couple of belt sanders, lots of bandaids... pretty much set....

Anybody in the San Francisco North Bay area is welcome. Well, so is anybody else, but the cost/return might be a bit lacking......


-Mitch/Dagon

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#30 Post by marc » Wed Feb 16, 2005 9:59 pm

That sounds great, Mitch. Please let me know how the class works out. I'll look forward to seeing the lasts when they are done.

Marc

Lisa Cresson

Re: Medieval Lasts

#31 Post by Lisa Cresson » Sun Feb 20, 2005 5:11 pm

Marc,
Thanks for the images; if i wanted to try the same using a sculpted plaster cast of my foot, what brand would you recommend?

Regards,
Lisa

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#32 Post by marc » Sun Feb 20, 2005 9:52 pm

Lisa, I would have no earthly idea Image I try to talk people OUT of using plaster for lasts. I am aware though that some orthodics folks use plaster - maybe they have some suggestions.

Marc

Lisa Cresson

Re: Medieval Lasts

#33 Post by Lisa Cresson » Mon Feb 21, 2005 6:17 pm

Marc,
I noticed while repairing the walls in an OLD house; 1893 or earlier construction, that the 'patching paster' at the local Home Depot was nearly impossible to sand smooth with typical drywall sanding materials. David Ulan uses regular plaster and it seems to work well; he's a pedorthist also.

Time for some new files and carving tools. . .

Regards,
Lisa

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#34 Post by marc » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:38 pm

Lisa - I've noticed that when *I* use plaster, the nails and the hitting it with a hammer repeatedly tends to cause it to break up at inconvenient times. Besides, there's no evidence that it was done historically (the wood I use is too soft for that matter, but at least it stays intact).

Marc

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#35 Post by djulan » Tue Feb 22, 2005 6:46 pm

Lisa,

The plaster I use is from home depot. It seems to take on different properties according to the mixing proportions of H20 to powder as well as the time agitated. Though shaping of the last is simple with plaster, Marc is right it always breaks with making, which is why I am trying to understand replicating my plaster "lasts" in carved wood. Plaster is only good for one pair.

later,

david

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#36 Post by marc » Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:50 pm

I have a tricky question for people. I've been asked about how to make a particular style of shoe:

Image

Although this isn't a really good drawing you can get the idea - the prolooks to be larger than the girth at the "instep" (or really about halfway up the instep).

Any ideas? I'm betting there's a shover of some sort, but I'm not sure it's enough to get the toe out. I've considered making a three part toe area, but I'm not sure that's 16th century technology.

Marc

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#37 Post by marc » Tue Nov 15, 2005 10:51 pm

I have a tricky question for people. I've been asked about how to make a particular style of shoe:
3763.jpg
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Although this isn't a really good drawing you can get the idea - the toe looks to be larger than the girth at the "instep" (or really about halfway up the instep).

Any ideas? I'm betting there's a shover of some sort, but I'm not sure it's enough to get the toe out. I've considered making a three part toe area, but I'm not sure that's 16th century technology.

Marc

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#38 Post by amuckart » Tue Nov 24, 2009 7:43 pm

I am working on reproducing a pair of shoes from the SO-1 wreck in the Dutch Wadden Sea, c1593. and I'm trying to work out if they should be made on straight or paired left/right lasts. I've searched the forum and haven't found anything relevant to this early a period. Were differentiated left/right lasts still in use this late in the 16th century?

Now, I've seen the pictures of the lasts from the SO-1 wreck, Goubitz's drawings in Stepping Through Time, and drawings of the (slightly earlier) Coppergate last in the York Archaeology book, and all of them look like they could well be straights. They certainly don't seem obviously cranked the way early-mid 15th century lasts are.

What's confusing me is that Goubitz's pictures of the insoles of the Wadden Sea shoes in Stepping Through Time are distinctly shaped as left and rights. But from what I know of the period, and what I can tell from the pictures, the lasts should be straights.

From drawings of the reassembled shoes it's obvious the insole is a lot smaller than the bottom of the last. The welt on the finished shoe doesn't seem to protrude much, if at all, from under the upper so I'm wondering if, since the last has such a curved bottom and no defined feather, the shoes could have been made with left and right shaped insoles on a straight last, or should I be making both left and right lasts?

Here are some pictures:

The lasts and a different view of one of the lasts

I don't know if these lasts were used to make any of the shoes found in the same context. The text accompanying them says that by their size they appear to be lasts for overshoes / mules, but I'm a bit unconvinced just based on the scarring from decorative cuts that are left on the lasts.

Three of the 100 or so shoes from the SO-1 wreck

A boot from the same wreck and another view of the same boot.

Shoemaker's Toolbox from the SO-1 Wreck

An awl haft from the same context and another similar awl one.

Other pictures from the same wreck can be found on the Memory of the Netherlands website

Any help people can offer would be greatly appreciated. I've run out of easily findable sources at my end of the world.

Thanks.

das
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Re: Medieval Lasts

#39 Post by das » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:25 am

Alasdair,

I'll have to wait 'til I'm in my office to check the links and see the pix, but in a nut-shell 1593 was a transition time, so either/or are fine. Queen Elizabeth I had the new "upright" (straights), and Shakespeare mentions both "uprights" (straights) and rights/lefts, but "uprights" were remarkable, IOW something new and weird. Most of the surviving English shoes from Jamestown, VA (c.1607-15) were made on straight lasts, bent into left and right configuration through wear, but there are a few insoles that were cut/made left and right. English uppers all through the 1600s (and beyond) offer styles cut decidedly left/right, though made on straight lasts for cheapness. The Dutch were a law unto themselves, so the proportion of left/right versus straights may have differed with them. By the mid-1700s the Dutch still clung onto the older left/right shapes [P. Camper, 1780]. Too bad Olaf's gone or we could just write and ask him Image

BTW, the early straights are that same "medieval" narrow-waisted hour-glass sole shape.

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#40 Post by amuckart » Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:28 pm

Thanks for the response Al.

I think I might have a go at making a straight last and left/right insoles and see how I get on. If nothing else it will be an interesting experiment.

The last pictures from the ship, as well as the one pictured in the York Archaeology book, have the characteristic narrow waist and heel seat of late medieval lasts but much more rounded toes. As far as I can tell from the pictures they're all straights.

When you say the Dutch were a law unto themselves, what do you mean? I do wish we could ask Olaf. I was very sad he died before I got to meet him.



I think there is value in attaching the last pictures here directly:
10485.jpg
10484.jpg

One of these lasts was drawn by Dr Goubitz in STT.

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#41 Post by das » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:59 am

Alasdair,

What I meant about the Dutch was this: the 16th-17thc was their great age of global expansion and prosperity, and it was expressed in their fashion, art, etc. Dutch style was unique and flamboyant, and they made up their own rules. See Randle Holme's 1688 'Academy of Armoury' where he shows "Dutch" boots and I believe shoes, as distinct from English etc. These "Dutch" boots BTW are neat: they are side-seamed in the Eastern (cum-Western) style. A boot of this type was drawn by Olaf, but maybe not(?) in STT. The back of the leg was whole-cut top to bottom, but the boot front had a separate vamp and tongue a la Western European--kind of a hybrid or a cross-pollination.

You're "safe" with either/or "crooked" or "upright" lasts for 1590s, but you can still cut the upper decidedly left and right. The initial idea there was merely to reduce the number of lasts needed by 50%--not to make completely symmetrical shoes. That short-lived fad came a bit later.

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#42 Post by amuckart » Sun Nov 29, 2009 6:02 pm

Thank you Al.

I'll make a straight last and crooked insoles.

One more question though, does it matter if the width of the insole under the arch is wider than the last at that point? The lasts I have examples of are significantly narrower in the waist than the insoles I have pictures of.

My gut feeling is that it could go horribly wrong, but I have no experience with this form and sadly I'm working to a timeframe on this that means I can't just try it and find out.

There are links to photographs of the boot you mention in my post above. The leg part is seamed up the back but the foot has a separate tounged vamp and quarters.

Thanks.

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#43 Post by das » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:30 am

Alasdair,

I think you have some latitude in how narrow/wide you make your insoles on that "hour-glass" last, but many of the men's shoes from Jamestown, Virginia are only 3/4" wide at the narrowest part, and those guys were "in safari" in the New World. Go figure.

Haven't check all those photo links yet, but the "Dutch" boot I'm thinking of has no back seam--just 2 side seams like an 1800s Wellington, plus the tongue pieced at the front. It was a "bucket top" as well, the big fold down top that would go up your thigh if pulled up.

neuraleanus

Re: Medieval Lasts

#44 Post by neuraleanus » Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:35 pm

On Roman Army Talk I have posted a sequence of pictures showing how I have made lasts for a pair of 1st century boots:

Making lasts for a 1st Century Calcei

This is my first attempt at last making which I am forced to do after destroying a bunch of modern lasts while attempting to modify them.

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#45 Post by marc » Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:38 am

I'm sorry, Lee, I'm having some trouble seeing the images on that site.

Marc

neuraleanus

Re: Medieval Lasts

#46 Post by neuraleanus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:14 am

Oops, I mistakenly assumed that anyone could see the pictures on RAT. Tonight I'll post them here as well.

neuraleanus

Re: Medieval Lasts

#47 Post by neuraleanus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:06 pm

For those who don't subscribe to RAT:

The goal is make a pair of 1st century calcei, like this original from Mainz, Germany:
10618.jpg


A year ago I made a pair of these using a shaped section of 2x6 as a last. This sort of worked, but I discovered that this approach allowed too much freedom of fitting the upper to the form. Hence the desire for a more or less full form last. I first attempted to modify some modern lasts, but unfortunately I destroyed them all in the process. I concluded that making a last from scratch was my only option. The technique that I shall describe is based entirely upon my own intuition, I've never previously tried to construct a shoe last.

neuraleanus

Re: Medieval Lasts

#48 Post by neuraleanus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:11 pm

1st century last making, part 2:

I started may making two templates, one for the insole and a second for the side profile:
10622.jpg


Using 1x6 Swedish Pine that I obtained from Home Depot, I cut sections matching the insole and glued stacks of them together, making sure that I kept the stacks square:
10621.jpg


I then cut following the height profile to rough-out the lasts:
10620.jpg

neuraleanus

Re: Medieval Lasts

#49 Post by neuraleanus » Wed Dec 16, 2009 6:16 pm

1st century last making, part 3:

Now comes shaping, but first I need to makr the location of the peak line (better word?):
10627.jpg


I shaped the lasts first using a disc sander, followed by round wood rasps, finally hand sanding:
10626.jpg

10625.jpg


The lasts are finished by cutting them into two and inserting eye screws. Duck-tape holds them together:
10624.jpg

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Re: Medieval Lasts

#50 Post by marc » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:30 pm

Nice job, Lee.

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