Historic techniques and materials

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#151 Post by das » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:25 am

Martn,

Yes Fig. 24, pp. 235. One at top is one I made to better illustrate, one below is antique and rather too dark to see much detail.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#152 Post by das » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:33 am

DW,

You've got the sequence more or less: stitch the outsole to the welt, heel breast to heel breast. In the heel-seat the outsole may be "stitched" through the rolled edge of the rand (Figs. 41 & 39A,pp. 244), or "blind" (hidden down behind the folded edge of the rand (Fig. 40, pp. 244, 43A & 45, pp.245). In this case ("blind' rand), you loop the heel awl behind each stitch holding the rand to the shoe, and beat the rand up afterwards to hide it all. Color? No issue. In the days of rands (1770s-1800s) the uppers were black (different in 17thc, but that's another can of worms).

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#153 Post by dw » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:37 pm

das » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:33 am wrote:DW,

You've got the sequence more or less: stitch the outsole to the welt, heel breast to heel breast. In the heel-seat the outsole may be "stitched" through the rolled edge of the rand (Figs. 41 & 39A,pp. 244), or "blind" (hidden down behind the folded edge of the rand (Fig. 40, pp. 244, 43A & 45, pp.245). In this case ("blind' rand), you loop the heel awl behind each stitch holding the rand to the shoe, and beat the rand up afterwards to hide it all. Color? No issue. In the days of rands (1770s-1800s) the uppers were black (different in 17thc, but that's another can of worms).
Thank you...that's kind of what I thought. I am a bit surprised that the rand would be stitched straight down...although I think you have mentioned that before and even described a tool that was used to fray and break up the threads that would be exposed when the heel was trimmed and shaped.

Frankly, I can't get my head around either the exposed thread or the rand being beat up around the heel of the shoe. How would you keep that heel seat / rand level?

And wouldn't trimming / shaping the heel itself tend to cut through the folded edge of the rand? Isn't that how the straight down stitches got exposed?

I wish I could see some really, really exemplary work of this nature to give me a sense of whether there was any finesse or control expected...or achieved.
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#154 Post by martin » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:13 am

I wish I could see some really, really exemplary work of this nature to give me a sense of whether there was any finesse or control expected...or achieved.
Yes, pictures would be great! I think you rather lost me :-(
Tried to find some among the great pictures that Colonial Williamsburg is posting on Facebook, but only found pictures of way before that stepp or of more or less finished shoes so far.

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#155 Post by das » Sun Nov 06, 2016 8:58 am

dw » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:37 am wrote:
Thank you...that's kind of what I thought. I am a bit surprised that the rand would be stitched straight down...although I think you have mentioned that before and even described a tool that was used to fray and break up the threads that would be exposed when the heel was trimmed and shaped.
That tool is the seat-breaker (see Salaman), designed to shred the rand stitches (only on "stitched" rands w/exposed threads) so they could be waxed and ironed smooth, IOW invisible. I never understood the rational there either, and never tried it--it's more a 19thc thing than 18thc--but Devlin discusses if you want more. The seat-breaker obviously was repurposed as just a coarse rasp for the heel seat, as they show up well into the 20thc long after rands were forgotten.
Frankly, I can't get my head around either the exposed thread or the rand being beat up around the heel of the shoe. How would you keep that heel seat / rand level?
Only the "stitched" rand has exposed stitches, the "blind" rand they are concealed down in the crevice at the base of the quarters. The rand is hammered square up the sides while still damp, and level on the bottom before the outsole goes on--no issues. I dress mine with a rasp to get it good and square before laying the sole on.
And wouldn't trimming / shaping the heel itself tend to cut through the folded edge of the rand? Isn't that how the straight down stitches got exposed?

Nope. With either "stitched" or "blind" rands, they are rasped, and squared-up nice and neat before sole laying and stitching--the heel is built and trimmed just up to the rand, using the rand as the guide. Cutting into or nicking the rand while heel-trimming would be a disaster, especially a "stitched" rand. This takes more skill, like I said above.
I wish I could see some really, really exemplary work of this nature to give me a sense of whether there was any finesse or control expected...or achieved.
You probably need look no further than that prize-work Wellington posted elsewhere here, black footing, green/tan leg. I'll try to post some pix too.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#156 Post by martin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:20 am

Hello!

Another question, if I may, to see if I understand the procedure for this type of shoe correctly as per the text in Garsault.

The flawed rand aside, I would now continue to tack on the wedge piece (it's in the wrong place in the pics below, sorry), then tack, glue and sew on the outsole (in one piece, see pic, not as described in Garsault as a 2 piece affair) first from heel breast to heel breast if I understand Garsault correctly. Then the area around the heel is sewn on as well, now to the rand of course (p.73, "You then sew on this whole assemblage by piercing ...).

After that the heel is built up with heel lifts which are first tacked on with a nail. Next the heel lifts are also sewn on, going through all layers up to and including the rand (p.73 "Cut a channel in the top piece ... ) - i.e. there are now two seams going through the rand, correct?. After that the heel lifts are pegged on as well.

Is this typical with the originals? What little I have come across so far in my own research showed only pegging of the heel lifts, but no sewing through all the layers up to the rand.

Thanks,
Martin
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#157 Post by dw » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:37 am

martin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:20 am wrote:Hello!

The flawed rand aside, I would now continue to tack on the wedge piece (it's in the wrong place in the pics below, sorry),
Why do you need a wedge?
martin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:20 am wrote: After that the heel is built up with heel lifts which are first tacked on with a nail.


Why do you need nails?
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#158 Post by martin » Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:03 am

Why do you need a wedge?
Why do you need nails?
I guess I have to forward your question to our esteemed friend, Mr. Garsault :D
I'm trying to follow the description of building a leather heel as laid out in Al's translation and there it's part of the process. My impression from my other research is that the heel lifts at least were only pegged on. Not sure about the sole being sewn to the rand or only as far as the welt extends. I'd like to understand the process at the time (18th cent.), what was actually common or not (I know there's no single or simple answer to that!)
The wedge seems to make sense at least with the last I carved as it curves up a bit at the heel area.

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#159 Post by das » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:06 am

Martin,

First, if you check Garsault's illustration "the wedge" (lift) (Fig. 1, pp. 72) was used on higher stacked heels than you appear to be making. Higher heels create what today is called "wedge angle", a feature that is disliked in principle, but in the 18thc not no much. The first lift, is the "split-lift"(B2, pp. 73), to level the convexity of the outsole so the subsequent lifts will build-up plumb and level. If you're brave, you can sew the entire heel to the rand in one go, the stitches emerging in a channel in the top-piece. But 18thc leather tended to be thinner than what we use today (the cattle didn't grown so big). I'd hate to try and sew a 4+ lift heel in modern hard-rolled 8-9 iron soling. Sure, you can sew just the outsole and split lift through the rand, then peg on the middle lifts and top-piece.

You must remember, Garsault probably only interviewed workers at M. Soude's shop (pp.8), so the techniques presented are just a tiny snapshot from one Paris shop. Techniques varied city to city, and certainly country to country, so this is not on-size-fits-all, it's just an exceptional record of the sources Garsault recorded.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#160 Post by das » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:22 am

DW,

As I wrote to Martin, the "wedge lift" (see Garsault's own explanation) introduces what they felt in those days to be needed "wedge angel", so the finished heel would sit level.

In general when Garsault speaks of "nails" or "tacks" (see pp. 48, L & i, and illus. on pp. 50) he's referring to temporary tacks, like lasting-tacks, used to pin pieces in place until they're sewn, stitched, or pegged. Remember, these guys were using paste (think Hirschklebber) to stick things, not AP cement, so there was a lot of temporary tacking of things in place so you could keep rolling without waiting for paste to dry. Dampen a heel lift; paste it in place pinned with two tacksin the middle and jump right onto pegging, then pull the two tacks and repeat for the next lifts. Same with outsoles: dampen, smear with paste, tack them in a few spots to hold in place, and start stitching. Pull out the tacks when done and close the tack-holes with the "shoe stamp", et viola :old&wise:

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#161 Post by das » Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:29 am

Martin,

As to what parts of the heel are sewed, versus what's pegged, your main guide is going to be the archaeological example you are copying. There's a lot of variation. Most of the shoes I've studied are US/UK--in Germany it could have been very different. I must say, however, the majority if 18thc heels I've seen were sewn and pegged, both, with the top-piece only pegged because it wears out and gets replaced. Many example were heavily repaired, too, so you may be looking at a re-built heel some lazy cobbler only quickly pegged-on, and didn't bother to sew.

Oh, and no, there's only one bit of sewing through the rand down into the heel stack, not two.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#162 Post by martin » Tue Nov 08, 2016 11:48 am

Hello Al,

thanks for your answers and clarifications! Looking at the sole leather I have I suppose I'll put bravery aside for my first try and go with pegging the lifts and top piece :-P
It's also my thinking that there must have been numerous ways and traditions as to how these shoes where built. But I wanted to make sure to correctly understand the one way described in Garsault as I find that if you have a proper understanding of one method it is easier to come to grips with others, contemporary ones, as you come across them. Thanks for your patiently helping me getting there, it's a great journey overall!

Best,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#163 Post by das » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:10 am

Martin,

Glad to help. The more archaeological shoes you study and draw in detail, the more variations you'll record. You're "period correct" only sewing the outsole and split lift to the rand, and pegging the rest. But when you get brave, get some softer, thinner, heel lifts and try sewing the whole stack, then peg-on a thicker top-piece, and charge more for it :thumb:

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#164 Post by martin » Sun Nov 20, 2016 2:20 pm

Took a bit again, but finally got around to do the outsole and the heel. Looks like a real shoe now, I guess one could say :-) Too bad I'm not a pirate with a wooden leg, now I'll have to do a 2nd one ...
Thanks once more for all the help, everone! :bowdown:
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#165 Post by martin » Wed Dec 14, 2016 2:38 pm

And finally finished them with a variation of the black ball recipe described in Colonial Williamsburg's blog. In my case I used beef suet and lamp black. In the shot of the vamp from above the before (left side) and after (right side) can be seen.

Again, many thanks for all the tips and feedback! Looking forward to my next try :-)
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Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#166 Post by das » Thu Dec 15, 2016 8:37 am

Martin,

Nice end result. The reason hard sheep tallow from around the kidney's was preferred is, it won't go rancid like beef or other animal fats. Try to find some from a butcher, render and strain it yourself. It's very "clean" to handle and smells nice.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#167 Post by martin » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:13 pm

Yes, I need to try and find some, I'll ask our local butcher if they can provide some, it doesn't seem especially easy to obtain here.

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