Historic techniques and materials

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#126 Post by tomisnellman » Mon Mar 10, 2014 2:45 am

I finally got round to calling suomenmuseotonline, and was redirected to a specialist at the Museum of Cultures. She could not give an exact date – which would have been odd, come to think of it – but the pikilappu belonged to items that were brought here by evacuees from present-day Russian Karelia during WWII. Objects used to be passed on from one generation to the next, but there's no knowing about this one. Prior to 1941, in any case.

I forgot to ask her about other objects, but you can browse all shoemaking related items in the database from this link:

http://suomenmuseotonline.fi/fi/selaa?c ... 3%A4lineet

HTH

Tomi

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#127 Post by das » Tue Mar 11, 2014 4:37 am

Thanks Tomi. Very interesting!

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#128 Post by das » Wed Apr 30, 2014 4:41 am

Marquita Volken's book, due out in May '14 looks great:

http://www.spa-uitgevers.nl/Webwinkel-P ... rh2&Lng=en

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#129 Post by fclasse » Thu May 01, 2014 4:21 pm

I already have my order in =)


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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#130 Post by proxy_posting » Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:17 pm

Here is the long-awaited Mount Vernon ‘Shoe Shopping with Martha Washington’ feature we filmed earlier this year at Colonial Williamsburg’s studios: http://www.mountvernon.org/shoes. The show’s hostess omits mentioning that of course Martha could have easily walked into most every shoemaker, merchant, or milliner in 18th century Virginia or Philadelphia, and walked right out with ready-made stock shoes exactly like she demonstrates doing in a boutique today. But watch all the segments for added insights and possibly a few surprises, like Martha’s modern US shoe size—wait for it….. hardly “smaller back then”.

Great interview with the HCC's own Messr. Al Saguto.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#131 Post by tjburr » Sat May 09, 2015 9:51 pm

I have several historical questions that I hope one of the shoe historians out there can help with.

I know that shoe lasts have been around for some time. I'm not sure when the first recorded shoe last was. Does anyone know?

I also know that the soles I have seen from Medieval turned shoes do not seem to have any nail holes from when the upper was lasted onto the last. This does not exactly mean that the upper was not lasted first with nails and then after the leather had dried/shaped the nails removed and the sole added.

Does anyone know when the use of nails for lasting an upper first started?

What was done prior to that to last the upper? I can think of several methods, but wanted to know what the historical methods were.

Terry

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#132 Post by das » Sun May 10, 2015 3:49 am

Hi Terry,

I can only speak to the "first" lasts (wood). As far as I know there are 1st century Roman ones (Mainz, Germany), sectional for easy slipping, and some stone objects thought to be Neolithic lasts from Russia I think.

As to the use of lasting tacks on Medieval turnshoes, you might start by checking Marc Carlson's Medieval Footwear website. With no Medieval how-to texts, but one in Latin (embargoed by a historian in Italy awaiting translation since discovery in the late 1990s!), it's hard to say. If you're on Facebook, take a look at The Gentle Craft Shoe Museum's page, or contact the operators, the Volkens in Lausanne, CH. They work with archaeological Medieval footwear and make exacting replicas. When I visited them I recall their feeling was that the Medieval uppers were "braced" (secured w/ thread zig-zagging across) in place of lasting tacks--the only holes in the soles being from the blocking tacks holding the sole to the last--one in the heel, one in the waist, and one near the toe tip.

Medieval turnshoes, even the uppers, were light-weight compared to right-side-out-made "welted" shoes (which start 1st half of the 1400s, spreading outward into Europe). Heavier uppers come in with the right-side-out-made welted construction. So, it may be the case that lasting as we know it with pincers and tacks, was a "late" technique. The Volkens were of the opinion that the right-side-out-made "welted" construction was a revolutionary cross pollenation of patten (overshoes w/ covered cork platforms) making technique, slowly adopted by shoemakers (separate guilds). In Dekker's 'Shoemakers' Holiday' (1599), set in Elizabethan London, we suspect "the secret of the low quartered shoe", the Dutch character was supposedly in possession of, alludes to this new (Germanic we think) technique of right-side-out-making, IOW "welted".

Please let us know what you find out, as I'd be interested in this "history mystery" too.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#133 Post by das » Mon May 18, 2015 3:52 am

Here's how pine pitch, the essential ingredient in our wax was made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qlEE9jKJqU

[BBvideo 640,480]"https://www.youtube.com/embed/5qlEE9jKJqU" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/BBvideo]

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#134 Post by dw » Mon May 18, 2015 5:48 am

das » Mon May 18, 2015 3:52 am wrote:Here's how pine pitch, the essential ingredient in our wax was made: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qlEE9jKJqU
Great link! There's actually at least two more videos on Tjaerebrenning in the YouTube sidebar.

It all kind of reminds me of making lump charcoal (or moonshine) ...I wonder if charcoal is a by-product or if the pitchwood is entirely consumed.

Looks to be a three or four day process and in one of the videos I watched, some of the pitch/tar was actually red...I mean visually blood red.

Sure wish it were in English.
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#135 Post by tjburr » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:05 pm

I thought I would post a picture of a Christmas gift I received.

This is a presentation piece for displaying pin/nail work for a shoemaker. I believe this came from Northampton, UK. As I understand it, these presentation pieces would be displayed in a shoemakers shop to show what they could do.

This is a fairly large sole, maybe 13EE, but still the fine detail is amazing.

As they would say in Northampton, Cheers!
Terry
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#136 Post by dw » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:01 pm

Terry,

That's beautiful. I've seen some pretty good pin work...both vintage and contemporary...but I believe that's the best I've seen.

What's the frequency/PPI?
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#137 Post by lancepryor » Tue Dec 29, 2015 5:59 am

Wow!

Really interesting. Thanks for posting that.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#138 Post by das » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:36 am

Double wow!

Studying old stuff and its standards will keep one humble :bowdown:

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#139 Post by das » Thu Jan 07, 2016 6:07 am


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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#140 Post by dw » Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:15 am

Interesting...I have played around with similar ideas for waxed calf renewal--beeswax, a very little bit of pitch, a touch of lanolin (in place of the tallow) and a bit of pine tar.

But the result is always a bit too "sticky" / greasy. Good waterproofing and plenty black, looks good on application but even 48 hours later it will collect any dirt in the vicinity.
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#141 Post by martin » Thu Jan 07, 2016 1:14 pm

Thanks for the link to this excellent blog! Much appreciated!

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#142 Post by proxy_posting » Wed May 11, 2016 4:15 pm

Here is an interesting read regarding what goes into the analysis and understanding of shoes and where they came from--their journey through time.

http://makinghistorynow.com/2016/05/mak ... f-leather/

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#143 Post by martin » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:42 am

Dear all,

I have a question about the technique(s) employed in building the heel with 18th century shoes, in particular how the heel area was joined to the upper. Is the depiction in American Soldier 1776 correct, i.e. a welt going around the "non-heel" area and a rand sewn to the heel area and then folded in/doubled? A shoe in Stepping Through Time dated to the 1770s also shows this type of construction. Was it the only way of construction? - I suppose not, but haven't found any literature so far to tell me more.
I'm trying to build my first 18th cent shoe and am following this technique, but would like to know how far off I might be compared to the originals.
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#144 Post by das » Tue Nov 01, 2016 1:48 pm

Martin,

In the 1770s there were several ways to make a heel-seat, most (but not all) involved a rand like you've attempted. The only suggestion is, make your rand out of stout uppers leather twice+ the width of the welt, so it draws further underneath the insole. When you sew it through the quarters to the insole, use the same type of stitch you used to sew the welt (nice job there), not the overcast/whip-stitch you did. I've not seen that stitch until closer to 1890-1900+, and only on shoes with no (structural) rand at all.

I might recommend a copy of my book, with illustrations and step-by-step instructions: 'M. de Garsault's 1767 the Art of the Shoemaker' which I've been told is now remaindered at 2/3rds the original price by Texas Tech University Press (I have no financial interests, nor receive royalties).

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#145 Post by martin » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:15 am

Al,

many thanks for your helpful comments! I have to confess that even though I'm the happy owner of your book for quite a while now I somehow missed the step-by-step instructions :blush: - obviously I need to return to it!

Cheers,
Martin

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#146 Post by das » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:34 am

Martin,

I know the writings of those long-dead guys is not always an easy read, but it does talk you through the rand under the section on men's shoes with leather heels. Again, next rand, make it wider and sew it in the same fashion as you so nicely did your welt. Garsault describes and illustrates how to draw and secure the loose edge under the insole by "bracing", or you can whip-stitch the loose edge to the insole to secure it if your insole is thick enough to take it.

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#147 Post by dw » Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:04 am

das » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:34 am wrote:Martin,

I know the writings of those long-dead guys is not always an easy read, but it does talk you through the rand under the section on men's shoes with leather heels. Again, next rand, make it wider and sew it in the same fashion as you so nicely did your welt. Garsault describes and illustrates how to draw and secure the loose edge under the insole by "bracing", or you can whip-stitch the loose edge to the insole to secure it if your insole is thick enough to take it.
I've always been curious...this kind of treatment is not often seen on modern shoes, not even among the contemporary "masters". Why is that, do you suppose? What advantages would a sewn rand confer that standard "split lift" (is that the proper terminology?) wouldn't? Or does a sewn rand just make it harder to repair?
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#148 Post by das » Thu Nov 03, 2016 8:34 am

DW,

History does an excellent job, usually, of telling us: who, when, and where. It's not so good with "why?" answers. See if Hasluck, Leno, or any of the later 19thc sources give you a hint. My hunch is, not making proper rands ("blind", but certainly "stitched") was faster and easier, and required less skill and materials. Besides rands were old fashioned, though they persisted in long work (boots) longer than shoes, because they stood up better to the boot jack (see Rees & Devlin on that). A rand makes a far more rock-solid heel-seat (pre AP cements) than that odd overcasty sort of stitch sort of whipping the quarters to the insole you see in the West End type of shoes c.1900 and beyond. But bear in mind, even those were "machine assisted" (uppers skived and closed by machines), not "hand-sewn", and other corners were cut, as well as other departures from tradition, like merely pegging the outsole seat to the shoe.

When I first visited Lobb's cellar workrooms in 1978, wearing some really cringe-worthy (early in my career, 2nd year apprentice) shoes I'd made with blind rands, one of the old English gents examined it curiously, showed it to his equally ancient German coworker who beamed at one, saying "zey used to do like ziss in my grand-father's day. Very strong".

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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#149 Post by dw » Thu Nov 03, 2016 9:20 am

So...quick follow-up (I'm out the door in a minute): Once the welt stitching the rand were done, what was the next step? The outsoles mounted and the foreparts sewn, yes, but was the outsole then sewn to the heelseat area? Through the rand, like a 360 welt or some other way?

The other consideration I see...and maybe erroneously...is that especially on where the uppers are a different colour than the welt, using a wide piece of upper leather to make your rand would create a visual discontinuity as the welt transition into the heel seat. Maybe that's another reason if fell out of favour?
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Re: Historic techniques and materials

#150 Post by martin » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:53 pm

Al,
das wrote:I know the writings of those long-dead guys is not always an easy read, but it does talk you through the rand under the section on men's shoes with leather heels.
Reading it now, and some of it I find hard to understand, probably a mix of (English) terminology, not-first-language and lack of visuals. But will re-read and am also comparing to pictures of originals further back in the book and in other sources I have!
If I get it correctly the prepared insole basically should look like picture 24 (top) on p.235, correct?
Again, next rand, make it wider and sew it in the same fashion as you so nicely did your welt. Garsault describes and illustrates how to draw and secure the loose edge under the insole by "bracing", or you can whip-stitch the loose edge to the insole to secure it if your insole is thick enough to take it.
Definitely will do that next time (or maybe even redo this one)! Bracing I regularly use with Roman era shoes.

Cheers,
Martin

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