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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

Apparently I didn’t generate too much interest with my question, but from the number of the silent visitors on this site, I assume there will be some people, who are interested seeing some pics and notes about crimping. So, what is crimping? When you create.. let’s say a riding boot, you will face a geometrical problem: the vamp is impossible to fold. Look:

Normally we would choose a line, like this.. if it would be a shoe. But choosing this line means that we just won’t be able to last our upper. So does this look right?

Still not good. What we need to create a curved folding line – that’s what we call crimping.

The correct curve for folding would look like this:

So we can create this beauty:

First of all: not all leather is good for crimping. If you have all the accessories, and still doesn’t work – maybe it is the leather. Don’t give up! Some leather doesn’t even need clamps, only a good pair of pincers and two experienced hands. Usually – especially if you want to create a riding boot – we use leathers, where you need good tools: clamps and boards. (Yes, Hal they are coming! 🙂 )

Preparation: put your upper leather to water, and leave it there for a while (depends on the leather), then wrap it to plastic bag for over night. Next day morning, you have a really wet piece, ready for crimping.

Place it to the center of the board

then adjust it a little bit (you have to repeat it plenty more times) from the deepest point. This is the place, where you will have most of the wrinkles.

Then slightly pull it towards the corners. Don’t worry about the wrinkles, that is normal in that phase of the work. They will disappear.

Set the clamp to the whole and put the leather in it. Do not tight it too much.. wait a little bit with it

Then most probably you have to deal with those wrinkles again, and check the correct orientation

Fix the corners – they should be more or less in the right spot (if not – you can modify it later, don’t worry).

Pull down the front

And now you can use the secret weapon a bit. Carefully.

The most important thing: adjust those wrinkles. You might have to do it with your hands, the clamp is just helping.

And another tool: the lasting pincers. Pull the leather from the bottom of the board. You will find it very useful.

Much better, isn’t it?

My fingers show the directions to adjust the wrinkles. do not trust only the clamp – use your hand. Maybe your board isn’t slippery enough for the leather, hmm?

Clamp.. again.. again..

Pretty close now.

But we don’t want “almost” good, so another pull with the pliers.

Then fix the top with two nails.

Hammer.. that helps sliding the leather on the board.

Crimping – Done.

Leave it dry for a night and remove it and start make your boots-uppers!

ps. traditionally we crimp the lining also.

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