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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

So, after my great colleague, Mr. Craig Corvin’s blog post and other, English makers CarreDucker’s post about it, I felt like posting my version too. I am not claiming that any of these are inferior or superior, only different approach of an important topic – side stiffeners. What is side stiffeners after all? Side Stiffeners have 3 important functions:

1. prevent the shoe upper leather from prolongation, connecting heel counter with the toe stiffeners (overlapping both)

2. also responsible for giving extra strenght to the shoe, preserve the shape well, and give some support to the foot.

3. Shape: without these, the toe puff would be clearly visible, even if you are the best skiver on earth (just to mention, some factories create last, with hollow for the toe stiffeners – so 3rd job – done, the rest… who cares, right? :S )

The main difference between the makers mentioned above and my work is the position – while they place them on the top of the toe puff, I put them under. Why? I have reasons.

– If the skiving work is good and the side counters aren’t too long, the overlapping part with the toe puff, will be just the same thickness all around

– the thickness of the toe puffs are much more controllable than any other leather as it is hard

– I don’t have to wait with the glue, so I save time

And let pictures talk (BTW I upload all the pictures quite big, so you can check it in a bigger resolution with a simple click):

1. So, shoes are lasted the day before, upper leather is relaxed, so we can work with it easily. Check the side stiffeners! Good skiving – smooth look

2.  Hirschkleber is applied. Note two things: 1) side stiffeners are applied flesh side towards the last, so it sticking better 2. We haven’t applied any glue at the top edge – so we don’t create a really hard edge there – no one wants to suffer from a badly made shoes, and have wounds on the big toe right?

3. Toe puff is lasted, pounded down to the right shape, and the next day we would use a rasp. (you can check this picture in 3000×2000 – no rasp work happened yet)

And now the surprise. This tutorial is hasn’t been done by me – it was a really talented student from Finnland: Iisa. Check those fancy fingernails (and the nice work she did).

Good work little Finnish girl! (be proud Ulla!)

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