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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

My old tools. All of these has seen two world wars, and served some, long-passed masters, making plenty beautiful footwear. They have stories to tell, but unfortunately they are silent. Those stories will be their secret, but there is something which is even more important than old stories – they are still here, we can still touch them (no students, please 🙂 ), we can still feel the old masters’ hands on them, and we can communicate with them in a certain way – we can still use them to make shoes.

So, first question – what this strange object could be? You, “bristle” guys should know the answer – this little piece of metal can make a great job spinning  6-8 hemp threads to one strong one. Oh yeah – they didn’t make it by hand, who the hell wants to play that much?

This good, old guy should be familiar to all shoemakers. There are plenty different forms – this one is a simple example of an unknown Hungarian toolmaker’s work. By the way – be careful with the new ones – usually they don’t worth shit. And… did I mention, that you can use this hammer on nails without problem?

This is a very versatile tool for finishing work. (no, not for insole preparation. Please..) This piece is the one I use every day, even if it’s not a fancy piece, it works great, keeps the sharpness well, and just handy..

This is a special piece – to tell the truth the only one I ever seen of its kind. Sole edge and shank iron in one. Somehow the original – certainly much more sophisticated – handle has been lost, so someone replaced (you see – somehow they tell stories! 🙂 )

Shank iron – my personal favourite. You can make perfect bevelled waist with it… if you know how to use it. It took me a while.

This is a heel edge iron, from master IRING. He was a really outstanding toolmaker from Budapest (started at Csepel, Molnar’s manufactory), then – as far as I know he learned how to make shoes to become a better toolmaker. It has a small burn on its handle, which is a rare accident, as expensive tools are not for burning – most probably something serious disturbed the master in his work. We will never learn. BTW this is my favourite  – all of my bespoke work has its mark.

Oh my god – if this tool could tell its story. I can’t tell where it came from – I believe from Germany (like many others before 1872). I haven’t cleaned it yet, but I think it has a special type of beauty like this.

OK? and this is far the most interesting one – representing an age, which disappeared a long time ago. Oh, yeas, it is used in our craft, but you know what! I let you guess a bit – find it out!

So, guess what it is!

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