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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

Before we start, it would be useful to clear an important thing: mistakes are cumulating. You leave a little extra around the heel when you trim the insole – it will look ugly when you finish the lasting, the heel base so the finally the heel will look like a sick potato. Not so great.

It is the same with the toe puff. Maybe this is the most difficult skiving for beginners – but it must th the most perfect if you want to have something which looks like a shoe. Consider this.. you make a nice last, then cover it with a lining (1 mm), a toe stiffener (2-2,5 mm), then an upper (1,5 mm)… did you count? 4,5 – 5 mm. All edges, nice curves disappeared, the nice shape is gone. really? Don’t worry, we make shoes by hand to handle these problems. They won’t go anywhere, but for that you have to make a nice skiving.

After removing the shiny surface with a piece of glass or sandpaper, start skiving the outer curve! Here you want to achieve a 2,5 cm wide edge – but not paper thing, you need at least 1 mm for lasting. On the straight edge – there you can show your skiving skills – that should be tapered down to nothing. After this – you want to thin down the center. Let me point back the the previous paragraph – we don’t want to cover the toe design, so we need a certain thickness. You will se why – now just trust me. 2-2,5 mm. Enough for protecting the toes, to preserve the shoe form, but also good for lasting. (after the III. part you might want to return here, and read this again.. )

So the toe stiffener is done – ready to use. Carefully open the nails a little bit beyond the ball points. Carefully – when I write it, I mean it. If the nail cuts the upper – you are doomed. Use good nails and be careful. (I hope your heart started to beat faster to that picture.. Isn’t it picturesque ? I might charge to Horween for this.. 🙂 )

Even you let the upper rest for a night (I usually leave it more than that), the lining is a stretchy leather, so it might go back – if you don’t pay attention to it, you might have a wrinkle at the worst place – the throat point. Inside. A pain to wear that shoe. Don’t risk it – last the lining with one nail to secure it, before you fix the toe puff (remember – if you didn’t stretch the lining, that nail will prevent it from any stretch, so wrinkles stay wherever they are – usually at the throat point).

Make sure you have enough lasting allowance!

Let’s talk about the throat point again – where the foot bends the most – that is the place you don’t want to create a hard edge with the paste and stiffener. So I suggest not to apply paste there. I saw plenty badly hurt feet because of that little mistake (and too long stiffeners).

Then you can start lasting the two layers together… I mean together, but you might want to stretch them separately… that is not a difficult techniques, you need to use it plenty other times, when you deal with two different types of leather. Learn it. (maybe some other time I will make a tutorial about it)

After this you just make a regular lasting with the two layers.

How to deal with these huge wrinkles… easily. You have a hammer, right? Use it! Leather can be starched… and can be compressed. Wet leather is easy to form.

Bend the nails – it is done for today. I would suggest to work with it the next day – you don’t want to leave the upper leather like this for a long time.

 
And now let me point you something – the distance between the nails. You might ask – why this guy can’t make a better lasting? I can, but this is a special thing – you  need to compress the leather, so you need a certain room to do so – that is the distance between the nails. After this you can punch more nails, just into the wrinkles, so you will have a nice toe feather line. And remember – if you made a mistake with skiving, from now, it will get worst and worst.
ps. I last the toe stiffener over the side counters. It might be vary by other makers. It doesn’t matter that much – there are way bigger differences – until you create nice footwear.

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