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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

Monthly Archives: December 2012


I believe that some time ago, I talked about this.


“Shoemakers, who become rare in modern times, shouldn’t be confused with cobblers or shoe repairers. Most shoemakers are capable of doing repairs, but this is usually considered inferior work and left to a different type of craftsman. While Northampton football team may, perhaps self-mockingly, be called the Cobblers, shoemakers would be offended if so called.”

Shoemaking, June Swann, Shire Publications Ltd. Shire Album 155 ISBN 0-85263-778-0

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Recently I receive a mail from a former student, about struggling the heel and sole edge finishing. Let me share a few tricks and a story.

Years ago, I was considering myself a decent craftsman, not a great one (I still don’t) So, I met an old master, who offered some tools, lasts, leather for sale and let me take a look at  his work. I was shocked. The “decent” work I have done suddenly seemed crafty and rough. His heel edge was just perfect. I have only seen that quality work from only the most prestigious workshops. It was just amazing. Neat, sharp edges, impeccable finish and straight heel top – just like it should be, just like in the textbooks. I am the type of person, who doesn’t give up  too quickly, even if I felt that there is no way, that I can produce this quality ever, so I asked him to teach me. He was pretty old, but agreed to do so. Let me share a few tricks with you about this special topic, so you guys might benefit from it.

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There is something special in these little shoes. First of all: somehow all of my friends feel necessary to share their birthday date immediately. Isn’t it funny?

If you want to hear about the details: the scale is 50% exactly. These are NOT baby shoes, way too narrow to the baby foot on the other hand I don’t plan to remove the last – this way they can preserve their shape for decades. I put a full thickness sole leather on them. they took to make almost as long as a real shoe with a tiny difference of finishing, which was way more difficult.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 19.58.12

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