Basic Toolkit

One of my student asked me last week, if I can complete a lit what she would need for making shoes… I must confess, that I have a very little idea. I pretty much just buy, get everything and the sometimes I get to use them. On the other hand I tried to complete a basic toolkit set, what I suggest for shoemakers to get. I admit the the knives a bit beyond the basic kit, but after all you will have specialized knives for different jobs, especially, when they are getting short from the sharpening (that might take a few years and shoes).


So, let’s go through the short list of tools!

1-4 knives. The short ones are good for clicking, channel cutting, the longer ones for shaping soles, insoles, heels, etc.

5 Lasting pincer. I used this one since 1986 and I still like it.

6. Hammer. Same – this on spent already 27 years in my hand. Same handle, sometimes a little polishing. I use this guy only for leather (uppers, soles).

7. This is an old French hammer, I bought it a few years ago. No nail leave marks on it, so it is just good for everything: lasting nails, pegs, pegging awl, heel nails, inner nails, brass nails, etc.

8. Nail plier. Good for cutting long nails, remove them – even from inside the shoes (sometimes it is a very handy thing in courses)

9. Rasp. Also an old friend. I actually knew the maker – he recently retired at age 96. He made nothing else, only rasps. I must admit, that this guy is not that sharp anymore, but sometimes I exactly need that.

10. Talcum. Very handy (and cheap) to prevent the last stuck into the shoe.

11. Rubber cement

12. Sole glue

13. Wheat paste

Learn where you use what! One more advice: putting back the wheat paste brush to the sole glue container will NOT make your teacher happy. At all.

14. Lasting nails

15. Water. (if you don’t change it every day, it will have .. how should I say.. a definitive character)

16. Alcohol lamp

17. A leather container for the small things: sharpening stone, bone folder, awls, etc.

5 thoughts on “Basic Toolkit

  1. This is why I like leatherwork a lot. I used to do woodworking which requires at least a couple rather big and moderately expensive tools as well as space for wood and some way to control dust. With leather there’s very little dust, there’re lots of old tools available, and I can fit most of the tools in a box and the leather in a corner of a room 🙂

  2. Do you plan on stocking your webstore with some of these tools in the basic toolkit? I would be very interested in some nice lasting pincers, rasp, and hammers.


  3. sir
    thanks for your website, my name is Henry from Nigeria, i learnt how to make shoe from reading your blogs and from this site. i want to say a very big thank you
    sir i have one more challenge, when i make cover shoes with leather sole i find it difficult finding a suitable glue for it. so i will like to ask you this
    1) what type of glue can i use for my leather soles when making high heel?


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