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Shoes and Craft

A shoemaker's blog about shoemaking

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I think it not even necessary to explain how beautiful this leather is. By the way – they cut cut it off from the animals two different way – through the belly, so the back will be in center of the hide – we call them hornback and the other way around, cutting the back alongside – that is the belly. I prefer bellycuts (this is what you can see this picture). Shows the beauty of the skin, but not too rough. For technical reasons (let’s just mention skiving) this is less challenging than the other.

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This machine finish the tanning process, giving a nice shine to the hides. In this demo they shown the effect on a piton hide.

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Patent black finish. It is important to mention – this finish is NOT permanent, unfortunately water will damage it. It might be a good idea to inform your customer about this. The semi glossy finish is more durable as it is done with chemicals.

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After the tannery the tour continued at an alligator farm – practically a little zoo, which had hundreds of alligators.

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Alligators have around 80 and when they wear off they grow new ones. Approximately they have 2-3000 teeth in their lifetime. Once in the Budapest Zoo I had the chance to try to open simulated animals month. I can tell – even if I am a strong guy – I couldn’t move the alligator’s a bit. Nothing. Maybe it is unnecessary to mention that it was the hardest level – over a thousand kilogram (2200 pound).  They can’t chew, only rip something apart and shallow.

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This little one, with taped mouth is available to touch. I had very mixed feelings to pet something I want to use its hide – so I did not do it finally.

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They also have crocodiles in the farm. You can spot the differences between them – the most distinctive feature is the head – the alligator has a wider shape. You can also spot the differences in the teeth – meaning you can see the teeth of the american crocodile when the mouth is closed, since the alligators are hidden.
Interesting fact: all alligators are crocodiles, but not all crocodiles are alligators. They have over 23 species.

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They have some uninvited visitors as well – a lot of birds. This one here is just balancing in the reach of the big crocodile – in the nature hungry alligators have birds in their menu – just like anything they can shallow. The main menu is: fishes, turtles, mammals, birds and other reptiles.

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They are impressive creatures – not just because they outlived their cousins (dinosaurs) 65 million years, but they are very effective in hunting: they can swim 32 km/h (20 mph) and run 17.6 km/h (11 mph). Just to compare – Michael Phelps could swim around 9 km/h (6 mph). 17.6 km/h is still faster than the average human running speed (12-17 km/h).

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They can stay under water an hour.

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Probably this pond wouldn’t be the best choice for swimming..

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I hope next time we talk about alligators, I can post some nice shoes I made from this great leather.

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