Art Deco

art dco bespoke shoe

art deco side profile and bottom finish

art deco bespoke bottom finish

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Toe Plates and Knifing Up

I am finishing a shoe right now and the customer wears their toes out quickly. Solution? Metal toe plates. But it preparation to make the plates flush with the sole and keep the stitches protected.

reid elrod toe plate cut


reid elrod shoes toe plate channel

elrod shoes sole stitches

Nice even stitches are very satisfying. The heels on these shoes are going to have a slight contour compared to the normal flat finish. To obtain a accurate and aesthetically pleasing heel I have to “knife up” which is the process of cutting upwards toward the shoe upper. It can be a bit nerve racking and is slow going (for me) but the results are worth it.

reid elrod bespoke shoes knifing up heel

reid elrod shoes knifing up heel

reid elrod shoes heel contour

This shoe will be finished shortly! Even though finishing is (one) of my favorite tasks and a nice finish is never done in a short period of time

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A Fun Bottom Finishing Technique

Elrod Sidelace Balmoral Bottom Finish

Although the sole finish is walked off pretty quickly it can still be nice to have it a short period.

Elrod Sidelace Balmoral Toes

A close up of the toes and welt finishing

Elrod Balmoral Sidelace Oxford

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Art Deco Inspired Oxfords

Last post I mentioned that I had been working long and hard on a design for a customer. Well here it is; an art deco inspired oxford in a smooth grey calf and red linings.

elrod shoes bespoke art deco oxford

I doubt I will ever find a grey calf in this hue again but the last of it went to a worthy shoe in my opinion.

Also I finished a boot recently:

elrod bespoke boots

Ostrich leg toe cap and heel counters with a thick cow for the vamp and quarters.

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Another sidelace design, another completed welt

Elrod Shoes English Welted Sidelace

^Freshly welted, welted freshly

Elrod English Welt Beveled Waist

The welt is trimmed to the rough shape of the sole. I have always wanted to make a balmoral sidelace….

Elrod Shoes Insole English Welt Beveled Waist

And another sole prepped for the my favorite garden variety English welt with beveled waist. The upper for this shoe is special because I have worked for many months with a client refining a design… next post you will see.


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Here is a small bit about preparation for an English welt with beveled waist:

Insole “blocked” to the last. I use a combination of nails and stretch medical bandage to snug the leather to the last.

elrod shoes blocked insole

Cut to shape

elrod shoes sole prep

Cut the channels for the holdfast

elrod shoes english welt sole prep

Then carve out around the holdfast

english welt insole prepping elrod

and finally I prefer to pre-punch the holes in the insole before I last the upper. It is not necessary but it gives me a more even stitch.

prepped insoles english welt

elrod shoes croc sidelace work bench

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Heel Seat Stitching

When a shoemaker completes an English welt they have multiple options about how to attach the heel. It can be glued and nailed, or pegged, or stitched multiple ways without a welt, or welted continuing around the whole shoe. I choose to stitch the heel without a welt and afterwards attach a rand.

elrod shoes handmade heal seat stitchelrod shoes heel seat stitchingelrod shoes heel seat stitchelrod shoes weltelrod shoes handmade heal stitch

The stitch I use on the heel is a different type than what I welt with but the stitch length remains the same. After this is neatly completed I peg the rand therefore completing the welt and helping it look seamless along the sole when finished.

elrod shoes handmade pegging rand elrod shoes pegging rand elrod shoes hand pegged rand

And the finished shoes while polishing…

elrod shoes boots polishing

These boots are double soled English welted with a beveled waist. The uppers are a derby pattern with ostrich leg quarters and Italian calf vamps, finished in a black with blue undertones. I stitched the soles a 10spi which took more time because I have to be careful with a skinny awl through such thick material.

elrod shoes boots double soled

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