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.
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.
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
Although the sole finish is walked off pretty quickly it can still be nice to have it a short period.
A close up of the toes and welt finishing
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.
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:
Ostrich leg toe cap and heel counters with a thick cow for the vamp and quarters.
^Freshly welted, welted freshly
The welt is trimmed to the rough shape of the sole. I have always wanted to make a balmoral sidelace….
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.
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.
Cut to shape
Cut the channels for the holdfast
Then carve out around the holdfast
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.
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.
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.
And the finished shoes while 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.