In 2006 I decided to shift my primary craft focus to the Art of Making Shoes.
Shoes are hard to make.
This is where I am so far. I like to call myself a "Self Directed Apprentice"
I also make custom tools for Shoe and Boot Making
I created a good adjustable strap and re-proportioned the entire piece.
I mapped out the patterns on Rhino discovering half way into it that I could combine strap B (the 2nd strap from the front) and it's pad together with the sides making a far more efficient build.
I have one last design change to tune some of the "theoretical's" in, but I'm wearing them now and they are going to NYC with me in a couple of weeks.
The strap over the instep is ultimately the better choice than around the heel because it is easier to use for every day in and out.
The two tone foot beds were what I had lying around; the new ones are coming.
Completed the last of this series for this year.
I made a couple of design modifications isolated to the making with only on part change.
The instep strap needed to be an inch longer so I did that.
The stitching around the parts is changed to make a better, more comfortable look.
And because the pattern is completely symmetrical I swapped the link from the outside to the inside!
Everyone has there own "best way" this is the way I like to do it.
Toe modification is common, I use leather, the sides are real easy this way too.
Make one last Perfect then go after the the other, there is no point of doing them together until you are good at it or it is a simple change.
I start with skiving leather strips and gluing them onto the last.
The 5 in 1 is quick and easy
Soak in water for a minute
Fit and form
Gorilla glue, staple stretch, and hammer
The real trick here is to use the stretch tape.
The stretch tape is a constant force over the entire area and also lets the glue dry over night.
With the tape removed forming can start
When you use your belt sander keep the leather wet
"Feathering" (auto body repair term) the new into the old is slow and careful; you want a smooth transition without a dip.
After I am happy I use Minwax WATER BASED polyurethane to cote the leather; it soaks into the leather and stabilizes the surface.
After several months of getting to know the FlashCut 222 I realized that I wanted a hand-held vibrating knife.
I started looking are the net for what was out there and came across the Wonder Cutter.
I was thinking more of an engraver with a knife attached and I still
think that would be effective, however, there are several Ultrasonic
knifes available, most with hefty price tags.
The Wonder Cutter is not cheap but for leather working I really wanted to
advance the cutting performance of my standard clicking knife.
It takes some getting used to, although it reduces the effort required to
through your materials, it requires a completely different feel than
does your Xacto. Its more difficult to feel when you are through the
material, you have to practice with it, I do not have enough time on it yet.
So the difficulty in cutting came primarily from the cutting mat. The mat too is easily melted and as such it does not provide a useful resistance to the effort of dragging the knife thru the material.
In other words you can't tell exactly what you are cutting; the leather or the mat.
I discovered that a 1/4" CORK mat makes all the difference. I doesn't melt and doesn't drag on the knife I think this is the better cutting mat fo the Wonder Cutter.
With access to the College for Creative Studies FAD Flashcut 222 I decided to go back to a style that I love but that is very difficult to click by hand.
For several reasons I am really enamored with the Flashcut; for intricate work such as this type of precision. Two things come together to enhance the outcome beyond the traditional methods.
Creating the patterns in CAD
Cutting and marking the patterns with the Flash
This system in no way eliminates or simplifies the pattern Master Forme'; you still have to create a Master in which ever way you are most experienced with. I use the "tape and drape" to Master method.
The interesting thing is that as soon as I have a Master I can stop the pattern drafting by hand and go directly to CAD.
Scan your Master to jpeg
Open your scan in Photoshop or any program that will tell you the EXACT length and width of the scan image to the 0.001", record these dimensions (example 10.867" x 16.698")
Use these dimensions to check that your jpeg imports exactly to size into your CAD or CAR program. (so far we are using only Illustrator and Rhino)
The methods for creating the various parts in CAD are the same as by hand, and take about as long.
I keep the Design lines and the primary construction lines (fold lines etc.) in one layer and create each part in a separate layer.
It is only when you compare the CAD lines and curves to your drafting versions that the real beauty of cad comes to light.
The creation of Parallel Offsets is something that the computer does with ease and by hand can be clumsy.
Changes are new lines and the old lines can be saved
Seeing "thru" the parts and turning layers on and off is a great way to weed thru the various parts.
This is Rhino 4 layers list; for this multi piece project there are 10 separate parts, for ease and efficiency in Flashcut I make separate files for left and right parts.
I have since separated the side facing into two parts
I am on V3c as far as versions go.
The only full scale pattern I needed was for the dart at the heel because you can't cut on one side and print on the other.
Front half and rear half complete
Top-line tape and eyelet reinforcements
I use a piece of tube to tape down the tongue, I make the lining 1/16 shorter per side.
Creating in CAD and marking all of the stitch lines with the Flashcut is a confidence booster and allows for creativity that I would usually avoid like tapered stitch lines.
Obviously the precision of clicking improves the assembly and reduces accumulated errors.
One of my latest tools is a 3/4" plank shaped like a heel for the purpose of taping down the quarters.
I make the lining 1/8" snaller per side and this system work fine.
I'm experimenting with Wonderflex for both Toe and heel counters, works nice.
Always a pain to hold while applying the paste glue so I made this hanging board.
I used a blunted chisel on the Cordovan; it is a peculiar experience; it does not act like regular leather.
For my American Welt? I use my old 77 and chain stitch around the perimeter and around the shank too.