Disclaimer: This post contains a very old attempt at shoemaking, during the very beginning of my journey. I really didn’t know what I was doing at this time, and the post is left online for archive purposes only. Please do not “learn” anything from it, as the post is certainly riddled with mistakes. It’s just a documentation on some of my thoughts as a beginner in this venture. For a more updated view of my shoemaking, please see my latest posts instead.
Construction: handmade with hand-held tools.
Last: Ambassador 2193
Uppers: 3 oz (1,2 mm) chrome tanned calf in dark brown, contrasted by 3-4 oz (1,4 mm) chrome tanned calf in dark brown pebble grain
Lining: 2 oz (0,8 mm) vegetable tanned baby calf, crust
Top beads: 1 oz (0,5 mm) chrome tanned baby calf, black
Insoles: 12-13 oz (5 mm) vegetable tanned calf butt
Insoles (sock liner): 2 oz (0,8 mm) vegetable tanned baby calf, crust
Outsoles: 9 iron (4,8 mm) vegetable tanned J. Rendenbach
Toe/heel stiffeners: 5 oz (2 mm) vegetable tanned calf shoulder, attached with Hirschkleber
Rand: 5 oz (2 mm) vegetable tanned calf shoulder, pegged
Welt: 5 oz (2 mm) vegetable tanned calf shoulder
Heel lifts: 5 oz (2 mm) vegetable tanned calf shoulder, attached with Hirschkleber, pegged
Top lifts: vegetable tanned (1/4 rubber) J. Rendenbach, cemented and nailed with copper plated nails
This is my first spectator shoe. I really like how the pebble grain (printed full grain calf, on vamp and quarters) contrasts with the smoothness of the regular full grain calf. I spent more time on the finishing than I thought I would, which took the total number of hours up to ca 75 work hours, from taping the lasts to polishing the finished shoes.
When it comes to polish, the shoes are shined with Saphir Renovateur, Saphir Créme 1925 in dark brown, three layers of Saphir Mirror Gloss on the toe and heel, one layer of Saphir Pate de Luxe in dark brown over the entire shoe, and two additional layers of Pate de Luxe on just the toe and heel. (No additional layers were needed thanks to the Mirror Gloss.)
The toes turned out great, and rock-solid stiff:
The lasting of the rear ends also turned out beautifully, though the finishing of the heels still needs some work. (Why is it so hard to finish heel lifts?) Anyway, just look at the curvature of that heel disappearing into the rand… It’s almost as if the leather has never known another shape.
The finished outsole edge was tucked really snug against the waist:
I re-dyed the outsole using black dye, and finished it off. The ever so small mistakes made when opening the channels of the shoes are no longer visible:
As the sock liners are cut out from the very same hide as the lining, Waxholm embraces both feet entirely with the same vegetable tanned baby calf:
EDIT, april 22d:
These shoes were made as a gift for my brother, for his 30th birthday. I waited for over three months before I could give them, and thankfully, the fit was good. Here’s Waxholm on his feet:
* * * Back to the text from january: * * *
There’s still loads of improvements to be made on future shoes. At the moment, I’m looking to change the following:
* Sew the uppers with bonded nylon thread. (I’ve been using regular nylon thread, which tends to untangle while sewing.)
* Use 4 oz leather for uppers. (The 3 oz leather works on this shoe for the toe cap, heel counter and facing, but I’m glad the vamp and quarters are ever so slightly thicker.)
* Protect the facing while lasting. (I kept the shoe laced with 1 mm waxed polyester thread while lasting, but forgot to protect the facing. The laces were tied up tight as they should while lasting, so the waxed polyester thread has left small markings where it was laced. As the images show, the small markings are invisible beneath the regular shoe laces that are then put in, but I would prefer it if the markings weren’t there.)
* Use the right length nails for the heel. (I used nails that were a couple of mm too long for attaching the top lift. This didn’t harm the construction as the foot is still protected from the nails by the 5 mm thick insole, but there’s no point in using too long nails.)
* Finish the heels nicer. (I don’t quite know how, but it will be done.)
* Attach the welt more smoothly to the rand. (As can be seen in the pictures, there’s a clearly visible line between the welt and rand. I shall eliminate this by either skiving the leather more thoroughly on the first rand and the welt, or by cutting out a specially designed shape to function as both rand and welt in the same piece.)