Clegane: Construction

Disclaimer: This post contains an old attempt at shoemaking, during the 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.

The upper leather used for this cap toe oxford is a beautiful dark brown Epsom calf from Tanneries du Puy. “Puy” is a geological term used locally in areas of France, meaning something along the lines of “volcanic hill”. Just a notch under a volcanic mountain, if you will. Ser Gregor Clegane (of Game of Thrones) is famously known as the Mountain – and he certainly has volcanic undertones. So it came to pass that this pair was dubbed: Clegane.

I started with making insoles. This time I tried out a new insole option, namely an 11 oz veg tanned dorsal from Italy. It was a beautifully processed leather, and quite firm. A bit more difficult to work with than Tärnsjö leather, but far easier to work with compared to hard outsole leather.

I pinned the leather moist to the lasts, and returned when it was dry to carve out the shapes. Here’s one insole down, and one to go, leaving room to peg the heels:

01 Insoles

For uppers, I used my most classic cap toe oxford design, made for Springline last #977. (The design pattern was originally made for Upsala, and then used for Aros as well as London before this pair. Clegane will be the fourth shoe made with the same pattern design. One could easily say it’s become my favorite design thus far.)

01 Uppsala Pattern

I sewed it up with Serafil 40s thread, using my Pfaff 193.

tanneries du puy

I didn’t take many pictures until the uppers were completed and the lining lasted. The lining leather used is my trusted ol’ 2 oz veg tanned calf. (I let the lining protrude above the opening of the shoes, and secure it with nails to help align the shoes properly.)

lasted lining

The heel- and side stiffeners were made as usual (see my previous pairs for reference). Here’s a lasted heel before pounding all the nails to the center:

02B Laste heel

To help getting a completely snug vamp point, where the leather really hugs the last tightly at the vamp, I last some veg tanned scraps on top of it all after the final lasting. (The bigger leather parts below is loose, while the straps are pinned tightly to the lasts.) I have moistened the uppers slightly after lasting, making them look almost black.

lasting help

When the shoes have rested on the lasts for a few days and are welted secure, I remove the face protectors. The true shape and color of the shoes is starting to appear.

hand welted

A welted view from underneath:

welted bottoms

I put in plastic shanks and covered them with 13 oz veg tanned outsole leather. The leather shank cover was pinned while moist and then carved into shape while dry, promoting a fiddleback waist decoration. The footbeds were filled with tar felt. I carved the top layer of tar felt to promote an outsole decoration connecting to the fiddleback line.

tar felt shoes

9 iron J. Rendenbach leather outsoles were cemented on, and hand stitched at 9 spi.

outsole seam

I build some heels and started the finishing process.

The heels were cut into shape with a knife, then rasped for good measure. Then they were glassed and sanded, glassed and sanded, glassed and sanded… The glass used was a broken shard of a cognac glass. I went from 180 all the way up to 1000 grit with the sand paper for finishing touches (and then didn’t glass at the end). I burnished with warm water, dyed the heels with Fiebing’s pro dye, and then burnished again with warm water and gum tragacanth. I’ll return at a later point with more comments on finishing.

heel glassing

Continue to the summary of the finished shoes »

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