41hammer

western boot making classes

12 posts in this topic

hello and thanks for your time. I am based in California and I am looking for advice on great places to go or where not to go for a class in western boot making. I have 4 years experience in tooling and making stuff like purses, motorcycle seats, belts, etc. However have never even attempted a pair of boots or shoes. I am excited to have western boots be my new avenue of creativity and want to know that where i choose to spend my money and time in learning will be great. anyone who can pass on links, info or advice I would greatly appreciate it

Thanks again

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Hey 41hammer!

I'm not a bootmaker, but I have seen posts on this and other forums about folk's good experiences at Carl Chappell's school. I wanted to make sure he was still offering classes, so I ran him on the net. Carl offers a two week class, but there were also quite a few more bootmaking schools than I realized. Green County Tech offers a major in boot and saddle making, but that might take a little longer than you had planned to spend at a course.

I'm sure you'll hear from some bootmakers who can give you some personal insight.

Good luck. I wish I had started a little earlier in my life, because I have always thought bootmaking was fascinating. I guess we never live long enough to satisfy our curiosity about things.

Mike

Edited by Mike Craw

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For those interested in western boot classes and would like to come to Montana. Classes are offered at Frank English Custom Boots, Ronan Mt. I have been making boots for about 12 years. Only 1 or 2 people/class. You will make a pair of boots for yourself during a 2 week class. For more information email me at fnecustomboots@netzero.net. That is FNE for the first 3 letters.

Edited by bootsmt

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The best option would be to find someone local to teach you.... an apprenticeship or a variation of it.

From my experience, most Bootmakers love to talk, help and teach their craft to 'newbies'. You just have to reach out and ask if you can come by for a visit.... and build a relationship from there.

It takes more than a two week course to learn to build quality boots.... and much longer if you expect to make & sell them to others.

That is not to say that coursework is a waste of time. It is a great foundation if you cannot apprentice full-time.

I took a two week course with a master bootmaker (who no longer teaches) but also found someone local who was willing to help me out with everything he could. Short of a full-time apprenticeship, I feel this was a great way to learn and gain some valuable experience.

good luck.

here is a list of bootmakers in Ca:

http://www.dimlights.com/boots/custom/ca.html

Also, here is a list of bootmakers who offer course work:

http://www.dimlights.com/boots/features/schoolin.htm

Edited by jeeperaz

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It is true a 2 week class is not enough time to learn to make quality boots. It takes over 25 pairs of boots made by you to start building boots that are of good quality. As of yet I have not met anyone who has the time for at least 4 weeks of class time or who wants to spend that amount of time to learn this craft. Apprenticeships aren't that available with a boot maker. The time and energy to work with someone and get your own work out is hard to fit into the work days. So it comes down to the two weeks to get a gist of things and to practice on your own with calls back and forth with the person who instructed you to help you along.

If anyone would be interested in and has the time for a longer class let me know, I would prefer it for my classes I conduct. Making boots is not as simple as people think it is. I had someone ask how many pairs do I make in a day, 3 or 4? Well it comes down to 2 or maybe 3 in a month if I am making boots for a repeat order and the boots aren't very ornamental. I don't take short cuts and I don't like to rush. I don't know how other makers go about their work, I am only speaking about myself.

The cost of the class, tools , meals, and lodging is not inexpensive and is also a reason why people can't take a longer class. There are some people out there who will do what it takes when they have a desire to learn something. If anyone has a desire to learn boot making or whatever, listen and take in what you are being taught and don't try to come up with a better way, LEARN FIRST. After you have the basics and you think you have a better way of doing it , go for it and you might be surprised what you learn from it,

MY TWO CENTS WORTH1

Frank English

Frank English Custom Boots

Ronan, Montana

406-260-1179

fnecustomboots@netzero.net

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Dan & Julia Schwarz are great people and have a boot school in Montana.

Here's their website:

http://www.schwarzcustomboots.com/

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I have a new address and phone number, 406-260-1179 Polson, Montana.

It is true a 2 week class is not enough time to learn to make quality boots. It takes over 25 pairs of boots made by you to start building boots that are of good quality. As of yet I have not met anyone who has the time for at least 4 weeks of class time or who wants to spend that amount of time to learn this craft. Apprenticeships aren't that available with a boot maker. The time and energy to work with someone and get your own work out is hard to fit into the work days. So it comes down to the two weeks to get a gist of things and to practice on your own with calls back and forth with the person who instructed you to help you along.

If anyone would be interested in and has the time for a longer class let me know, I would prefer it for my classes I conduct. Making boots is not as simple as people think it is. I had someone ask how many pairs do I make in a day, 3 or 4? Well it comes down to 2 or maybe 3 in a month if I am making boots for a repeat order and the boots aren't very ornamental. I don't take short cuts and I don't like to rush. I don't know how other makers go about their work, I am only speaking about myself.

The cost of the class, tools , meals, and lodging is not inexpensive and is also a reason why people can't take a longer class. There are some people out there who will do what it takes when they have a desire to learn something. If anyone has a desire to learn boot making or whatever, listen and take in what you are being taught and don't try to come up with a better way, LEARN FIRST. After you have the basics and you think you have a better way of doing it , go for it and you might be surprised what you learn from it,

MY TWO CENTS WORTH1

Frank English

Frank English Custom Boots

Ronan, Montana

406-260-1179

fnecustomboots@netzero.net

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I have made some changes to the boot classes. I will no longer offer 2 week classes except for an exceptional reason.

Classes available - 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Cost of 4weeks is the same that I charged for the 2 week class.

I have been accepted as a Montana Eligible Training Provider. This is through the Workforce Investment Act. Montana has reciprocity with other states providing funds to participants in training classes.

Frank English

New email - frankenglishcustomboots@yahoo.com

new phone - 406-260-1179

new location - 115 Anchor Way

Polson, Mt.

Edited by bootsmt

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After some conversations and more thought I will continue to conduct 2 week classes and reduce the cost of the class. Longer classes available .Trying to reduce the housing cost also.

I have been accepted as a Montana Eligible Training Provider. This is through the Workforce Investment Act. Montana has reciprocity with other states providing funds to participants in training classes.

Frank English

New email - frankenglishcustomboots@yahoo.com

new phone - 406-260-1179

new location - 115 Anchor Way

Polson, Mt.

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I have made some changes to the boot classes. I will no longer offer 2 week classes except for an exceptional reason.

Classes available - 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Cost of 4weeks is the same that I charged for the 2 week class.

I have been accepted as a Montana Eligible Training Provider. This is through the Workforce Investment Act. Montana has reciprocity with other states providing funds to participants in training classes.

Frank English

New email - frankenglishcustomboots@yahoo.com

new phone - 406-260-1179

new location - 115 Anchor Way

Polson, Mt.

I am no longer offering 12 week classes, 4 week and for a very good reason 2 week classes only. Students do not have to have the tools, they will be provided except for a couple items.

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I took the 2 week course with Frank English. True, 2 weeks will get you familiar with the procedure for boot making, but you have a long way to go before you can make them for others. Frank offers a very good and intense class. He is tough and demands that you produce as close to perfect as you can get. You will however, appreciate the effort that he puts into has bootmaking and classes. He cuts no corners. If possible, I am going back.

John L

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Previous information for my business is no longer valid.

Edited by bootsmt

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