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Midsole Leather Weight Inquiry

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What weight do you guys use for midsole? It has to be thick enough to carve into. I understand that beyond that, it probably doesn't matter much, but I was just curious if you guys have a weight you generally stick to when making a pair of shoes.

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Art   

For boots, 12 iron oak shoulder if I can get it. For shoes, 8 iron.

Art

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For me, I don't have just one weight. It depends on what I'm making.

Art's range works for me, but more to the point is who I'm making for and what I'm making.

What are you making?

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Art   

Paul,

I get the impression he is trying to make shoes on more of a production basis. I don't think he understands the relationship between a custom maker and his customer. I may be wrong.

Art

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No, I'm definitely not making them on a production basis. I'm just getting into this, and looking to make my first pair for myself. This pair will be, essentially, hiking boots with an athletic rubber outsole. Just curious what the ranges were. Since I intend these to be a softer boot, more along the lines of a heartier sneaker that comes over the ankle, really, then I'll be shooting for the lighter of that line, around the 8 oz iron. I was leaning towards 8-9oz anyways, and was looking for a confirmation that I was in the right area. Of course, this is my first pair, so I expect it to fall short of my expectations, mostly fact gathering and the such.

Thanks for the info, guys!

Michael

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KAYAK45   

I think you may want to rethink the 8 OZ. thing. Do a LITTLE more research and and you will find that 1 Iron is not at all the same as 1 OZ. Sole leather is also a different tanned leather and comes in IRONS. An 8 Iron is approx. 10/11 ounce. IE each IRON is 75% of 1 OZ.

Kevin

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Art   

Kevin is correct,

1 iron = 1/48 inch

1oz = 1/64 inch.

Are you planning on gluing the sole or stitching?

Using a welt?

This all makes a difference in selection of midsole, insole, and outsole. Most things I make don't have a midsole, these are used if you are going to glue the outsole, but it just depends on what you are trying to make.

You might want to get some instruction from a maker who does the type of work you are contemplating, or try to get some time with a well experienced (not someone in a mall) cobbler.

Art

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The problem is, is that the type of shoe I'm looking to make I've never really seen done before.

It'll be essentially a side button moccasin, all leather, which I will stitch to the midsole by carving a channel in the midsole, and nailing it to a last, nailing the rest of the boot to the midsole and removing one nail at a time, as I stitch the two together. I don't know if there's a word for this method, but that's what I plan on doing. Then, once I've got the two together, gluing to it, a rubber athletic type outsole.

Hopefully that made sense. I know I'm combining a few different methods here, and I know my utter lack of terminology may invest unease in my betters, but I've got it all worked out up in the noggin', and in the number of other hobbies I've picked up over the years, once it works in my head, I generally don't run into too many issues making it work in my hands. I'm just trying to find out how thick I need my midsole to be, so that there's plenty to channel through, and still be able to work it.

So, midsole leather is a specific type of leather (vegetable tanned?) and comes in irons, as opposed to OZ. That's the kind of info I'm here to get. And the conversion rate comes out to about Oz < Iron by roughly 75%. Does that imply I could use a different type of leather for a midsole? I've got my eye on some nice 11oz buffalo leather, and if I can use it as a midsole, I might pull the trigger on it. Or, for midsoles, do I need something especially rigid, so it's easier to channel and work?

Thank you again for all of this valuable information, I might have ended up channelling right through my leather, or found myself without enough to sew. Not a huge setback, but an easily avoided one, and I'm glad for that.

As for the suggestions to get with a maker in my area, the problem is my amount of free time outside of the house. I'm in the US Army, so my free time is limited enough as it is, plus with a 6 month old daughter in the house now, making it out to apprentice with someone is out of the question. Then factor in my inability to temper my excitement, and I'm left with saying screw it, and learning on my own. Of course I'll run into road blocks, and I might waste a good amount of time and money due to inexperience, but I'm resliant in that way, and am confident (if I can find a good athletic outsole supplier) that I'll come out of this making shoes.

Thank you for your patience, guys. Please stick with me. My ingorance is generally short-lived.

TL:DR - So what problems would I run into if I used an 11oz buffalo leather as a midsole?

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Wait, I might have my terms mixed up here.

Yeah, okay. I misunderstood, I was talking about the insole.

Okay. Let's see if I can give a better description here:

I will be handstitching my insole to the upper, in the same method as welting, but without the welt. I'll hand stitch on a last, then trim down the excess and glue on an athletic sole. So, my question then, is not midsole weight, but insole weight. Enough to carve and stitch, but thin enough to still be soft on the foot?

Sorry about all the confusion.

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Michael,

11 ounce is good, and the buffalo may serve if you can channel it cleanly, but I think it'd be too fiberous. The kind of grain surface is relavant also. You might want to scratch any top finsih off so it will give a little friction and won't crack.

But to me it sounds as if a heavy skirting would serve. As an insole, you could channel and stitch it, and it would give you the softness you indicated you were after. What can pass for insoles in some applications would be hard and disappointing for a first pair.

Unless you maybe show a picture or drawing of what you are after though, You'll be on your own in a field of the lost.

I always tell people that boot/shoe making isn't brain surgery, but a Brain Surgeon could do it.

With Regards,

Paul

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Michael,

Bespoke is not a style, it is an adjetive for the item for which you made the patterns for a particular person. It's as if to say, "that pair is spoken for".

Channeling an insole is how some would make a holdfast. There's a few choics of technique for inseaming, which it sounds like you're doing in this part of the conversation.

Show us a drawing so we can help. There's really "nothing new under the sun".

Paul

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There's a lot of terms being thrown around on the various forums and blogs I'm attempting to absorb information from, so when a pair of "Bespoke shoes" was shown being made, I made the wrong leap. Thanks for putting me right on that one.

What are the other options for making a holdfast? I haven't found any other beside channelling, but that might not mean anything. In either case, it seems pretty straight forward, so long as I mark everything out first and take my time with it. In my case, it doesn't actually need to be particularly strong, since I'm not welting (though I'll keep that option open for the future, seems like a neat method, and I have some friends that would appreciate the asthetics), so the insole will be sewn only to the upper, which will all then be cemented over, and to, the outsole.

Seriously, though, I'm having an absurd amount of difficulty trying to track down a rubber outsole retailer. Aside from eBay, which is inconsitent, and has nothing near what I'm looking for. I'm looking for any form of rubber cup sole, athletic or light hiking, preferrably black, and I'm coming up empty.

Any suggestions? Is there a secret cobbler's supply retailer out there I'm unaware of?

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KAYAK45   

HAHA! There is no secret COBBLER SUPPLY! Really in this age everything is on the WEB.

Maybe, because you are trying to do something new, you will have to search out new sources as well. The tried and true resources are for those who follow the path, from those before us! Some call it following the "DEAD MEN"

Being a PIONEER means, by definition, you will get arrows in your back. Keep going!

Let us know how the project goes on.

Kevin

PS: Read what the DEAD MEN had to say, before you venture into the unknown.!

Edited by KAYAK45

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I didn't know trying to buy rubber soles would get me arrows in the back -ducks-

I'll keep looking. I'm a bit particular, and this is an intregal part of the look, and something I can't really see being recreated with leather. Though, I am considering more and more making a pair of welted biker boots for my buddy. That's still a bit in the future, though.

I'll post progress pictures as I go, certainly, wins and losses.

And if anyone has a lead on athletic type cup outsoles that I can buy in quantaties of less than 10 pair at a time, I'm all ears.

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Art   

The best way to find these is to get ahold of a pair that you want to into and deconstruct them to the point that you can find a maker of the soles. If you can't do that, call the maker of the shoes and tell them you are a cobbler and need to find a source for outsoles for their shoes. Sometimes this works and sometimes not. If they are expensive shoes, they may ask you to send the shoes back for repair, this is a big part of the high end shoe business. Last (or maybe the first) option is to call around to older shoe repair places and see what they would use.

Art

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I've actually tried asking a resoling company if they'd be willing to sell a few soles at profit to me, and they essentially yelled at me for asking them to do anything but resole a pair of boots.

I'd be fine with a few pairs of vibram hiking boot soles, but can't find a single place that sells them retail. It's all either wholesale with a min quantity, or will only sell to liscensed businesses. So aside from eBay, I seriouslly can't find a place to buy ones and twos, and eBay doesn't seem to have any cup soles, they all have been flat soles this far.

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Art   

Have you tried Panhandle or Southern Leather? I started using both of these years ago and was a pretty meager orderer. I now have an account bet started small with both of them. Some of the West Coast Suppliers are snooty and short with answers, but Southern carries more than all of them put togeather. I still use Panhandle some because they are nice people.

Art

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Panhandle I've seen before, and didn't find anything that wasn't either welted, or flatsole. Southern has significantly more options, but still no cup soles, as far as I can see. I'll contact them, though, and see if they'd be willing to stock some 1375 Bifida, or something of that sort.

Thanks for the tip on southern, they look like a great place to shop. Just the type of place I'm looking for.

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Art   

Burten distribution in LA carries those Vibram 1375s. Check Southern first.

Art

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Actually, I've already called them to attempt to order from them, but they will only work with liscensed companies. They didn't just hang up on me or anything, seemed like they wanted to help, but had no information on where I could get something on a hobby scale, as they work on a production scale.

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Hi Pax Adddict- search for "shoe repair" suppliers for your sole. You'll be able to get just one pair from them rather than the thousands you'd need to order from a shoe making supplier. If your are feeling spendy go for Vibram, they're on the better quality mass produced industrial shoes and boots. Usually $12-30/ single pair depending on the tread type. Alternatively you can buy soling material by the sheet and cut them yourself. For either it's best to go to store to see for yourself as there's literally hundreds of options.

In Southern California we have Saderma.net, the website is pretty dense for non shoe people, best to call them and describe what you want if you can't get to either store, but they have everything you'd want for shoemaking/repair except lasts - tacks, shanks, leather (pricey) adhesives, thread, soles, insoles, dyes, etc.

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Art   

Can't say I've ever had luck with Saderma, they don't put up pictures or bother on a description. I tried to look up Lincoln Wax, just a page full of nothing. Seems like it is pretty much the same for everything. I'll stick with Southern.

Art

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Art, you're quite right about the Saderma website, it's next to useless. I think it's intended for people who know the exact item they're looking for to restock their repair shop. Fortunately for the kids in Los Angeles we can go to the store and browse. I don't get there too often but if there something your trying to find, let me know and I can have a look on my next trip.

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