tozafoot

Future of shoemaking as a craft — profession and/or hobby

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I only make shoes for myself — much as I would like to turn my hobby into a profession, I can’t see how to make the numbers work at present. So I was interested to see this blog post from a professional shoemaker lamenting “The Extinction of a Craft” https://shoesandcraft.com/2018/02/05/the-extinction-of-a-craft/

I had lots of thoughts on reading this, two of which were:

1) People who make footwear for love not money (whether you call us amateurs or hobbyists or something else) are likely to be key to keeping many aspects of the traditional “craft” alive in coming decades. For example, just look at all the amazing ideas and sharing of expertise on this forum.

2) We need better educational materials for people to teach themselves how to make footwear, if “only” as hobbyists. Ideally, these would be materials that can stand the test of time — forum posts, or blogs, or tweetstorms or even online videos may not be around in 5 years let alone several decades from now.

I’d be up for thinking more about how to achieve 2) if any one else is interested in collaborating on this.

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I have only made a pair of sandals for myself. They work for me but are no master piece of work. So I know I won't be making any money from it. Have you thought about teaming up with a medical professional that deals with making custom shoes?. I know in Canada here or at least in my area a few people make a decent living that way. They have the medical background and teamed with people that can craft from leather

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As for number 2, there is a forum under the forum title "specialty" that deals with making shoes, moccasins, boots, etc in case you haven't searched down that deep on the forum's main page (it's way down closer to the bottom). I'd love to be able to make my own shoes and am considering checking out the class by the guy up in OR (sorry, forgot his name) that does the non-last shoe classes...

 

Opps! I didn't realize that is where you posted your original message

Edited by Wyowind
add clarification

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I am wanting to make my own shoes...I saw this waiting till july when the dvd is released http://laughingcrowe.com/  I also found this http://www.bighousedaddy.com/camping_boot_patterns.htm .  I want to work on them this summer when my work schedule lightens up and I have extra time.  Sadly a lot of handcrafts will fade away as people stop doing them.  I try to make a lot of my own things just to keep my skill's on the up and up.  

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3 hours ago, Deryk said:

I am wanting to make my own shoes...I saw this waiting till july when the dvd is released http://laughingcrowe.com/  I also found this http://www.bighousedaddy.com/camping_boot_patterns.htm .  I want to work on them this summer when my work schedule lightens up and I have extra time.  Sadly a lot of handcrafts will fade away as people stop doing them.  I try to make a lot of my own things just to keep my skill's on the up and up.  

34 bucks sounds like a deal to learn some boot making.

Thanks for sharing the big daddy site. I hadn't seen it before.

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no problem man... I think this weekend I need to pick up a roll of duct tape and find a sacrificial pair of socks and get one of my friends to tape my feet to make a template.  I have been looking at my red wing boots, looking at how the pieces fit together and I totally think I can do it.  My mom thinks I am so crazy that I want to make my own boots...I just like making as much of my own stuff as I can...been building furniture for up at my cabin...bedframe, secretary desk, entertainment stand and deck chairs...I don't sit still much lol

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DWell, this thread got me investigating.

I ordered myself a pair of lasts. I think I should be able to make them work. Just got lucky on eBay.

I also found this guy in Australia. Tim Skyrme seems to have written the book we are looking for.

http://www.shoemakingbook.com/purchase page.htm

I haven't gathered the funds for this purchase yet.

I also found a few schools that teach lasted shoes. There is a school in Washington State, at least 2 in London, and one in New Orleans. 

Of course these are expensive options. I'm sure they are well worth the money, but it is money I don't have.

The last time I bought shoes I found that the ball on my left foot is a good bit wider than my right.

I also broke both my heels in 2010. I need comfortable shoes. I can't imagine how good a pair of bespoke shoes or even better work boots might feel.

If I build 5 pairs before I get them right (for me) I would be way ahead of the game. I know most bespoke shoes start at over 3 grand.

It may be months before I even start this, but I have committed myself to trying it. I have watched a lot if videos and think I could wing a pair of Chukka boots for practice, or something.

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bikermutt07, There is also https://www.cordwainertools.com/ This guy makes a lot of shoes and has some instructional videos for sale, along with tool and supplies. It's not much cheaper.

Skyrme's book is pretty regarded in the bespoke shoe community. I plan on getting a copy someday myself. 

A good book for education purposes is "Handmade Shoes for Men".  https://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Shoes-Men-László-Vass/dp/3848003686/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520968724&sr=1-1&keywords=Handmade+Shoes+for+Men . It does not have patterns but is great on history and understanding the process. And inspiration for your own designs.

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5 hours ago, arashikage said:

bikermutt07, There is also https://www.cordwainertools.com/ This guy makes a lot of shoes and has some instructional videos for sale, along with tool and supplies. It's not much cheaper.

Skyrme's book is pretty regarded in the bespoke shoe community. I plan on getting a copy someday myself. 

A good book for education purposes is "Handmade Shoes for Men".  https://www.amazon.com/Handmade-Shoes-Men-László-Vass/dp/3848003686/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520968724&sr=1-1&keywords=Handmade+Shoes+for+Men . It does not have patterns but is great on history and understanding the process. And inspiration for your own designs.

Thanks. In my research I found the handmade shoes for men book. But , I don't think it covers making or adjusting the lasts. And really, I think that will be at the heart of a great fitting shoe.

   How and where the adjustments are made is what I am really wanting to know about. 

I'll check out the video series as well. It is probably out of my current chewing gum budget though.

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Ok guys, we have hit the motherload.:)

Today I was searching for more last suppliers and ran across an old thread here.

It was of course someone trying to make shoes with no guidance. Well, some one suggested the Honorable Cordwainers Company. This is a 501c non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the the shoe making craft.

They have free digital downloads, a library, as well as dozens of DVDs available from annual demonstrations from the 80s or 90s.

Here is a link. I believe I will be signing up for this.

http://www.thehcc.org

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I highly recommend “The Book of Men’s Shoes Making” publishes by StudioTac.  It’s totally written in Japanese but the photos are so detailed that you can easily understand it.  Google translate on my iPhone also works well enough when I need it.  Full step by step from lasting to hand welting. 

I am working on my first pair of Derby shoes in my spare time.  It’s a fun hobby and cheaper than a therapist. 

 

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Well, I did break down and order the Hand made shoes for men Friday night. It is cowritten by Laslo Vaas. 

If it doesn't work, I will get the Tim Skyrme book.

But, the HCC site has downloads for making lasts from scratch. I will be checking into that as well.

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10 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

Ok guys, we have hit the motherload.:)

Today I was searching for more last suppliers and ran across an old thread here.

It was of course someone trying to make shoes with no guidance. Well, some one suggested the Honorable Cordwainers Company. This is a 501c non-profit dedicated to the preservation of the the shoe making craft.

They have free digital downloads, a library, as well as dozens of DVDs available from annual demonstrations from the 80s or 90s.

Here is a link. I believe I will be signing up for this.

http://www.thehcc.org

Thanks for the link, Bikermutt! Very interesting site that I’m looking forward to digging into for some great knowledge... I really enjoyed the history section.

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That Hand Made Shoes for Men book is look at the steps of bespoke shoemaking. It's not a how-to book; It's more of a "How It's Made" kind of book that you would see on somebody's coffee table.

The Bespoke Shoemaking book by Tim Skyrme is very detailed. He only teaches how to make shoes with lasts, though. If you can find a good source for lasts, then i highly recommend his book. If you are in the USA, you can order this book from http://www.walrusshoe.com. You'll need to call to place an order. He also has other shoemaking and last making books, as well as some lasts.

The books by George Koleff are also worth a look. i have the Last Designing and Making Manual. It is a good book to have if you want to make your own lasts. i'm sure his other books are good as well.

There is a dvd set called Healthy Handmade Shoes by Glenn Leisure. This one is $150, and teaches how to construct Veldeschoen (lastless) shoes. You can find the website here:http://www.healthyhandmadeshoes.com/dvd/ . I don't have this one, so i can't say if it is any good.

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Thanks, @Jesleright. @Wyowind I downloaded their first 2 books last night. It mentioned dialup taking 30-45 minutes. It was on my phone in about 6 seconds. Amazing how fast things have gotten in 20 years.

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42 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

Thanks, @Jesleright. @Wyowind I downloaded their first 2 books last night. It mentioned dialup taking 30-45 minutes. It was on my phone in about 6 seconds. Amazing how fast things have gotten in 20 years.

True that. I remember watching the TV show Stargate and the opening theme had the modem dial up sound. My kids asked me what that sound was lol

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Yep, what I downloaded was over 300 pages.

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