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Hello all,

 

First off, Ill start by pointing out that I am not a shoe/boot maker and have never made a pair. I have absolutely no experience in this field although I have been leather crafting accessories for a few years. 

 

That said; I'd like to take a stab at making a rough pair of boots. I'm not really interested in learning how to carve a pair of lasts out of wood at this point as it seems that this is an art of its own. Rather, I'd like a more simple way of making a pair of lasts. I've done a bit of reading about using a pair of old boots/shoes to pour some sort of resin/foam into to get a rough last shape out of, then shaping it. The problem is, the only information I've found about a substance which can be nailed into without cracking is this smooth-on foam #25. Which apparently is dense and rigid enough to put a nail into, but flexible enough to avoid cracking, according to a user in another thread. This foam used in combination with a thin layer of bondo apparently will do the job for a couple of pairs of boots/shoes. Problem is, this foam is $185 a gallon. This is completely unreasonable for me as I'm just doing this as a hobby. I also wonder if this foam would be rigid enough to stretch the leather over without altering the shape of the "last". Is there some other resin or plastic combo or otherwise I could use to achieve a "nail-able" and rigid material? Could I just melt some recyclable HDPE? Or would that deform the shoe I plan on using to pour the substance into? I need something that won't hurt my wallet, and is hard enough that I can form leather with it, but not so rigid that it would crack when nailed into.

 

I really hope someone has some experience with this! 

 

Thanks again,

 

Zayne

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Many flea markets and antique stores sell wood or plastic lasts fairly cheap.  I heard of people buying a size or two larger and then sanding down to fit their major measurements.  

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check on ebay too, they have a lot of lasts on there

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On 2/13/2018 at 10:48 AM, Webicons said:

Many flea markets and antique stores sell wood or plastic lasts fairly cheap.  I heard of people buying a size or two larger and then sanding down to fit their major measurements.  

 

21 hours ago, Jake907 said:

check on ebay too, they have a lot of lasts on there

Man, I was so focused on making something myself I didn't even think about modifying an existing last. Thanks guys!

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Lasts seem to show up in sporadically on the Bay.  When you find a last you think will work for you, ask them to measure it (length and width at the very least) to make sure that you're getting close to what you need.  The less you have to modify, the better off you are.  Walrusshoes.com and Lisa Sorrell Notions carry lasts. 

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There is a company out of Russia that makes and sells lasts on Etsy.

I have been venturing into the shoe thing slowly. When you can actually find a pair of lasts in your size on eBay, there is very little in the way of measurements offered. Lasts are kind of hard for the end user to obtain. Maufacturers want to sell entire runs to companies. Not one pair to an individual.

This is an aspect of leather work shrouded in mystey and expense. If you have unlimited funds you can fly around the world taking classes and work shops. But if not, you will just have to muddle they the best you can.

HCC.com has a good bit of information available for free. That's Honourable Cordwainers Company, they are a group dedicated to preserving the history and art of shoemaking.

I purchased a book yesterday from a shoemaker in Australia named Tim Skyrme. $140.00 U.S. shipped to the states. It appears to be one of the few all inclusive books for getting started. We shall see.

I will post more on this site once I finally get my studio back up and get back to playing.

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