AdamGadut

Limitations of Last Modifications

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Truely Shoe lasts are very very rare to find. i found a couple stores locally that sells them. One of the stores sells only in dozens and for female foot - with varied sizes. Luckily the other store sells individual pairs for men sizes, BUT, my foot is size 9&1/2 and the last few ones they have are size 8&1/2 and size 8.... 
Having seen some youtube videos of cordwainers modifying their last shapes by adding cork boards, I went and bought the size 8&1/2 and some cork boards... 

i havent fully done the modification, but still is about half way and i've added about 3 layers of cork on the outer side. - My feet are fairly wide. As i see the lasts, they still need about a layer of cork more on the inner side... 

So my question is... Is there a limitation to this modification?.. is 3 layers of cork on one side ok?... 

seeking the wisdom of those who have done this.

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build up with leather or bondo type auto body filler.

or

buy larger and carve to suit.

 

I have no experience with cork in this application, good luck

 

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Saturn, now that you mentioned autobody filler, i will coat the cork layers i already laid out to reinforce them... thinking about this question now, I imagine the filler material had to be stiff enough to withstand a razor sharp blade for the patterns. thanks a lot :)

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Body filler is at best a bad choice.  It will not handle the stress of lasting.  leather is a better choice, it may be glued on and will not crack and flake.

Changing the size of a last can be tricky.  You need to measure in multiple directions.  Length, width, girth, etc. are all involved.  Changing one measurement can alter another.  You need to find lasts that are almost correct and then alter from there.  Last making is actually pretty advanced, sort of like collage level shoemaking.

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Thanks Electrathon, i will use leather instead. 

I agree with you about the difficulty in the last. Me making it match my foot has been quiet challenging. I keep trying to compare it side by side with my foot on every change i make, also comparing it on the sketches of my foot's shape. 

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5 hours ago, AdamGadut said:

Saturn, now that you mentioned autobody filler, i will coat the cork layers i already laid out to reinforce them... thinking about this question now, I imagine the filler material had to be stiff enough to withstand a razor sharp blade for the patterns. thanks a lot :)

As Electrathon says a build up with leather is the way I would recommend. A few slice marks in it from patterning will not effect the lasted result and won't hurt your cutting knife either. I have not ever used cork board for building up with and I doubt I can see much of a reason why. With leather you can get it take up and go around the compound curves fairly easily and sand or skive down to the required size. The whole lot can be peeled of normally if you want to go back for another job. In the past I found difficulty getting B size lasts and in the hot Queensland weather and the open style footwear normally worn the average feet here tend to be broader across the metatarsal area. That is the wider part of the foot before the toes. I overcame this by doing a 3mm moulded poly type board cast over this area and sanded down into shape and this then allowed me to clip it on or off for whatever size needed A or B in this area of foot. As to how much in size you can build up it is only relevant to the feet in question and the desired shape you want.You'd be surprised at some of the shapes you get when doing surgical shoes after a while.  Regards Brian

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A last is not the shape of a foot.  Some bones need compression and support and some need space to float.  Few lasts are foot shaped (think clunky orthopedic shoes for foot shaped lasts).  The top of the last is never foot shaped, that has to do with removing the last from the shoe.

I would recommend that you do reading online on measuring of the foot, that will help, but does not address many of the reasons why lasts are shaped like they are.

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21 minutes ago, AdamGadut said:

Thanks Electrathon, i will use leather instead. 

I agree with you about the difficulty in the last. Me making it match my foot has been quiet challenging. I keep trying to compare it side by side with my foot on every change i make, also comparing it on the sketches of my foot's shape. 

Are you wanting to make closed in footwear? Can you post a picture of the last side on and down from on top and bottom?

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Yes a closed footwear. I will post later as soon as i get photos of the last. 

the areas of the last i have been building up material are on the outer sides and the toes - maintaining that rounded Toe shape for the shoe, and on the heel, extending its length. 

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3 minutes ago, AdamGadut said:

Yes a closed footwear. I will post later as soon as i get photos of the last. 

the areas of the last i have been building up material are on the outer sides and the toes - maintaining that rounded Toe shape for the shoe, and on the heel, extending its length. 

I will check back for the pictures a little later and let you know what I think best.It may be best to show an outline of your foot and whatever measuring procedures you have done.Brian

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Maybe this will help:  Lisa Sorrell has a few videos on lasts and sizing. 

 

 

Bill

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since i can only post up to max 1.46MB, i will have to post multiple times.. 

as you can see here, my modifications for the last aren't done yet, I'm thinking i need to add one one more layer of cork to the inner side  all the way from top to bottom, then another layer that connects the outer side to the heel, and one more layer to the heel lengthening it overall. Then after that, trimming the cork to shape. 

Image A:

DSC_2655.thumb.JPG.f7d07cb57c6099081b6adc7e55eb80bd.JPG

 

 

on the below image, it may seem the last matches the outline, but up close personal, i see it still needs to be bigger.

Image B

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Image C:

DSC_2657.thumb.JPG.f5677254fb51d563c902c70b89de03f1.JPG

 

Some more pics coming up so hang on.

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so there's already 3 layers of cork on the outer side. the corkboards i have are cut in small pieces so you see there's actually a part here where the other cork connects.

Image D

DSC_2658.thumb.JPG.06bc33f5f68420f21b57c9f369e8e417.JPG

 

Image E:DSC_2660.thumb.JPG.8c44f13a59d83246aa061f6cb8423539.JPG

 

Image F:DSC_2662.thumb.JPG.c1b0c58cd3bf9bf9c4aec723cf62eaa1.JPG

 

 

 

the inner sides doesnt have additional filler yet. I am yet to add one layer to the inner sides

Image G

DSC_2663.thumb.JPG.e13cc9a034a6a3812ba6844b5cabea6b.JPG

 

some more pics coming up

Edited by AdamGadut

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aside from the foot outline, i have here a couple measurements i took. on the below image, the ball of foot in the shoe last has a girth of about 23.7 CM

 

Image H

DSC_2667.thumb.JPG.475f6dc1e4cf751766f23e2abc529398.JPG

 

 

forgive me if my feet couldn't look any better. it has taken a lot of abuse from poorly fitted shoes. I always have to use about a size bigger to accommodate the width.

on my foot, the ball part is at 25.7cm - so definitely, i need to add some more material on the last to widen it a bit more.

Image I

DSC_2669.thumb.JPG.9393518ae95d70b37def99192e353174.JPG

 

Image J

DSC_2670.thumb.JPG.3dd320665eb115270200064d997e209a.JPG

 

on the instep, on the shoe last, its girth is at 24.5 CM

Image K

DSC_2668.thumb.JPG.1732f46039ff6451c38204f717fa1870.JPG

 

on my foot, the instep girth is at 25.3 cm. So, the last still needs some volume on the inner side - i belive

Image L

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Image MDSC_2672.thumb.JPG.e3beecbbf18bcea23dcd47de3aea5a6e.JPG

 

 

 

once i get it to the right volume, after trimming it to the shape of the last, i will add a layer of thin leather

 

 

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I see your last has no provision for folding in the middle.  This may be an issue depending on your shoe design.  Do not forget about the ankle diameter too.

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2 hours ago, electrathon said:

I see your last has no provision for folding in the middle.  This may be an issue depending on your shoe design.  Do not forget about the ankle diameter too.

i am yet to cut it in half and add a bolt in the middle to hold it in place.. I've seen in one of Lisa Sorel's video, a Last Maker he did the cut on about 45 degree angle with a bandsaw.

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I can now see a bit more of where and how your going with this.This looks like a shoe last and not a boot last to start with. As Electrathon has pointed out  some method of breaking the last will need to be sorted out. Some old ones I've used have a scaloped out section from the lower instep on up and toward the heel which is held in place by a screw. It appears that you may not have taken into account a lot of important measurements and to help with this I have inserted a link that I would think you might consider looking at first. I do not want to dishearten you with where you are at but I have to say I would remove all that cork and start again with some 3mm veg leather if possible. Try and work more with the last shape when building up in a more all over way. I would start with building up first the width of ball (metatarsal area a bit then try and overlay this in a more complete way right across the whole last. This will help to maintain the actual last shape better and thereon your shoe as well. Please pay attention to the instep and long heel measurements when adding on this layer. The best of shoemakers will often not get a good fit straight away and there are a few things that can be done to make this a little easier. The first I would say after getting all of your measurements close is to put a 3mm piece onto the sole of your last (glue it on and metal plate on top if you want.) and this will allow you to put in a cushioned sock liner insole which can easily be sanded down or added too, to get a more comfortable fit. When you have the leather insole glued and attached to the upper and held in place try it on for size here and make any adjustments such as loosing or tightening. Don't forget to do that with the sock liner insole in place as well. Another thing that can help is a little foam on the lining side of the heel counter at the top as this can help a bit with the counter not being a perfect fit to the persons heel. Make this thin at the top back and go wider as it wraps around. This would be about 80mm long and about 20mm deep in the widest part and around 2 or 3mm thick when compressed into place.The last your showing here is a low heel height and I would think only about about 1/2" (13 to 15mm high). Getting the heel height and toe spring right is often overlooked but is an important part to get a correct comfortable wearing shoe. You have the advantage here of tacking on temporally heel pieces until it feels right in wear. Here is the link-  http://chestofbooks.com/business/clothing/footwear/The-Manufacture-Of-Boots-And-Shoes/The-Operation-Of-Measuring.html

A few pics of the tools that you have may help as well.

That's it for now Brian

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I want to add in here that Brian knows a lot more about this stuff than I do.  I am very much a beginner, 4 pairs of shoes so far.  Currently on pair #5.  Lasts are harder to get correct as a beginner than the shoe is, so be cautious and read as much as you can find.  Few people alter them as far as you are, that adds a level of difficulty that is tough for a beginner.  By the looks of your feet, you must be at least a EE width, that will make proper lasts tough to find too.

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yeah, i meant to make shoes, not boots yet. i really don't have those tools yet that are specialized to do shoemaking. there's literally no shop around that carries those so they'll have to be ordered online. From where i live, shipping takes about a month so it'll take a bit. the ones i have are the typical, well, long nose pliers, a hammer, rubber mallet, some hack saw, and a razor cutter with disposable blades, and i dont even have the curved awl, but i'm looking to make my own. Some of the tools i have i created out of common house hold items.

 I'm guessing the cork i have here aren't enough to handle some tough lasting.

i initially thought oh making my own last- but i see how this will take a whole lot of time to do right, plus i dont have the correct wood.. 

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Hi Adam again, I would forget about the curved awl to start with as that would be a level of difficulty in construction that at this stage I would not recommend to start off with. I would at least try and get a pair of lasting pliers such as in this link for sale. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Vintage-Cobblers-Shoe-Boot-Tack-Hammer-Lasting-Pliers-Tool-/232351152913

As you work around the last pulling the upper into shape these will allow you to pull way more easily than with a pair of pliers. The tightness needed to pull into shape is quite a lot and when learning and it is not uncommon to pull a piece right out of the upper and sometimes ruining your upper.If you intend to be able to make shoes regularly I would also try and find a lasting jack. Here is a picture of one I own below. The mirrors are just something I added to be able to see that the upper is staying in the correct place while I am pulling the upper around with these pliers. This particular lasting jack allows you to freely turn the last around in to whatever direction makes it easier to pull against and the spring in the middle helps to apply tension so it doesn't revolve too easily. Electrathon do not run off as it has been over 15 years or more since I have made any shoes and my terminology may be off and rusty and you would agree that making shoes as a beginner is a major challenge. When I was making shoes I had the advantage of being able to vacuum form some clear uppers onto the lasts for customer fitting purposes. This had the advantage of showing tight areas as the skin would show white where ever it was tight and made corrections a lot more of a precise exercise. Even with all of this marvellous stuff there were times where getting everything right was difficult.

Regards Brian 

DSC05051_resize.JPG

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are you suggesting to start with the cemented construction?... i was really hoping to do goodyear welted, and i believe this is very difficult without a proper awl.. Just really looking to make my own shoes - not selling them so not thinking too much about the elaborate tools - just the very basic ones to get started at least..

I was looking online for some tools, like the lasting pliers you showed, a french hammer, and a good curved awl. a problem i'm currently having is with the shipment - fees, and often, the Customs we have in our country takes too much heat on imported items - which delays everything from a month to a couple months. I can see how this will significantly delay this project and maybe my responses.

I did find a third party Shipping service that will take care of the Customs trouble for me, but they only ship items from US, not from China. So I ordered a book by Laszlo Vass about the subject from Amazon. 

 

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Yes I believe to start with you would be best to start with a cemented construction as it will give you more freedom to adjust the fit if required and there is a very high chance it will. Once you get the hang of how to close the upper onto the last you could progress on from there if you want.I am not sure if you have seen this man's video's yet but I would recommend having a look at this one at least.

Regards Brian

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Thanks a lot Brian, I thought about purchasing the tools, but it'll cost me more than three times the price of each due to shipping fees, and too much time to wait.. i tried creating my own versions... These are from the local hardware shop which cost me not even 1/4th the price of the shoemaking tools.. Since i can weld metal, i joined two different pieces to come up with a lasting pliers. Not really the best welding job, but it should be functional. The bottom of the hammer head on the lasting pliers will be covered by a coin. 

DSC_2714.thumb.JPG.7d9aadff564110fb5f06322a8fc01198.JPG

 

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I considered picking this up as well- in place of a french hammer.. I can modify this to suit the purpose.. I'm open for suggestions.

 

 

DSC_2718.JPG

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Well done. I think the pliers may be alright as the hammer part is mostly used to get the right leverage but the length of handle may give you more leverage than you want.Also I am not sure if the grip tip is not a bit too close to your hammer part. A longer tip shape would be better. I would smooth of the teeth a little and consider cutting handles back shorter to perhaps 20cm long.(50mm shorter) as I read somewhere you don't have a sewing machine and an over pull on your upper could be very upsetting. The hammer should be OK I think. Funny enough the main tool in the shoe making process of importance to me is the lasting pliers. Keep in mind that I had (and still have) a lot of special machinery for making shoes and I may not have all the best answers on how to do by hand everything.Would it be possible to post a picture of the type of shoe design you are wanting to make? Regards Brian

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the handle on the pliers are about 18cm long. it had some Rubber grips, that i put back in after the construction. I will sand off a bit the teeth on the plier head so those aren't too sharp.

Since its going to be a cemented construction, i wouldn't want to wear this very often... hmmm

some casual suede - 

https://www.google.com.ph/search?q=whole+cut+brown+suede+derby+shoes&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjE6ZCa9rrUAhWImZQKHaIlBL8Q_AUICigB&biw=1350&bih=572#imgrc=ktQgcgL8rLwd5M:

 

not sure if there's some level of difficulty depending on the design.

 

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