15th C. Poulaines Redux, with period lasts!

July 20th, 2015

I earlier made a pair of Poulaines on a set of modern lasts, and the results were not bad – in fact, I thought they were rather pretty. Of course, we all know that the fit has to be perfect, otherwise they can be as pretty as they like, and they won’t be suitable. As a result, I decided to carve a last based on historical reproductions. First, the finished results, and I apologize for the fuzzy image.

The lasts that I received were appropriate for a mid 15th century shoe, so my task was to scale the last up to suit a larger foot.
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More Strapped 16th C. Shoes

June 1st, 2015

I’m starting to experiment with making the insole of the shoe smaller than the last itself so as to prevent the welt from sticking out so much. A lot of the 16th C. welted period examples have the upper essentially larger than the treadsole (and insole) so that when the shoe is worn, you don’t actually see very much of the treadsole. In many cases, the treadsoles were truly tiny compared to the actual size of the shoe, and the toe actually overhangs the sole by a goodly amount. In this case, I made the insole about 3/16″ smaller all around than the last. The effect may be hard to see, but it is important for achieving the proper look (but so are the right lasts, and I’ve dragged my feet on those!). I think for the next pair, I’ll need to cut the insole 1/4″ smaller, or more in order to get the kind of profile I’m looking for.

Mid 1500s Welted Shoes

April 16th, 2015

I keep on worrying that, at some point, someone is going to say, “Hey! You made a pair of shoes exactly like that back in 2011!” To that, I would inevitably respond, “No shoes for you!” =)

There are, actually, some differences in this pair. The sole is pasted in and there isn’t a heel stiffener (I’ve found that the stitching itself acts quite well as a stiffener).

Making shoemaker’s coad (redux)

April 12th, 2015

Back in June of 2011, my friend Matt and I worked up a batch of shoemaker’s wax, often called “coad” in the medieval jargon. We started with pine pitch, pine rosin, and a bit of beeswax to make some nice little balls of coad that were perfect for shoemaking. Fast forward to today, and unfortunately, our source for excellent pine pitch has dried up (pun intended). What is commonly available today is pine tar, a similar formulation, but with a great deal more volatiles still embedded, which makes it into a thick, viscous liquid rather than a gummy, solid substance. Below is experimentation to come up with some shoemaker’s wax using what we have available today. As always, if you find a source for solid, but slightly soft, gummy pine pitch, please let us know!

There are two primary sources for pine tar that I’ve used. One is the Auson Kiln-Burned Pine Tar, and the other is “The Real Stuff” pine tar, with sources in the links.
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