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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Mid-Late 16th Strapped and Bound

April 3rd, 2015

Hm, a second look at the subject title kind of makes me want to change it, but nope! Going to leave it as is. =) A fun pair that I bound all the way around the straps to reinforce them. I think the black looks absolutely smashing, and you can just imagine lovely braids or ribbons through the straps. There is a single heel lift pegged on to the bottom. Since I’ve been pasting and pegging lifts, I haven’t had anyone report failures, which seems to me to be a good indication that they’re hanging in there and withstanding the test of time.

Now, I need to get my act together and start making some period lasts…