Friday, May 31, 2013

New Courses, Course Dates For 2014 And A Vintage Video

Welcome back shoe friends, both old and new. The reach we have around the world never ceases to amaze me. This week we have had a little spike on page views from the DRC! Fantastic. Makes me wonder how making shoes in the Tropics would be and what problems it would throw up. We would definitely have to adjust our thread wax recipe.
This reminds me that one thing we did do in Spain was to use canvas vamp linings to make the shoes less hot. Perhaps we would have to do that at least.

Anyway, on to other things. Our intensive shoemaking courses have proved very popular and, rather than turning people away, we have decided to run two extra two week classes during the year, giving more people the chance to learn this ancient and venerable trade

So, starting in October this year (from Monday 7th until Saturday 19th) we have an Autumn course. We are booking for this course now.

All of our intensive shoemaking courses run from Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am until 5.30pm, making a total of 96 hours in the classroom. In this time you will make a pair of hand stitched shoes from a pair of lasts,uppers and oak bark hide which we supply. You get to keep the shoes and a basic tool kit.
This is your chance to learn all of the skills described in this blog, from hand lasting to welting and sole stitching to building heels. All done by hand in the traditional way.

There is a maximum of 7 students on the courses to ensure you get plenty of 1:1 teaching.
Email us for a course outline and booking form

Moving on to 2014, this is our programme of intensive course dates in LONDON.

January 6th to 18th

August 4th to 16th

August 18th to 30th

October 6th to 18th

We will also continue our intensive shoemaking course in BROOKLYN, NY on the following dates

May 5th to 17th

If you live in or near to London, you can also sign up for our weekly shoemaking course on a Monday night. Running from 6pm till 9pm, we give three ten week terms throughout the year. The course outline is the same for intensive courses and the aim is to make a pair of handsewn shoes for yourself.

We are now taking bookings for the October term. The cost is £475 per term.

This week a student of ours sent us the link for an amazing video of Peal & Co which made bespoke shoes in London from 1791 until 1965. A family run business, they had a fantastic reputation for quality shoes and had shops in the West End and a factory in Acton. This is a compilation of family Super 8 films with a raucous intermittent soundtrack from a family screening - typical shoe folk, enjoying a drink!

It is long but has some very interesting footage of all sorts of steps in the shoemaking process.

Hope you enjoy it

That's it for this week. Until the next time, happy shoemaking!

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Boots

Welcome once more, gentle shoe folk of the world. Another week passes and it's been a bit of a tough one. Jet lag has been sending me a bit loopy on and off all week. Going west it seems to be ok, but heading back east is much harder. Poor, overworked shoemakers!

Despite being very busy this week, we have not had any making which has been out of the ordinary or particularly worthy of comment. So, we are going to show you a pair of boots which we think are particularly lovely.

A classic carr├ęducker design, the Saddle Boot. The original looked like this.

Rather lovely and rather popular with its combination of black calf and antiqued chestnut calf. This one had  30s inspired facings, with a curve like spats which, while beautiful, had slight gaping issues when worn.

So the next incarnation had more V shaped facings and more substantial stay stitches. And were monotone. Still lovely, of course

And so to their latest (and greatest incarnation)

Same basic style but, two tone leather - Madeira blue with rich tan calf skins, but with the addition of the very striking sky blue glace kid lining. All in a very sleek, contemporary looking classic boot. We love them. And so, thankfully, does the customer.

And the blue laces are the finishing touch.


Until next week, happy shoemaking!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

New York Intensive Shoemaking Course - Final Day

Ok, people, another carreducker intensive shoemaking class comes to and end. Our New York trips are always fun and I know that Deborah would join me in saying a massive well done to all our students. Thy have been a lovely group and a lot of fun. The standard of work has also been excellent. I really think that the quality gets better every year and I think it is something to do with the surge in interest in our venerable craft.

So, with that in mind, here are the happy crew with their equally happy teacher. Congratulations guys!

The Shoes - Gorgeous Huh?
Add caption
Finishing In Progress
Burnishing The Sole
Inking The Soles, Heels And Edges
Sanding The Top Piece
Shining The Sole
And that, dear readers, is a wrap. Until next year of course. And until next week, happy shoemaking! PS Apologies for the images which were uploaded from my ipad and don't seem to be entirely compatible with Blogger on a computer. I am a shoemaker, not an IT person!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New York Intensive Shoemaking Course - Day 9

Yesterday we broke the back of stitching the soles and a couple of students finished it at home, so we started day 9 building heels. 

First off was the split lift or rand, a thin piece of heel leather attached in a horse shoe shape around the heel.

Then came the lifts which are attached one by one with nails and paste. Each time the heel is skived flat, trimmed and peened with the French shape hammer. This closes up any gaps in the lifts.

Here are a few pics of today's proceedings.

We will continue with the heels tomorrow and hopefully finish them.

Until next time, happy shoemaking

Monday, May 13, 2013

New York Intensive Shoemaking Course - Week 2, Day 7

So, week two starts with a new teacher and our students rested and relaxed after their one day off in 12. Lets hope they all had an easy, stress free day.

Deborah left yesterday and I am here and raring to go.

Today saw the start of stitching on the soles. After gluing them on, trimming them to the welt and making three cord threads, they cut the dreaded channel, a flap of leather which hides the stitches on the underside of the sole. There are different ways to do this but we use the English way (the best, obviously) which involves cutting it right on the edge off the sole. Much cleaner and more invisible in my opinion. After this, they selected their chosen fudge wheel to mark the stitches and got under way. 

Stitching The Sole
Stitching The Sole 2

After one broken awl, the lesson of not twisting, wriggling or bending a square awl was well and truly learnt. No more breakages we hope!

Tomorrow will see us continuing with the soles. Good luck to all of them.
Untimely the next time, happy shoemaking.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

New York intensive course - week 1 final day

This week has flown! The pace of the first few days has settled down and anyone feeling a little too confident has had that knocked out of them by welting.  It has helped to level the playing field!

Collateral damage - a broken knife, two broken awls...

Scuffed knuckles

worn out fingers...

and blisters galore!

Everyone is pretending not to be competitive but it would not be human nature if there wasn't a little jockeying for position. Von and Kevin who fought with their  knives earlier on seem better suited to the awl; Celia and Wylie had thread troubles initially so slowed up and Nima is buoyed by Chelsea's performance so let's hope they play well next week!!!

The Ferguson dance of joy!

Anyway, James arrived yesterday for some holiday time with his brother and family and will take over class on Monday. The students get a well-deserved day of rest (and icing sore hands) on Sunday.

And I'm back with our evening class on Monday night. I must remember that it's not an intensive course and relax the pace :)

A massive thank you to Jesse as always for hosting us and to our other shoemaking buddy out here, Marika.

More news from the Big Apple next week but until then a few final snapshots of New York

Thursday, May 9, 2013

 Ladies and gentlemen, half way through week one of the New York shoemaking course and we have something that looks like shoes!!!

After a flying start the pace has settled down and we are where we should be at this point. Toe puffs and toes to be lasted.

(Chelsea's draw in the football yesterday hopefully won't put Nima off his stride).

Let the welting begin!

Monday, May 6, 2013

New York Course - day 1

New York got off to a flying start with a fun group of five students from Montreal, Texas, San  Francisco, Vancouver and NY.

After a few false starts with too small aprons, broken knives and wounded hands... it's been a great first day.

(This was the less than auspicious start to the day...coining the term "it's been Kevined"!)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Tabs On The Upper

Another week, another welt, so to speak. Our New York intensive shoemaking course starts on Monday. We shipped all the materials last week and they are waiting  for us in Willliamsberg. Deborah is flying out tomorrow to set up and get some last minute supplies. I fly out a week today to spend the weekend with my brother and his wife who live in Maine and are driving down to see me. Should be fun. I like my week in New York. Look out for regular posts about the student's progress.

We recently finished a pair of boots for a customer which we particularly like. Our classic Saddle Boot design but done in Madeira blue calf with tan quarters. Really like the sky blue kid lining. Originally we were going to have a patina painted by our Parisian colleague Paulus Bolten, but the customer decided against it at the last minute. Either way the boots would  look amazing, but I can see how, like this, they look is crisp, modern and sleek. I want a pair!

And so to shoemaking. Last week we looked at baggy top edges and this week we are following in a similar vein. If you do your own closing, it is always a great idea to leave tabs of the lining on the top  edge so that you can nail  them to the last to get a nice tight top edge. It s very straightforward and, after the lasts have been pulled, you cut off the tabs with a sharp knife.

The shoes should look like this.

You can do it in a continuous piece like this, or you you can just leave a few sections in the right place. Either way, it really helps to  get the quarters tight against the last while the stiffeners are drying.

And that is it for this week. We hope you have a good week and can put some of our tips into practice.

By the way, we welcome your comments and suggestions, so please feel free to contact us.

Until next week, happy shoemaking!