March 6th, 2014
I promise to write this up into an official lesson, but there is simply so much to tell that it’s a bit daunting for me! I will get it written up at some point. I learned an incredible amount on these shoes, and although I do plan to make another pair at some point soon, I think that these are of sufficient quality to present here. In truth, they knock the socks off of my Lesson 5, and I’m far more pleased with them. The upper leather is black waxed calf from Dickens Brothers, one of the oldest leather merchants in the UK. Further, it is precisely what the shoemakers in Colonial Williamsburg use. The insole, rand, and outsole leather is from Joh. Rendenbach. Both leathers were an absolute pleasure to work with.
The buckles themselves are actual antique 18th century silver buckles. These buckles are neat in that they are “clasp” buckles, where a small button is pressed and the actual strap attachment hinges out of the buckle proper. Then, once the shoe is buckled, the silver portion is clicked back in to place. Quite neat!
February 12th, 2014
I’ve been hard at work on a pair of 1780s shoes – I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you, but I thought that you deserved a teaser pic at least! I’m modeling these on an old sample shoe that I was incredibly fortunate to get from one of the shoemakers at Colonial Williamsburg. These teaser pictures shoe the inside and outside strap closing stitches, at a modest 10 stitches per inch, just about what the sample shoe was measured at. This has been, by far, the most challenging piece for me to date, and I’ve learned an incredible amount over the past couple of weeks. As always, you also learn exactly how far you have yet to go, but if one never starts the process, one never improves. I look forward to writing up the actual lessons!
January 16th, 2014
Hi all – this is the first pair that I’ve made using the zig-zag punch of awesome from Brian Brown Armory. I absolutely love the look. It’s very similar to the extant pieces shown there, and are the model for Lesson 9. Note that in so many things, clothing, shoes, arts, etc., smaller is actually more correct. So much of the detail, the pinking, the small notches, the decoration, and the like was done small to show off the artistry of the craftsperson. As re-enactors, there is a tendency to make things larger and more visible, but my experience has taught me that less really is more.
January 6th, 2014
Hello to all, and happy new year! I hope that the holiday season treated you well. I do not typically make new year’s resolutions, but in my case, I will endeavor to be better about posting twice a month – I’ve actually been quite busy and have had a few commissions completed, but most are similar to what you have seen before. The below is no exception, although I particularly like the cross decoration on the vamp.
A couple of new things to look forward to in the coming months – I’ll be deconstruction a reproduction shoe made by one of the shoemakers at Williamsburg. Then, I’ll reproduce it based on that technique and instructions from Garsault, so that will hopefully be illuminating! I also have a commission for a new pair of pantofles which will be interesting and fun to make. Looking forward to 2014!