A mis?tress of the craft mak?ing waxed ends

The mak?ing of waxed ends is, in my opin?ion, the single most import?ant core skill for a shoe?maker after pat?tern?ing. I believe it is more import?ant even than being able to sharpen a knife. This video of Mar?quita Volken’s pro?cess for mak?ing up a waxed end is worth of many repeat watch?ings. Of par?tic?u?lar …

Iron Black Dyes

The easi?est col?ours to dye leath?er in medi?ev?al times were brown and black. Those are by far the most com?mon col?ours for shoes in art?work I have looked at, but I haven’t done a numer?ic ana?lys?is of foot?wear col?our by art and peri?od yet. Leath?er tanned by the medi?ev?al pro?cess in pits of …

Buy This Book No.3: Shoes and Pat?tens

This is anoth?er must-have book for the medi?ev?al reen?act?or and his?tor?ic shoe?maker. Shoes and Pat?tens is the sem?in?al work on medi?ev?al foot?wear in Eng?lish. Pub?lished in the 1980s some of the research has been super?seded by sub?sequent pub?lic?a?tions such as Step?ping Through Time, but it remains an immensely use?ful and access?ible …

Buy This Book No.2: Step?ping Through Time

In my opin?ion this is the most sig?ni?fic?ant Eng?l?ish-lan?guage book on his?tor?ic foot?wear to be pub?lished in the 20th cen?tury. The bulk of the book is by Olaf Goubitz who lit?er?ally inven?ted the sys?tem of record?ing archae?olo?gic?al leath?er and foot?wear used today. Every?one with an interest in his?tor?ic foot?wear and …

Picture of two skiving knives lying on a piece of leather

Skiv?ing Knives

I recently bought a couple of skiv?ing knives from Lisa Sor?rell, and I’ll start this by say?ing this: Run, do not walk, to Lisa’s web?site and buy one. One of each if you can afford it, but the big one if not. If you can’t afford a US$45 knife, that’s Ok, but …

Picture of the book 'Art of The Shoemaker'

Buy This Book No.1: The Art of The Shoe?maker

Any?one inter?ested in mak?ing late peri?od shoes needs a copy of this book. It is Al Saguto’s trans?la?tion of Garsault’s 1767 Art du Cor?don?ni?er includ?ing extens?ive notes. It is THE book on 18th cen?tury shoe?mak?ing and the tech?niques it describes are use?ful back to 16th cen?tury shoe?mak?ing as well. As the page …

Where to get single strand thread

A ques?tion I get asked fairly fre?quently is where to find single-strand thread for mak?ing tapered waxed ends for sew?ing. It’s hard to get really good stuff these days because there isn’t really any?where doing prop?er long-staple lin?en any?more but you can still get work?able stuff. The stuff you want is …

An amaz?ing dis?play of peri?od shoe?mak?ing tools

This is a pho?to?graph from Serge and Mar?quita Volken’s shoe?mak?ing museum which you can read about at http://www.shoemuseum.ch/. I have pos?ted it here with their per?mis?sion after they pos?ted it on their face?book page. They said, about the dis?play: “Our new dis?play: Shoe makers tool boards: from left to right: Neo?lith?ic, Roman, Medi?ev?al, …

Words From a Mas?ter Crafts?man

Ford Hal?lam is an extraordin?ar?ily tal?en?ted met?al smith trained in the Japan?ese tra?di?tion. A short film was made about his work, Utsushi — in Search of Katsushira’s Tiger which I think every?one should watch. I have watched it many many times and I take great joy in it each time. Oppor?tun?it?ies to watch a mas?ter …

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