Mitchell O'Sionnach

How to go about making Shoes? Any Ideas?

9 posts in this topic

As the economy's cold fingers slowly choke me purse, I have found rather quickly that the more I make of me kit the better. However, shoes be me problem... I have not the foggiest of ideas how to cobble, and less of an idea of where Ye might get ahold of a pattern for some period buckle shoes. I was intending to call Williamsburg's cobbler tomorrow but I thought I'd open the floor up to you lot first.

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There is a thread here somewhere on how to convert a pair of regular shoes into passable GAOP shoes. I think if you look under the PIP index there is a listing of all the clothing threads and it should be there.

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There's a little info in this one -

The link in Silkie's post goes to another webpage that shows some decent homemade shoes too.

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one of our folks talked to the williamsburg folks about shoes. IFFF they make them for you, its around $600.00 and they will start this winter when they are slow. On the plus side, prentise store in C.W. carries fugawees and buckles, so you can fit them in the store. It's on Duke of Gloucester Street close to the historic capitol. Will run around $125 or so.

On the cheap side, you can find some good one piece dress shoes at good will or thrift store. with a bit of creative stitching you can hide them in plain sight. one of my favorite and most comfortable pair is a four dollar pair of rockports i turned into latchetts.

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In one of the Foxfire books (check at your local Library) there is a chapter on making shoes. The problem is that the soles are pegged on... And you would have to figure out /modify you pattern to add latchets (the ones shown are closer to American Civil War) But it does give you a good idea on how to start.

There was a web-page (by a SCAdain I think) on “turn shoes” … but the guy showed step by step instruction when he made a pair of Colonial Shoes... (I did a quick search and couldn't find it)... maybe searching for the shoe pattern from Sketchbook 76 may work better (there is a pattern in sketchbook, but no instructions...)

Not much help.... but it's a start. 8)

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Having contemplated making shoes at a few different times.... The tools and materials one would need would be more expensive than actually buying a $125+ pair of shoes already made. Over time, I have collected up most of those tools.... and I have made more than a few pairs of earlier period (medieval) turn shoes, but I have still not taking the full plunge into making proper late 17th early 18th period shoes. The main reason is it can not be done without the proper shape "lasts".... Which are not easy to buy, and would require more tools to make, plus developing the specific woodworking skills to make "lasts".

As you can see, making shoes is a very deep rabbit hole. If you already have the leather working skills (from making belts, strapwork, bags, pouches etc.), then you are only at the beginning point of where you might want to consider making shoes. Then you have to find/buy or make the wooden shoe lasts (although one can find more modern hard plastic lasts, but usually not in the correct shape for period shoes)...

A friend of mine came across a collection of shoe lasts within the last year, some of them are the correct shape (or close enough) for pirate era shoes... This friend has been most generous in offering to allow me to use some of the lasts to try and make shoes, but I am hesitant.... and I have been a pretty regular leather worker for about 7 or 8 years now.

But I think the below link is the web site Patrick Hand was looking for. I learned to make medieval turn shoes from this site (and some tutoring from more experienced leather workers)... He also has a couple of articles about later period shoes, which is where I started to learn the processes for making shoes appropriate for pirate era... But I know I need other resources to help me actually get it done.

http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/shoe/SHOEHOME.HTM

The advice for using thrift store shoes recut to mimic the shape and style of period shoes is the best advice anyone can give you for cheap period shoes... Because let me tell you, unless you already have most of the tools and skills, making shoes is a very expensive road to travel down.

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I have found a bunch of Mary Rose-style shoes, generally around $75, and you know what? I think they would work. The wreck of the Belle had at lease one open-sided shoe without the large tongues we associate with the period. If you were doing an early GAoP sailor's impression, I think they would be just fine.

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Thank you for all the advice! I may have some more information t share with ye in a few months, to return the favors. Thank you all very much.

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