A real treat from the Sifting the Past blog. It is worth checking out if you are interested in researching the past through images of the period just prior to mass industrialization. The Townsend’s have a couple excellent websites including an interesting 18th century cooking blog with videos. There is so much in this painting that describes the time and the craft of the cordwainer. There is a palm awl and lasting pinchers in the lower right, the ever critical strap for holding the shoe while sewing, the sewer’s palm for pulling tight the lock stitch, as well as the hammer, mallet, and knife of the trade. He is holding the sole awl in his left hand. The basket on the work bench contains a great bone tool made from a metapodial bone as so often found prior to the 20th century when craftsmen made their own tools. I want my shop to look this great sometime soon.
My daughter finally dove in and made her first pair of shoes, primarily from the instructions given by Mr Morris of Seamlyne Design. I think it’s a fine tutorial for the uninitiated but would like to see a few photos along the way. Anyway, they came out excellently and fit rather well. Just FYI, they take about 10 square feet of leather as shown here. Neither of us felt up to documenting the whole process but here are the basics.
For durability, we added a rubber outsole of Soleflex (18 Iron). If you’re looking for a straight-forward tutorial on boot building, Mr Morris’ site is an excellent source. Maybe I’ll make a pair later this summer and try to photo-document the process.