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I made these boots!

 
Posts: 98
Location: Kansas
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I have spent over a year trying to learn shoe making from the you tube and what I can figure out from taking old shoes apart.  My family are hard to fit for shoes, I have made several nice pairs of minimalist shoes but two weeks ago I finished these work boots for me.  I prefer a stiff sole when using a shovel.  Ihesr are a size 6 eee and non existant at any shoe store.  All leather and lined with pig skin.  The sole is biltrite and the heel is cat paw.  I used an ad I found in the internet from a 1935 ad in Chicago mail order catalog.
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My boots
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Mine
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Posts: 45
Location: Oklahoma Panhandle
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That's a little bit awesome! Or more!
 
pollinator
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They look great! If you liked making them and you find they hold up, it might be worth seeing if other people will pay to have shoes made. There's a guy in my community who's been making leather sandals for decades and I love mine to death; if he made boots it would be even better. Every village needs a shoemaker right? :)
 
master pollinator
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Wow, that is incredible. Great job, and nice looking boots!
 
pollinator
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Nice work. I grew up in MA and my sister did our family tree. We had many ancestors who's occupation was listed as shoemaker and one family had a business making and selling them. Back in the day, an area SW of Boston made shoes for the whole country. Mostly the city of Brockton and a few surrounding towns.
 
Clifford Gallington
Posts: 98
Location: Kansas
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Meg Mitchell wrote:They look great! If you liked making them and you find they hold up, it might be worth seeing if other people will pay to have shoes made. There's a guy in my community who's been making leather sandals for decades and I love mine to death; if he made boots it would be even better. Every village needs a shoemaker right? :)


It sure would be great to live in that village and be a shoe maker!
 
pollinator
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I would totally buy a pair of those boots. Freight would be the deal killer. Awesome work regardless.
 
pollinator
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Awesome!!

This is one of those skills I've been wanting to learn for myself.  Do you happen to have and suggestions for particularly good YouTube videos or other places to learn how to do such work?
 
Posts: 233
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Those look really sturdy. Better, they look durable. Best, they look comfortable!!! Great job. If you needed a new calling, I think you found it!
 
pollinator
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Many good boots get tossed when some little thing goes wrong , usually having to do with stitching. You obviously won't have that problem with your home made boots.

I'll bet that with the skills you've learned , you could do quite well picking up and repairing five dollar boots at yard sales, that just need a few minutes work. Thrift stores often bundle and sell very cheaply , any boots that require repair.
 
master steward
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My sister in law does leatherwork and makes simple shoes. Almost two years ago, a kickstarter for making your own leather boots was here on permies. I actually supported it to get their earlier video on how to make moccasin-type shoes, and gave it to my sister-in-law, along with a bunch of leather working tools, for Christmas.

Here's the link to the permies thread about it https://permies.com/t/73230/permaculture-leathercraft/fiber-arts/Learn-Boots-kickstarter-ends-hour

And here's the direct link to the kickstarter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/villagevideo/make-your-own-foot-shaped-work-boots-instructional
 
Posts: 26
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Impressive looking boots. It would be great if i had a shoe maker in my community!
 
Posts: 36
Location: La Bretagne
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Those look incredible! And, like another permie said, comfortable! Awesome job!

How much do you think you would have to charge for a pair of boots, if you were interested in starting a business?
 
Posts: 11
Location: Paris, France
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David Huang wrote:Awesome!!

Do you happen to have and suggestions for particularly good YouTube videos or other places to learn how to do such work?


There are excellent videos on YT on shoe making and restauration or rebuilding, not all of them in English. A guy named "Bedos" is repairing and rebuilding leather goods of all kinds, including expensive men's shoes and women's designer bags. Fascinating to watch him work. Very nice fellow in NC.

On ebay UK the seller named "judelawlor" is selling a CD described as follows:


SHOES & BOOTS 18 Old Books on CD Antiquarian Shoe Making Mending Book Collection
Collected together on this unique CD is a fine selection of 18 of the best antiquarian, old and vintage books on the history of footwear and how to make and mend boots and shoes.

These books were originally published between the mid 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century. They cover the history of footwear and how the boot and shoes industry developed and became mechanised in UK, Europe and America and provides information on how to make and mend shoes and boots by hand and much, much more.

The books are written by some of the top industry experts and specialists of their day, including Frank L. West, Thomas Wright, F.Y. Golding, W.C Morgan and many others. Many of the volumes in the collection are illustrated with useful diagrams, drawing and photographs that help explain the text.

The Shoes and Boots Book Collection is a wonderful resource for anyone who wants to find out about the footwear industry and for home or school projects.

Here are the 18 titles and authors of the volumes you will find on the CD.

Book of the Feet. A History of Boots and Shoes. Joseph Sparkes Hall
Boot and Shoe Makers Assistant. A Treatise on Clicking + a History of Feet Costume. c.1853
Boot and Shoe Patterns. Designing, Cutting and Grading. J. Van Ness. 1899.
Boots and Shoes. Henderson & Co catalogue.
Expert Shoe Repairing. Learn at Home. J.M. Levinson, 1919.
The Finishers Manual. 1891.
Foot Care and Shoe Fitting. W.L. Mann and S.A. Folsom. 1920
How to Bottom a Welted Shoe by Hand. F.L. West. 1912.
How to Repair Shoes. F.L. West. 1912.
Kimball's Classified Measurements for Lasts. John Kimball. 1882.
Manufacture of Boots and Shoes. F.Y. Golding. 1902.
Retail Shoe Salesmanship, Training Course. G.F. Hamilton. 1920
The Romance of the Shoe. History of Shoemaking. Thomas Wright. 1922.
Shoe Factory Efficiency. John E. Kirwin. 1910.
Shoe Making Old and New (history of) Fred A. Gannon. 1911.
Shoes and Shoemaking (history of) W.C. Morgan. 1897.
Streeter Bros. Chicago. 1886 Spring Review of Shoes.
The Shoe Industry. Frederick J. Allen.
Each book comes as an Ebook (electronic book) in PDF format and has been professionally scanned from books that are no longer in copyright. These books are printable and are fully searchable so that you can enjoy the 100's of pages of original content on your computer today.    


I have it, it's a great find. The CD will play only in a computer internal CD drive.
I've tried to link to the object but the link I have is from France and doesn't work outside of it.
 
Brigitte Picart
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Those boots are superb! Excellent job! Heartfelt congratulations.
To all who mourn the demise of the village shoemaker business:
Do you by any chance, own any pair of sneakers or any other shoes made of synthetic materials, like Crocs or ....
There you go.
I believe the market for shoes made of natural materials will be reborn soon, including wooden clogs for working in the garden.
One can't be green only down to the ankles. The feet must be green too!
 
Posts: 5
Location: Lawrence, Kansas
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These are beautiful boots. Are you interested in making boots like this for other people?

I also live in Kansas.

Bill
 
gardener
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Phil Stevens wrote:I would totally buy a pair of those boots. Freight would be the deal killer. Awesome work regardless.



Me too! I am gobsmacked!
 
Posts: 39
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That is beautiful work and stellar determination.  Well done.
 
garden master
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I found the Builrite website, but it appears to be wholesale. Can you tell us where you picked up your soles and heels? I for one cannot use fifty pairs!

I would like to try making boots one day.
 
Posts: 9
Location: Dallas, TX
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Awesome boots! I have been trying to make my own shoes for several years but have been stuck on the issue of shoe soles. They usually cost double what it would take to buy a new pair of shoes or boots outright. I can’t afford that. I have decided to make some sandals and mosquito slippers using leather for soles. I have thought about wood but I am not a wood-worker. Cork sounds good but I haven’t located a supplier. We have a new Tandy Leather shop in town and they are great! Any suggestions appreciated.
 
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SKILLS, its what is needed these days!

That is an excellent show of work. (I was going to say feat, but then the pun follows naturally. Restraint.) In this 'order it from China' world, rinse and repeat next year, the idea of value is lost on most. If I can buy a $500 pair of custom made boots that will last me 25 years or more that is value.
 
john mcginnis
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Forest Viridiana wrote:Awesome boots! I have been trying to make my own shoes for several years but have been stuck on the issue of shoe soles. They usually cost double what it would take to buy a new pair of shoes or boots outright. I can’t afford that. I have decided to make some sandals and mosquito slippers using leather for soles. I have thought about wood but I am not a wood-worker. Cork sounds good but I haven’t located a supplier. We have a new Tandy Leather shop in town and they are great! Any suggestions appreciated.



I am going to age myself here, but back in the day (aka '60s) making flip-flops and sandals out of old tires were the absolute rage. You could head to the dump and take a corded bias ply tire for free. (not steel belted radial) You could squeak 3 pairs out of one tire. I knew construction workers who when a pair of boots were worn down would drawknife the sole flat and retread with used tires. Glued them together with epoxy to the old sole.

If you think this might work for you don't head to the dump. I don't know how you would solve the steel thread exposed in the tire. But look up a truck recapper. The thread they put on tire cores generally don't have steel thread in them, that's in the core. As a trial just pull off the road when you see a recap lying dead on the road. Free test piece.  Dunlop on the sole would make a unique trademark.

Mere suggestion.
 
Brigitte Picart
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Forest Viridiana wrote: have been stuck on the issue of shoe soles. They usually cost double what it would take to buy a new pair of shoes or boots outright. I can’t afford that.


You're not very clear on what type of soles cost double a full pair. What kind of shoes do you buy that cost less than a pair of soles?
You can buy leather sole blanks that need to be cut to the exact size and shape of the shoes you're working on. Those are special-treated for soles, and about 4mm thick.
You could ask this nice fellow on Bedo's Leatherworks LLC Youtube channel, he's very willing to help.
 
pollinator
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john mcginnis wrote:

Forest Viridiana wrote:Awesome boots! I have been trying to make my own shoes for several years but have been stuck on the issue of shoe soles. They usually cost double what it would take to buy a new pair of shoes or boots outright. I can’t afford that. I have decided to make some sandals and mosquito slippers using leather for soles. I have thought about wood but I am not a wood-worker. Cork sounds good but I haven’t located a supplier. We have a new Tandy Leather shop in town and they are great! Any suggestions appreciated.



I am going to age myself here, but back in the day (aka '60s) making flip-flops and sandals out of old tires were the absolute rage. You could head to the dump and take a corded bias ply tire for free. (not steel belted radial) You could squeak 3 pairs out of one tire. I knew construction workers who when a pair of boots were worn down would drawknife the sole flat and retread with used tires. Glued them together with epoxy to the old sole.

If you think this might work for you don't head to the dump. I don't know how you would solve the steel thread exposed in the tire. But look up a truck recapper. The thread they put on tire cores generally don't have steel thread in them, that's in the core. As a trial just pull off the road when you see a recap lying dead on the road. Free test piece.  Dunlop on the sole would make a unique trademark.

Mere suggestion.



@John McGinnis - Great idea!  Its good to remember the tips and tricks that were once tried and true, even if they've now been forgotten.  And thanks for following up with all of the essential caveats and practical limitations.  I award an apple for helpfulness and attention to detail  : )

@Forest Viridiana - I bought a pair of handmade high-top moccasins - really more like moccasin boots - once from a vendor at a renaissance fair.  They took a cast of my foot and a couple months later mailed me a customized set of boots.  They were lovely!  Don't remember how much they cost.  I do remember that the insoles were cut from thick sheerling, wool side in contact with your feet, and the soles were made from slabs of used rough-top conveyor belt rubber.  Turns out that this is an excellent material for making shoe soles, both flexible and highly durable.

Unfortunately I don't know the details - exactly what type, how many ply, etc.  They were definitely a single piece of textured rubber, not metal nor segmented in any way.  About a 1/4" thick at most.  I suspect that thicker belt rubber could make a stiffer sole, like the ones the OP prefers for his work boots.  Here are some sources:

http://belting4conveyors.com/used_conveyor_belting.html

https://www.miprcorp.com/used-conveyor-belts-inquiry/?gclid=CjwKCAjwk93rBRBLEiwAcMapUXPTg2d-utxye5fyBDkw7XPCYkx3O-shW7dce36czzfIqnQwZAy9KhoCjUgQAvD_BwE

https://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/used-conveyor-belt-used-conveyor-belting

These were just at the top of the Google results.  I'm sure there are more sources out there.  Good luck with your project!
 
Travis Johnson
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Clifford Gallington wrote:I have spent over a year trying to learn shoe making from the you tube and what I can figure out from taking old shoes apart.  My family are hard to fit for shoes, I have made several nice pairs of minimalist shoes but two weeks ago I finished these work boots for me.  I prefer a stiff sole when using a shovel.  Ihesr are a size 6 eee and non existant at any shoe store.  All leather and lined with pig skin.  The sole is biltrite and the heel is cat paw.  I used an ad I found in the internet from a 1935 ad in Chicago mail order catalog.




I was telling my wife about your rather amazing work, and she was impressed herself.

I then got into trouble.

My wife LOVES shoes. She once belonged to (3) shoe-of-the-month clubs at the same time, and has something like 80 pairs of shoes. Even when we moved into this Tiny House, she kept her shoes, such is her love of them despite the lack of space. But I got into trouble when she said I should make her a pair of custom shoes. She loves high heels, but they can often be uncomfortable, and said that custom ones would more comfortable to wear. I have done some woodworking, but I do not hail from Holland and would not know where to start!

So you got me into trouble Cliff! (Just teasing you)

Again, great jobs on your boots!

Would you be interested in making a pair of high heels...size 8-1/2?
 
Forest Viridiana
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Thanks everyone for the shoe sole suggestions. Lots of ideas to check out now.
 
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Pretty awesome! I, too have wide feet and , since toe surgery, the shape of each foot is slightly different. SOOO hard to fit and feel comfortable. Let us know if you want to go into business!
 
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