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Homemade Sandals

 
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Hi all,

I made these sandals and was hoping to get some feedback They are made from a veg tan leather upper and mid-sole, and a thin rubber sole. The main strap is one continuous piece of veg tan leather, and it buckles up at the back. They were sewn together using linen thread with no glue used, my idea being that once the stitching is no longer any good, they can easily be resewn and thus maintained for a long time.

Now, if you look at the second photo, the area around the heel has already worn through the stitching on the underside. However, I have read that if you use "saddle stitch" to sew things, the stitch can continue to hold despite this.

So, this is my first effort towards having footwear that I can make and repair myself.  To avoid the problem of stitching being abraded, I could use a thicker piece of rubber for the sole, so the stitching could go through the edge of the rubber and thus never contact the ground. I'll see if I can find some for a reasonable price
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pollinator
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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They look AWESOME!

I don't know the name of the tool, but I have seen leathersmiths cut a groove in the leather or rubber so the stitches are flush or even recessed.  That would help, if there is enough thickness to make it work.
 
Russell Cook
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Hi R Scott,

Thanks for the feedback!

Yes, I think that's called a groover, or something like that. The rubber on the bottom is 2.8mm thick, so taking off around 1mm should be feasible. I would also have to upgrade my stitching skills to make sure I hit the groove
 
gardener & hugelmaster
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Location: mountains of Tennessee
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Nice sandals!

The tool is called a stitch groover. I would suggest using an awl & saddle stitching too.
 
Russell Cook
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Thanks, Mike. I'll see if they have any next time I pop to the leather shop.

I used a diamond awl and lots of beeswax and used saddle stitch. Actually, it's the only stitch I know
 
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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I've been making and wearing my own sandals for over 30 years.  My default design is rubber tire soles (use non-steel belted tires....these can be hard to find....racing tires and spare tire "doughnuts", for instance) and straps made of seat belts.  These are much more durable than leather.  The straps are sewn to each other, but they are nailed into the sole with small nails and the points crimped back up into the rubber...more durable than sewing through the sole.  I then add a leather inner sole over the top, so that the ends of the straps are covered and cushioned, and it keeps black rubber residue off of my feet.  This leather inner sole is the part that needs replacement the most...every few months.  Straps need work every year or two...especially the one that I have between my big toe and the rest.  Adding a heel piece to the sole takes the bulk of the wear on the soles....these will last five years at least!
 
Russell Cook
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Hi Alder Burns,

Could you give me more info about the kind of nails you use e.g. size/material? And do you use an anvil?

I'd love to give that method a try, I think clinching nails were used by the Romans for sandals and I love adopting historical techniques.
 
pollinator
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A drill press with a tiny bit makes a great awl. Super quick.
Move the work piece with one hand and raise/lower the drill with the other hand
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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@ russell Any small nails will do provided they have flat heads....i.e. not finishing nails, since you want them to grab hold of the upper layers and hold them to the sole.  If they are really long, I snip off the tips with some wire clippers, and bend the end over with pliers, and then bang them a couple of times from the top with metal underneath to clinch them good.  I used to even attach the straps this way, but then found that heavy staple-gun staples, such as might be used in a flooring nail gun, work even better.
 
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