Well, seeing as everyone liked checking out the Desert Boots I made, I’ll starting posting up the other 3 pairs of shoes I’ve made so far so you can all see that I’m not just a one-trick-pony.

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These are the first pair that I completed, there were some other prototypes, but these ones are the first official, wearable Steve Phillips shoes. Woo!

The process begins by taping up the last (wrapping it in masking tape) to develop a pattern.
This is then removed, flattened out and used to cut the leather pieces.
Once you’ve done all the tracing and maths involved, you can sew and assemble the ‘upper’ and attach the insole to the lasts.

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There are plenty of variations on the ‘lasting’ technique, but I’m following Tim Skyrme’s book, and therefor I use tacks/nails, lasting pliers, hard work, sweat and eventually glue.

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Once the upper is firmly attached to the insole, the shank is fitted (if you’re adding one) a whole lot of other trimming and tidying goes on, and then the sole is fitted / built.
I’m trying to keep things as traditional as possible for now, so I am hand making my soles and heels, from veg tanned leather. This takes a long time, but is very satisfying when its complete.

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That’s 5 layers of leather all stacked up, nailed and carved to a lovely little cuban-ish heel.

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If you have done your measurements correctly, you can remove the last and begin wearing them.
I said IF…
I did not measure things properly, and decided in my infinite wisdom to lower the ‘throat’ of the shoe – where the opening turns around near your toes – for a nicer look, and found that lower = looser = falls off when Dani walks in them. Sigh.

Not to be discouraged, I added in a tongue and a nice little bow sort of detail and whammo, they fit fine.

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That’s the abridged story of Pair #1. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you hours of info if you’re reeeally interested!

The toe shape, height and fit of my shoes are all similar so far, due to the fact that I only have one complete set of lasts in the same design.
The Harold Boot Company in Abbotsford downsized about a year ago and I spent the afternoon sifting through crates of obsolete lasts with April Phillips (our surnames are a coincidence, no relation as far as I know!) who has what is known as the “Last Library” where she rents out her extensive collection of lasts. Anyhoot, we both managed to find a left and right of each size of their lasts, and they’re what i’m using for now until I get off my ass and buy / rent some more.

Listening to : Dungen – Ta Det Lugnt