|My leatherworking kit has been taken over by shoemaking. (Giant robot panda bear is optional equipment. Coffee is not.)|
In the course of my research, I have assembled a short (and woefully incomplete) glossary in my notebooks of just the terms that pertain to what I plan to do. For an exhaustive list of shoemaking terms, I recommend this excellent one compiled by Marc Carlson: Glossary of Footwear Terminology.
For us, the following shall suffice:
Awl: For shoemakers, this is a dedicated metal bodkin with a handle, designed to poke holes in leather. They are very fine and very sharp and shaped specific to a task. Not to be confused with woodworking "scratch" awls or bookbinding awls, which are not suitable for most shoemaking tasks.
The wrong tools: From the top, A large scratch awl, a small scratch awl, and a
bookbinding awl. These are not appropriate tools for sewing leather and will
do more harm than good.
Channel: A groove cut in the leather to protect a row of stitches that are laid at the bottom of the groove.
Clicking: Cutting out a pattern.
Clogs: Not just for Dutchmen any more. They never were, really; wooden shoes
showed up anywhere there was mud or the potential for stuff falling on your toes.
Clog: A wooden-soled shoe with a leather upper, commonly worn as work boots are now, also worn over a lighter shoe as a type of patten. In particularly muddy or dangerous places, they could be made entirely out of wood with a carved-out inside for the foot.
Closing: A general term for sewing the leather pieces of the shoe together, usually edge-to-edge (a butted seam)
Closing Block: A half-round piece of wood used as a sort of sewing anvil, used to maintain the tension of leather that will be sewn on a curve. Usually held strapped to the showmaker's knee with a leather strap while sewing.
Cobbler: A shoe repairer, forbidden by English law from working with new leather, enforced by the guilds. (Do not call a shoemaker a cobbler.)
Cordwainer: A shoemaker, derived from 'Cordovan/Cordoban' leather, a specific durable leather named after a city in Spain from whence it was exported. Commonly a deep reddish color and used today to describe that color.
Counter: A reinforcing layer of leather sewn inside the shoe as a stiffener to prevent additional stretching or wear in a zone that would prone to that, such as the heel or instep.
Cowmouth: A broad-toed shoe that was common in the early-Tudor period (peaked during the reign of Henry VIII) commonly thought to have been brought to England, as so many early fashions were, from Germany.
Flesh-side: the side of the leather that was facing the animal.
Foot: A place to keep your shoes. A thing that usually hurts at the end of the day, often an indicator that your shoemaker doesn't know what he's doing.
Gouge/Plow: A tool used to cut away a broad channel of leather, sort of a combination of a skivving knife, a chisel, and a shovel.
Grain-side: The side of the leather that was facing the world when it was still attached to the critter that made it.
Tools for dealing with tacks: (from the back, left) Two english style shoemaker's
hammers, a French shoemaker's hammer, a tack hammer made by a local
blacksmith, pincers, and a tack-puller.
Heel: Made of wood or stacked leather, shoe heels did not commonly appear until the very end of the Tudor era. It's believed that the advent of heeled designs was the complcating factor that lead to the abandonment of right/left (see: Crooked lasts) designs.
Sewing: From the top, anti-clockwise: Sticky wax for binding thread to bristle,
beeswax, long-fiber hemp thread.
Last: The foot-surrogate over which the shoe is formed.
Lasting: Stretching the leather over the wooden (usually) last and nailing it in place. Commonly divided (at least for our purposes) into crooked or straight lasts. Crooked lasts have a defined instep, dictating the right/life nature of the final shoe. A straight lasted shoe can be worn on either foot, but requires months of tortuous breaking in.
Latchet: A strap that holds the shoe in place, commonly with a button or tie. Latchets are the defining characteristic of a shoe by the same name, that became more common in the later Tudor period.
Mule: A backless slip-on shoe, worn in our period by all genders, but still common today in the women's section of the shoe store.
|From the top: a gouge, a paring knife, an edger, a plow/plough, another paring knife. |
Not Shown: Sharpening stones. All tools used in leatherworking should be razor-sharp
Patten: A protective wooden platform strapped to the foot to raise a walker out of the mud or at least to provide traction.
Peg: A wooden stake driven into a heel to bind and stabilize the stacked/laminated leather.
Pinking: Decorative cuts and holes sometimes cut into shoes and clothing in the Tudor period. It survives today as broguing.
Pump: A light turnshoe with a thin sole meant for wearing mostly indoors. Worn by all genders, but survives today in the women's section of the shoe store.
Quarter: The sides of the shoe extending around the back.
My favorite skivving knife was made by sharpening a butter knife I picked up at a
thrift shop. Probably the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Sock: Not a sweatsock you wear on your foot, but a cloth liner sometimes sewn into a shoe which serves a similar purpose.
Sole: The bottom layers of the shoe, usually broken down by layer: insole, midsole, outsole, etcetera.
Stirrup: A leather strap that goes under the shoemaker's foot and up over the knee to hold secure a shoe and/or closing block while working with it.
Many skivving tools of modern design: From the back: A round knife, a 'potato
peeler' skivving 'knife', and a modern razor skivving tool. The benefit of the
top two is you can change blades if they get dull.
Turning: When a shoe is sewn inside out so that the seaming is all on the inside and thus protected from wear.
Vamp: The part of the shoe that covers the toe, upper foot, and extends around the instep to meet the quarters on either side.
Welt: A strip of leather used to join the upper to the sole of the shoe.
Read whatever you want, but did I mention that coffee is not optional?
Coffee: In order to make shoes, the shoemaker must be awake and preferably alert. The Elizabethan tradesman was woefully deficient in caffeine, but he had pretty much all the beer he cared to drink, so alertness while working might be my biggest anachronism.
|Why do fools fall in love?|
An Engineer: Actually, a mate who finds your tomfoolery charming rather than annoying, who is willing to put up with odd tools and odd looks from TSA agents. They don't have to be an engineer, but it helps. It's high time I acknowledge that this silliness would not be possibly without my lovely, talented, and above all patient mate, Kristin.