Friday, September 23, 2011

Making Shoes: Part 3.1 - The Last

I determined while working on my daughter's felt slippers that I needed a last.  I know of no one locally that is a wood carver, therefore, this was another skill set I was going to reluctantly attempt.  I only say reluctantly, because I feel like I'm starting everything from scratch with next to no available skills and that's a hard road to follow sometimes.  I did take a class a few years ago on carving a wooden spoon, so I do understand the mechanics.  I have also researched wooden lasts and I came up with a few helpful sites.

Medieval Shoes
Medieval Lasts 
Medieval Shoemaking Yahoo Group 

I've determined that, even though I started this particular journey with them, poulaines are not my area of interest right now.  I would prefer to work on mules, pattens, and Landsknecht cow-mouthed (or so I've seen them termed) shoes. Therefore, I've changed my shoe making focus to produce shoes of these types.  It doesn't change the fact that I need a last for each person that needs a shoe.  For now, since my feet have stopped growing, I'm going to make a last for my foot and go from there.  I'll deal with my daughter's last when I feel more confident with making a last in the first place.

I've been given to understand that it's better to work with reasonably soft wood when making a last.  Therefore, I'm going to work slowly through the first site I mentioned (Medieval Shoes) and go from there.  This will likely take me quite some time to accomplish, but with the colder months approaching, hopefully I'll have plenty of time to do it.

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