The "Country Pursuits
Boot" is made of dressed calf leather no more than 1.5 mm
The making of the boot begins
with cutting out the pieces from the calf hide; the hide must not
measure more than 20 square feet (1 foot = 28 cm.)
The pieces for both the front and back upper are cut.
The next step consists of the technique of "preforming",
which means using the pattern to give the cut pieces the shape of
the preforming boards. This
is done using preforming tongs, a goat's foot and 2 cm fine nails,
dipping the leather in a bucket of hot water, at 50ºC.
When the leather becomes soft and formable it will be nailed
to the boards and will be left to dry long enough for the piece to
take on the preformed shape.
Once the leather has dried the pieces will be cut to
the final measurements, corresponding to the size the boots are
going to be. When this
has been done with the front and back pieces the next step will be
to trim the shoeupper. This
consists of putting in the linings and sewing on the piping, which
will always be of goat skin, and stitching on the leather strips and
the lining of the heel reinforcement.
This process is laborious, and constitutes a trade in itself
– that practised in the "Shoeupper Workshop".
From this point onwards begins
the job of the shoemaker proper: once the shoeupper has been
prepared, the boots will have to be set on the lasts, which are just
wooden forms in the shape of a wooden foot.
On these the inner soles and heel reinforcements will have
previously been set. The
latter will be of outsole leather, which is a special leather 5 mm
It's now time for the "Welting"
technique, which consists of stitching together the shoeupper,
the inner sole and the welt with hemp cord previously smeared with
pitch and virgin wax, using a curved awl and two needles, also
curved. It's a rather
difficult procedure to perform; so much so that it takes a real
expert to do it. At FOOTWEAR
CRAFTSMANSHIP we've been doing it like this since
1830, handing down from father to son the tradition of the best
and most secure stitching that exists in craftsman shoemaking.
Next the "Awling"
technique will be employed. This
consists of putting the leather outsole – 5 mm thick – onto the
ready welted boots. A
slit 1 cm. wide and 2 mm. deep is opened around the outsole.
In this slit stitching will be done with pitch-impregnated
hemp cord to ensure that the needle holes are watertight.
This process is performed with an awl and two straight
needles. Once the
stitching has been done the slit will be sealed up.
Later on the heels will be built up heel plate by heel
plate, using the same outsole leather, to a height of 3 cm.
The last process will be burnishing, to bring out the natural
sheen and beauty of the leather, after which the boots will be ready
to be handed over to the customer.
We've been making FOOTWEAR
CRAFTSMANSHIP'S "Country Pursuits Boots"
with scrupulous observance of the techniques inherited from our
ancestors, although we also follow the fashions and tastes of the
moment. As one can see
from this, our workshop, as it has always done, embraces the changes
which time brings with it.