Once most people put on their shoes in the morning, not much more thought is put into what will adorn their feet for hours on end. In fact, many people just admire their footwear when it is new. The first sign of aging or damage usually spells the death of the shoe these days. Do you dispose of your shoes when they get dented or the sole loosens? Think about it for a minute, is that designer shoe which you wear not worth a second chance at life? Men’s shoes, the good type, can withstand up to seven sole changes, while women’s shoes, generally made of lighter material can be soled again for about five times.
A lot goes into making the shoes we use to protect our legs and feet from the elements. If the shoe you wear isn’t made in an assembly line, a cobbler took their time to craft it into the work of art it is. Shoes have evolved from simple pieces of hide wrapped around the feet and wrapped with a string, to complex designs. Some shoes have computers integrated into the sole, to monitor the athletic performance of the user. Here are some of the tools a shoe maker or a shoe mender uses to give or restore life to the vital part of our everyday outfits.
Leather Cutting Scissors
Leather is still a favorite material for making shoes even millennia after the first hides were used to cover legs. The scissors used to cut the leather, also referred to as leather shears, are made from different metals ranging from wrought iron to stainless steel. The scissors must be kept sharp enough to effortlessly cut through leather. Some cobblers use blades and knives for cutting the leather. One advantage leather scissors have over blades and knives is that they are serrated to prevent the leather from slipping through.
These are those foot like stands, which the shoe maker uses to give the shoe some shape. In years past, they were made of curved wood, which would test a carpenter’s skill and patience as they curved oak or maple wood. Today, the wood has been replaced with hard plastic, and even metal in some instances. The last guides the shoe maker as he cuts the leather and shapes it before placing it on the soles.
A stitching awl is like a metal shaft. The cobbler uses the stitching awl to pass the sting through the upper material and the shoe sole. The awl’s needles can be changed depending on the purpose, and can be used on various materials ranging from leather to canvas. This stitching is very important, as the quality of handiwork is going to determine the lifespan of the shoe.
These can be used to nail the sole and top together or beat leather into shape. The hammers come in various shapes and sizes, and most are smaller than those uses in construction.
Other tools that might be used by cobblers include sewing and cutting machines for leather and sanding machines that give the finished shoe and industrial quality shine.