Shoemaking step by step
Handmade shoes can take more than 200 steps. Follow this to create a Finnish boot with virtual objects and audio or text. You can test your own shoemaking skills through the virtual game at the shoemaker’s hut in the Old Kuopio Museum!
Shoe making starts by measuring the foot. This tape-measure has centimeters on one side and shoe sizes on the other. Shoe sizes are measured up to 90. In the shoemaker’s tape, 1 graduation corresponds to 7.5 mm. This results in a directly measured shoe size.
Next the patterns. Using the patterns, cut the shoe uppers on the leather-cutting board. Since leather is a commodity, all parts must be used as precisely as possible. The shoemaker should also know the stretch direction of the leather and the direction of the cut. The substance of the leather also varies at different points and should be taken into consideration when cutting! Traditionally, Finnish boots were sewn with waxed thread and boar bristle with the aid of a stitching awl. In sewing, shoemakers used a sewing stand which was called Jesus or loon.
Before sewing, the top edge of the shaft has to be thinned and edged. Insert eyelets on the shaft for shoelaces to go through. For example, the number of eyelets required for shoe sizes 43-44 is 9. The shaft and the upper must be sewn together. Now you should also know which part to wet before sewing, the upper or the shaft. Sewing is still possible with a sewing stand, but for the rest of the components, a shoe last is needed.
When the shaft and the upper are sewn together, the shaft is finished and turned right side up. Next is sewing the flanks, i.e. the sides of the shoe and the upper. The flanks are wetted and mounted on the shoe last before sewing. The tools required for mounting a shoe on a shoe last are familiar to even many at home, which are needed in the next stage of work!
As the next step, the inner sole, also known as the insole, is nailed to the shoe last. The sewed Finnish boot is put back into the shoe last and the toe, and the insole is at first sewed closed. Now let’s define the correct hang, i.e. the degree to which the shoe is slightly backward. After defining the pendant, we cover! That is, the shoe parts are notched and nailed to the shoes last with metal nails. Once the covering has been completed, an attachment is made with wooden nails, while the metal nails are removed.
Next, we will do the outsole of the shoe! First, the sole is filled with pieces of leather and the sole posture is supported by either hard sole or loop steel. After-that we put felted leather and the rant, which is also called the wreath. After this, the basic bottom of the shoe is fixed using wooden nails. The leather patches are placed on the heel of the shoe and attached with a rubber heel or a more traditional leather heel. Nearly ready! And now, the finishing touches!
The shoe is finished by sanding the edges of the sole first with rasp and then sandpaper. Thereafter, the edges are further polished with the shoemaker’s mitt by wetting and stroking. Stroking means polishing it until it’s lustrous. Finally, the leather can be imprinted with patterns according to one’s own imagination.
Lastly, the shoe is removed from the shoe last! This is not always easy. A shoe last hook is used for the removal of the shoe last from inside the finished shoe. And now, the shoelaces are still missing. The shoemaker cuts the leather in a circular piece with the help of a compass, a stitching awl and a shoemaker’s knife. Finally, the shoe size is also stamped to the bottom of the shoe. You can also take a look at the slideshow of the different stages of the shoemaking process from another station.