Made to Order and Bespoke Handmade Shoes

Aurum: Model Cataline: a wholecut seamless oxford

Made of handcoloured calf in antiqued black on the Habu last. This shoe is made of one entire piece of leather with no seams.

Inside an Aurum shoe before attaching the half insole with the client’s name.

Aurum: Model Romulus. An Adelaide model with a particular heel counter.

This shoe was made on one of my very old lasts called “Mayfair”. It is made with hand coloured crust leather.

Aurum: model Quintus with small scale broguing

The first shoe made on my new Aurum “Classic English” last. This black captoe is made with black boxcalf, and like all my shoes, they are handwelted.

The original box calf

The original definition of ‘box calf’ is a chrome tanned hide with a subtle fine creased pattern due to the result of hand currying/boarding the leather. This process was named after Joseph Box, an English shoemaker.

Hand currying and boarding:

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(illustrations from http://www.kingsmerecrafts.com/page08.html)

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(photo from http://chestofbooks.com/reference/Wonder-Book-Of-Knowledge/The-Story-Of-Leather.html)

note that the leathers are all halves, not whole hides: it is easier to work by hand on a half skin.

and an old photograph of various types of patterns and grains on leather:

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(photo from http://www.jarnaginco.com/leather%20definitions%20index.htm )

Today what is commonly refered to as box calf is an chrome tanned, full-grain, aniline-dyed leather, usually in black.  It has lost the tell tale ‘box’ or ‘willow’ grain pattern since it is no longer hand curried/boarded, instead it is mechanised and the leather run through rollers.

One of the last tanneries that still hand curried and boarded leather for footwear uppers was W.E & J. Pebody of Northampton, England (established 1878) which closed 20 years ago.

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(illustrations from http://www.mkheritage.co.uk/odhs/ratcliff/MLRO_1a.html)

When I started out as a bespoke shoemaker, I bought several hides from a store that was closing down.  Recently I have been going through my storage rooms and trying to organise my old stock, and I came across several Pebody box calf skins which display the tell taie grain.

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(not pictured is the black Pebody box calf)

I was of course very happy to rediscover this leather along with several others (which I will later make posts of). These skins were already quite old when I bought them hold up very very well since I bought them 20 years or so ago. The quality of this Pebody leather is wonderful: dense fiber mat and small skins. It is near impossible nowadays to find skins of this size and quality.  I have just finished making a moccasin for a client in a brown box calf, and it makes up wonderfully.

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Something old and something new

Two prototype shoes I am making. The black captoe oxford is made on my new Aurum Classic English last. The brown Adelaide oxford is on a last I made over 10 years ago and now revisiting (you can see by the differences of the colour of the last).

Special Projects.

This shoe was made for a client who provided their own last. He wanted me to make a shoe to his design and mounted on his last.  This shoe is made to my standard “Meccariello” level.

Special Projects

A customer wanted a golf shoe with removable cleats and a rubber sole. The client also wanted to use a large orthopedic insert which I had to accomodate into the shoe without distorting the lines of the shoe. The customer also wanted maximum comfort and flexibility along with the ability to resole, so this was made in a Bologna-handwelted construction.

Made with scotchgrain calf and fabric.

Meccariello standard line

Two eyelet derby in hand coloured and antiqued calfkskin