A mis­tress of the craft mak­ing waxed ends

The mak­ing of waxed ends is, in my opin­ion, the single most import­ant core skill for a shoe­maker after pat­tern­ing. I believe it is more import­ant even than being able to sharpen a knife.

This video of Mar­quita Volken’s pro­cess for mak­ing up a waxed end is worth of many repeat watch­ings.

Of par­tic­u­lar interest is the pro­cess of skein­ing off the length of thread by wrap­ping it around the elbow and through the fin­gers and the way she con­trols the thread wrap around the bristle.

When skein­ing off thread using the tech­nique in this video you can adjust the length of thread you end up with by the num­ber of fin­gers you wrap over. A use­ful length of clos­ing thread can be made just by wrap­ping around the thumb alone. A length that goes around all four inter-fin­ger spaces is suf­fi­cient for the sole seam of a whole shoe, and then some. On my arm that’s about 3.8m of thread.

The way she’s con­trolling the thread dur­ing the ini­tial wrap around the bristle at 3:03 is very inter­est­ing. The angle of the thread is con­trolled by the thumb of the twist­ing hand and the wrap is applied by rolling the bristle up the thumb. It’s not a tech­nique I’ve ever seen before.

Per­son­ally I’ve nev­er man­aged to make that par­tic­u­lar tech­nique for twist­ing on bristles work, I always snap the leg off the bristle, so I just braid it on with a three-strand plait. That’s secure and smooth but takes longer. Find what works for you.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoBrQ0QKjBQ

Serge and Mar­quita Volken’s web­site and face­book page

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