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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