Class Notes for Class on Round Closing

At the upcom­ing Can­ter­bury Faire I am going to be teach­ing a class on mak­ing round closed seams (but­ted seams) for shoe­mak­ing. Here’s a link to the handout I’ve writ­ten for people to take home as a ref­er­ence after the class.

7 thoughts on “Class Notes for Class on Round Closing

  1. nori

    The awl you’re using for but­ted seams is wrong. The awl you should be show­ing is a curved awl … a saddle maker’s awl.

    [Ebay URL removed by Admin]

    1. william Post author

      Hi Nori, thanks for your comment.

      Straight awls are appro­pri­ate for this type of work in a medieval/renaissance his­tor­ical repro­duc­tion con­text. The awls pic­tured in scenes such as the Life of St Mark pic­ture in the doc­u­ment, and that have shown up in finds from medi­eval con­texts in places like York are all straight.

      There are draw­ings of the finds from York in the book Leather and Leather­work­ing in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medi­eval York, which can be down­loaded from the York Archae­ology Pub­lic­a­tions Archive, linked to in the side­bar of this blog.

      Mod­ern shoemaker’s awls are usu­ally curved to vary­ing degrees depend­ing on the task they’re for but that style of awl, and the sickle shaped awl you linked to, are mod­ern (i.e. post-renaissance) inventions.

      This post on the Crispin Col­loquy has a good pic­ture of the type of awl that was pic­tured in your ebay link.

      The sickle shaped awls seem to be a par­tic­u­larly con­tin­ental thing — I think of them as Ger­man, while the awls that are curved just at the tip and are oth­er­wise straighter seem to be an English/American thing. [both com­ments are gross gen­er­al­isa­tions of course]

      There are some really good pic­tures of mod­ern shoemaker’s awls on this page on the Crispin Col­loquy but they’re all mod­ern ones.

      I some­times use a mod­ern closer’s awl for some work, but a straight awl of an appro­pri­ate size and cross sec­tion works very well in the 2–2.5mm veg tanned leather I use for shoes.



      P.S I removed the Ebay link because the go stale after a while, and I prefer not to have com­mer­cial links on this blog.

    1. william Post author

      Thank you, I’m glad you found them use­ful. I am revis­ing the notes and will put the new ver­sion on here as soon as they’re done, in the mean­time feel free to get in touch with any ques­tions you have.

      Have fun!

  2. Elden

    Hi Wil­liam,
    I came by today to check for any new posts and found that the clos­ing notes seem to be miss­ing. I think I have a copy some­where, but not sure if you knew the link is dead?

      1. Elden

        Thanks Al. I will return to study­ing it! Hugh and I are work­ing with Adam McKay here in Sydney to put some medi­eval awls together. I have a ‘head knife’ of his to try, it’s just wait­ing for ser­i­ous sharpen­ing. Thanks for the awe­some blog.

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