Get­ting Star­ted: Basic Tools and Mater­i­als

In these “Get­ting Star­ted” posts I want to lay out the mater­i­als, tools and inform­a­tion you need to build your first pair of shoes. As you move on to build­ing more detailed shoes or shoes built with more peri­od tech­niques there are more things you will need, but these can be gradu­ally acquired over time.

Basic shoe­mak­ing doesn’t require much in the way of spe­cial­ist tools, but there are a few things you need. This list cov­ers the bare min­im­um you need to put togeth­er a simple pair of turned shoes.

As a gen­er­al min­im­um you need:

  • A knife or shears. Whatever you use they must be sharp
  • A ruler (pre­fer­rably steel) and tape meas­ure. Some non-stretch cord and a metre rule can come in handy for meas­ur­ing feet.
  • A ball­point pen, a pen­cil and a sharpie-type mark­er
  • An awl
  • Needles and thread to sew with
  • A lump of bees wax
  • Some mask­ing tape. Actu­ally a *lot* of mask­ing tape will come in handy. Don’t buy the dol­lar store stuff, it tears hor­ribly. Get the cheapest or second-cheapest stuff from a hard­ware store. Either will be bet­ter than dol­lar store stuff.
  • Some heavy non-cor­rug­ated card­board. I buy mine at a sta­tion­ery store for about $8 for an A2 sheet. It’s about 4mm thick.
  • Some heavy paper, an old cal­en­dar is ideal.

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