Sec­tioned Shoes

I’ve had a couple of singleton shoes kick­ing around for a while now that are made well, but for one reas­on or anoth­er were nev­er going to be pairs. Some time ago I had the idea of cut­ting them in half to use as teach­ing aids, and recently got a saddler’s round knife which is the per­fect tool for cleanly cut­ting a whole shoe in half.

One is a later 14th cen­tury style turned shoe and the oth­er is a late 16th cen­tury style shoe based on a find from the SO-1 ship­wreck. Both are styles doc­u­mented in Step­ping Through Time.

I have scanned rather than pho­to­graphed them because the main points of interest are the cut edges of the sec­tion. The 16th cen­tury shoe would only fit on the scan­ner diag­on­ally, so I only scanned half of it, the 14th cen­tury shoe was small enough to fit both halves on the scan­ner bed.

It is a little dif­fi­cult to get the details in without the pic­ture being enorm­ous so I’ve cropped the detail at the heel and toe on each pair.

The leath­er is 2.5–3mm mod­ernly ‘veget­able’ tanned bovine double shoulder. The thread is hand-plied from #10 dry spun hemp and waxed with code. You can see in some of the sec­tions how the threads com­pletely fill the holes in the leath­er. This is thanks to sew­ing with bristles which work with a much smal­ler hole than needles. The threads present a smoothly cut edge without any fuzzi­ness which is a good sign that the code has pen­et­rated right through the fibres of the plied cord.

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