Here are the latest photos on the progress of my Last Pair of Boots, under construction by the estimable Lee Miller of Austin, Texas. They were sent, and the captions written, by Lee’s wife and business partner Carrlyn. You can see how laborious it is to make this kind of inlaid decoration of the tops (“shafts”). It won’t be long now till the boots are done.
We’re into the nitty gritty of things now. I have quite a few pictures to send you.Now we start on the tops. This is the back side of the kangaroo tops.
The cutting patterns have been cemented to the tops.
Lee is cutting out the pieces of the design. He uses a sewing machine, and the needle has beensharpened and has become knifelike.
Here’s another view of him cutting out the rose.
Now he carefully uses an awl and pulls the cut pieces out.
Here is the top partially done.
Here you see all the pieces from the back panels have been removed, along with the paper. [JAC: remember that the cut out portions will eventually be filled with different colors of inlaid leather. There will be four of these panels, so it’s a lot of work.]
Here are the front panels with the design cut out.
Lee is pulling the paper pattern off the tops.
The paper pattern is off.
The cut out pieces will be put back in. That will make sense later. Lee has marked which is for thefront and back.
This is what the back side looks like.
When he cuts out the design, both tops are cemented together and done at the same time. Here Lee ispulling the two top panels apart.
Then he uses his hand to rub off the rubber cement. It comes off easily.
Now, he hand skives [JAC: skiving is shaving the leather so it’s thinner, to keep the boot with inlays at a uniform thickness] the edges and the design on the tops. That needs to be thinned down because there will be other leathers added to the tops, and without skiving this be very bulky and hard to work with.
Another view of Lee skiving.
Then he takes a match and burns whatever frays are on the back side. One top finished skiving. Three more to go.