My boots, made by the estimable Lee Miller of Austin, Texas, are supposed to be ready today, so I should get them in the mail next week. The pictures are a few days behind, but we’ll continue today with the “bottom work”: putting on the shank (a hammered nail to give support in the arch), the outsole, and stitching it all together. The notes and photos are, as always, by Carrlyn Miller.
Time to prepare the boots for inseaming and the laying of the shanks. You can see Lee is whip stitching in the shank area.
Around the heel as well.
Almost all the way around.
And, here he has finished one.
He trims the welt with a lip knife.
Next come the outsoles.
He has marked the leather for the sole and is trimming the excess leather.
Checking to be sure he has the correct length.
Cutting the piece in half.
Now to make the shanks. Lee takes a “timber nail” and heats up both ends. [JAC: Note that in a real custom boot the shank isn’t a pre-ordered strip of metal, but is constructed from hammering flat a large nail.]
Once the nail is heated, he pounds both ends on an anvil.
And puts the nail in cold water to temper it.
In the meantime, the boots and different components are outside drying in the sun.
Now, he lays the shank in.
He hammers the nail in place.
And, takes leather pieces and puts one on each side of the shank.
Trims the leather pieces.
Hammers the leather pieces.
Puts the shank cover on.
Hammers the shank cover down.
Sands the piece to shape it.
And, checks to see that it’s level. Tomorrow, the outsoles.
Look at that beautiful shape! You’ll see pretty much how the finished boots will look.