This is the next-to-last series of photos documenting the making of My Last Pair of Boots by Lee Miller of Austin Texas. They’re actually done and have been shipped, but many bootmakers are superstitious and don’t like to show the finished product until they’re sure it fits, so I’ll put up the final series after I get them. Here we see the final bit of construction: putting on the outsoles, the heels (made from stacks of leather) and the heel caps. Note also the use of wooden pegs to fasten the outsole to everything else. (Wood rather than metal is used because wood, when wet, swells like the leather in which it’s embedded, keeping the fastening tight.) These are the sign of a good cowboy boot, for while they’re probably no longer required given the stitching and glue, they’re a tradition—one that involves a lot of hand work. The photos and notes (indented) are from Carrlyn Miller:
Lee is sanding the bottoms to prepare to put the outsoles on.
Lee takes another piece of leather and attaches it to the forepart of the boot. It will give you some cushioning.
Lee trims the excess away.
And, trims some more.
Cement is applied.
Everything is put outside to dry. The outsoles have also been cemented.
Lee has laid the sole on and is now trimming it to the boot.
The boots are then wooden pegged. We use wooden pegs in the shank and around the heel.
Now it’s time to build the heels. The area is cemented and placed outside to dry. Nice to have such warm weather now🙂 The pieces on the cardboard are the rand pieces.
The rand piece is the first piece to go on when building the heels. Here you can see Lee has put it on.
Again, he sands to shape it.
Lee begins to build the heels layer by layer.
The heels are built, and now it’s time to put the heel caps on.
The heel caps are on, and it’s time to dye, ink and burnish the soles, heels and welt. Here Lee has taped off a section of the sole so that the wax and ink don’t get into the bottoms stain that he’ll apply to the forepart of the sole.
Everyone does it a little differently. Some people burnish the entire bottoms. Some people only use polish to finish up the soles. Here is the boot waiting to be dyed and inked.
In this last picture for today, you can see the bottoms have been inked and dyed. They are again outside drying.