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In A Time Warp!


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My name is Tom

Not sure I should be calling myself an ex cobbler as it was 46 years ago, early 1960's when I left school and went to work in an Uncles cobblers. Did 2 years before getting itchy feet and cleared of in the Merchant Navy.

Kept in touch and when the shop closed for good in the late 70's I took a load of stuff and have been looking after family footware on a last in my garage ever since.

I did see a huge change in the trade in the decade from when I started to the shop closing and no doubt that change has continued.

Look forward to maybe going down memory lane with you as my cobbling is stuck in a 60's time warp.

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Thanks for the warm welcome.

Just to expand on my short time in the trade (compared to some of you guys) and being in a time warp.

The shop I was at was in a time warp! It was an old shop/business. Although it was 1961 It wasn't 1961 technology. Probably hadn't changed much since the 40's or 50's. Run by an old chap, an ex shoe maker/clog maker, certainly a master cobbler. The skill was in his hands not machines.

It was in a working class area of Preston and at that time it was still a mill town as well as heavy engineering and coal miners.

Clogs were still around and most workware was Army surplus, hob nail boots a plenty.

I go in a shop now and see 3 stacks of rubber heels that can be used for all sizes. We must have had a shelf with well over 50 boxes all of different sizes just of Wards Rimforts or Dinkie nickle rim heels. That was just for the womens shoes.

Lets see if I can jog someones memory! Would anybody know what to do if someone came in asked you to put some cokers on. (dont worry nobody will) just a tester for fun.

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The skill was in his hands not machines.

 

Which is still the case today Cyclopse. Machines have changed for the better IE better dust extraction no more bumpy split wheels etc. But that hasn't changed the level of skill required to do a first class job. It is a fallacy that all elderly folks great great grandad was a "master" shoe repairer, and none of todays repairers could match them.....In fact todays top repairers would leave most of yesteryears repairers for dead :)

 

Sorry to pi55 on your fire, but it does really rile me when the older generation think they were the only ones who were skilled. :evil:

 

Heres why. In the 40s,50s, 60,s customers were only interested in thick clumpy repairs that would last as long as possible, the finish wasn't important, they'd have soles on top of soles on top of soles. Everybodys grandad would do the familys repairs, because there is not much skill required to do this type of work.Thats ok because that was what was expected in those days,(I wish I had a pound for everyone who told me there grandad was a master repairer :roll: ). but it did produce some horrible repairs. Lazy repairs for want of a better word.

Some of the worst repairers about today are the oldies, I've seen some of em, They'll proudly show you there work because they think its good, but in reality they are awfull.

 

However todays customers are looking for thier repairs to be as near to how they looked originally, which is far more skillfull than a clump repair.

 

I am aware that this doesn't apply to all, but I believe on the whole todays top repairers are better than repairers from the era your talking about.

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The skill was in his hands not machines.

 

Which is still the case today Cyclopse. Machines have changed for the better IE better dust extraction no more bumpy split wheels etc. But that hasn't changed the level of skill required to do a first class job. It is a fallacy that all elderly folks great great grandad was a "master" shoe repairer, and none of todays repairers could match them.....In fact todays top repairers would leave most of yesteryears repairers for dead :)

 

Sorry to pi55 on your fire, but it does really rile me when the older generation think they were the only ones who were skilled. :evil:

 

Heres why. In the 40s,50s, 60,s customers were only interested in thick clumpy repairs that would last as long as possible, the finish wasn't important, they'd have soles on top of soles on top of soles. Everybodys grandad would do the familys repairs, because there is not much skill required to do this type of work.Thats ok because that was what was expected in those days,(I wish I had a pound for everyone who told me there grandad was a master repairer :roll: ). but it did produce some horrible repairs. Lazy repairs for want of a better word.

Some of the worst repairers about today are the oldies, I've seen some of em, They'll proudly show you there work because they think its good, but in reality they are awfull. Most haven't a clue how to graft on a leather 1/2 sole.

 

However todays customers are looking for thier repairs to be as near to how they looked originally, which is far more skillfull than a clump repair.

 

I am aware that this doesn't apply to all, but I believe on the whole todays top repairers are better than repairers from the era your talking about.

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It aint changed that much Tom excepting that waists are cemented rather than rivited,

 

To me if glue isn't available, then 1/2 soles are not an option, as nailed waists ruin the shoes, especially the amount they used in those days.

 

No Glue......then through soles are the only option for a shoe friendly lasting repair :wink: ........................

 

 

carry on

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How on earth has anyone taken offence at what I wrote. I was simply painting a picture of life in the early 60's cobblers shop, before the modern machines came on the scene.

I have re-read my letter and I cannot see where I insulted todays cobbler!

How sad that you think so little of the generations of the cobblers in the past.

I don't know what Planet UK is it certainly aint my planet. What a disrespectful person.

I did not join this forum to be insulted. Goodbye

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I didn't insult you Tom, I was merly making a comment on your post "the skill was in there hands not machines"

 

To me that was saying all todays repairers rely on machines and not skill.

There have been similar topics in the past.

 

Please don't take offence, its just my view that repairers today are just as skillfull if not better that those in the 40s 50s & 60s.

 

And I put my reasons why I believe that.

I don't see that you should take offence at that, its a forum were members have opinions.

 

regards uk900

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I did not join this forum to be insulted. Goodbye
Slow down Cyclopse, one thing you learn here on the forum, is the written word shows no emotion, its very easy to get upset at whats published. often its unnecessary there are many opinions & points of view on subjects, Sometimes the various angles clash thats the nature of a good discussion :wink:

rather than walking away get involved & relish the challenge. you started a great debate, one of which I am sure will continue. \:D/

 

Lee

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I'm ok, I have calmed down now, you wont get rid off me that easy. I will stand and fight my corner for the old guys who where real crafstmen, just as you are today.

Good point about the rivots. Only ever used brass, still have them. I didn't trust cemented waist's and I put a couple of rivets on each side to be sure. Hmmmmmm!

Bring back clogs.

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I'm ok, I have calmed down now, you wont get rid off me that easy. I will stand and fight my corner for the old guys who where real crafstmen, just as you are today.

Good point about the rivots. Only ever used brass, still have them. I didn't trust cemented waist's and I put a couple of rivets on each side to be sure. Hmmmmmm!

Bring back clogs.

 

Hi Tom :D I'm glad you've calmed down, There was never any intent to upset you.....Although I do have the knack :smt112

 

I still think rivited waists without glue is pretty crap, You've got to admit a through sole is much better.

A properly grafted cemented waist will never come adrift, I've done it that way for many many years and never had a problem. If I have a pair come in with perished waists I put through soles on them or refuse the job, most customers will follow your advice, as we are trusted because of years of good customer service.

I don't think of doing the job as cheap as I can, I do the job as best as I can. Sometimes it works out expensive, but the job speaks for itself in the longrun.

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Guest Iain Cheall

Just found this thread, first of all welcome to Cyclopse and second you will get used to Uk900, me n him nearly came to blows a couple of years ago but now we laugh about it and get on well. He is a big headed so n so but luckily for him he can back it up by being an excelant craftsman. :wink:

 

Don't take everything you read on the forum personally half the time the guys will just be trying to pull ya leg.

 

so again welcome hope you enjoy your stay

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First of all welcome back cyclops, glad to see you use brass rivets.

 

Secondly riveting through a "Wooden" Shank will only split it lengthways and cause no real damage, more damage is done to the shank by treading on stair edges and Kerbs with the waist. this then breaks the "Wooden" Shanks. Most shanks in moulded footwear are broken within the first month of wear and no Brass rivets in sight. Small Head Brass spaced at 3/16ths apart with or without adhesive would be my choice for a personal half sole, I was around when adhesive first came out for glueing waists with as were a few others on this forum and to this day I have not yet had a pair of my own half soles stay put at the waist until the sole has worn out. (Leather only of course).

 

As for Clogs yer can keep the bleeders, Made myself a a pair of the boots in the 70s and nearly got killed running accross the road, yer feet wont bend in them and anyone who says that they are comfy must have too much hard skin to feel the hard wooden base.

OK for kicking door panels in but thats about all unless of course you work in 2" of water or on a freezing concrete floor in the winter.

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you will get used to Uk900,

 

Well its the same for everyone, I had to get used to folk on here, yourself included :)

I certainly shook this place up 28 June 2006 :twisted:

 

He is a big headed so n so

 

Not really Iain, I have an opinion on the subjects I think I'm good at. If that makes me a big head then so be it.

 

but luckily for him he can back it up by being an excelant craftsman. :wink:

 

I take my fair share of criticism, so I'll except those kind words :smt028

 

Don't take everything you read on the forum personally half the time the guys will just be trying to pull ya leg.

 

Good advice, But theres nowt wrong with posting with the intention of getting a reaction. Nice one Tom, You fell for that one hook line and sinker :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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LEE & Admin,

I suggest this topic be moved to Shoe Repairs as the content has nothing to do with new members now and can be enjoyed by the rest as a general topic of interest.

 

Did not want to do it myself without posting here first, as Cyclops will think his post has been deleted.

 

there you go.........done. It was off topic I agree :wink:

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Guest maurice

my father was/is a shoe repairer and my grandfather was a shoe repairer/shoemaker

and i think from the the things iv seen and heard that there were plenty of backyard butchers/bootmakers but the best of yesteryear would leave todays best for dead that stuff about thick clunky soles and soles on top of soles they were the butchers the real tradesmen had speed ,and control todays repairers would get dizzy watching them ....

i heard a story from an orthapeadic doctor about a paitent who had marks

on his leg (big dents)anyway they were from the stirip he was a booty

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