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Identification of machine parts -Outsole stitcher


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A couple of years ago i came across a box of old timey shoe making stuff . A lot of the contents were from a machine that i am 90% sure is an outsole stitcher because they look similar to Landis parts. However they are not for a Landis . So i was thinking it might be a Vihl Pederson machine or maybe even a victor . The parts have the letters VSM then a part number . I have no idea what VSM represents . So i thought i would ask the brains trust of this grumpy old mens forum .

Attached is a photo of the main easily identified parts . The bobbin measurements are in millimeters and the part numbers are also next to the part. Any help solving this mystery would be greatly appreciated .

machine parts.jpg

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Mystery solved . Even though these are in Australia i don't know of any Victor machines in operation . I know the Baxter boot factory used them before they switched production overseas . But currently i  only know of Landis and the odd  Vihl Pederson  being used for repairs

@ Flash . Yes VSM bobbin case is what is stamped on it 

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Yeah what ever , Bobbin case or shuttle . That's why i consulted the brains trust on this forum , Even if they are old brains .LOL

 Actually i want to ask another question but don't know in which section to post it . I will do it here and risk the scorn from the etiquette miesters , wordsmiths and technically correct

The parts i got for the Victor sole stitcher came in a dusty old crate with all sorts of stuff . Among them were 4 heel shavers. As a collector of vintage shoe tools i cleaned and polished them and now just admire them. Being a young 57 year old they were used well before my time . I have searched for more information on them but cant even find written instructions on how they were used ,let alone a video . I searched you tube and what i saw has left me traumatized. DO NOT SEARCH HEEL SHAVE ON YOU TUBE . JUST DON'T DO IT .  So my questions are 

What purpose were they actually used for ?

At what stage in the process were they used ?

whats with the different sizes?

There are a couple of variations ,one is like a spoke shave and the other has a stubby blade with a depth stop .

In a 1927 George Barnsley catalogue they are still listed . What tool or machine made them redundant ?  

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5 hours ago, Cranky Franky said:

Yeah what ever , Bobbin case or shuttle . That's why i consulted the brains trust on this forum , Even if they are old brains .LOL

 Actually i want to ask another question but don't know in which section to post it . I will do it here and risk the scorn from the etiquette miesters , wordsmiths and technically correct

The parts i got for the Victor sole stitcher came in a dusty old crate with all sorts of stuff . Among them were 4 heel shavers. As a collector of vintage shoe tools i cleaned and polished them and now just admire them. Being a young 57 year old they were used well before my time . I have searched for more information on them but cant even find written instructions on how they were used ,let alone a video . I searched you tube and what i saw has left me traumatized. DO NOT SEARCH HEEL SHAVE ON YOU TUBE . JUST DON'T DO IT .  So my questions are 

What purpose were they actually used for ?

At what stage in the process were they used ?

whats with the different sizes?

There are a couple of variations ,one is like a spoke shave and the other has a stubby blade with a depth stop .

In a 1927 George Barnsley catalogue they are still listed . What tool or machine made them redundant ?  

Blind stab in the dark, I don't suppose it would be a drag knife.

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 Ok. shuttle is it then .

@Auto Key Wizard  That's the tool i am talking about . Its like a spoke shave but different . The cutting side is on the outside convex part not like a concave spoke shave . From what i can gather the tool was used to shape a heel block after the leather was stacked but before it was attached to the shoe, I assume it was held in a vice or clamped to a bench to do the work  . Another tool with an adjustable depth stop was used to shape the heel to the shoe once attached .Now what i say here is pure speculation based on the tool and its name . I used to used a rasp file for that but now just use the finisher. I have seen a lot of women's shoes that had concave heels but not men's with a concave from the period the tool was used . Probably from the 1840's to the 1940's. I asked the oldest shoe maker  i know .Wilfred 84 years old what he thought . He said he knows what they are called and they were on the tool rack of the places he worked but had never seen one in action and can't tell me how they were used .  It appears the company Snell and Atherton had the majority of the market and they also appear in a George Barnsley catalogue. IP hyde also made them . I don't know of any German or French makers . I have a Snell and Atherton and a Barnsley . they are almost identical however the blades and guards are not interchangeable even though they are both size 5. I have some shoe making books from the late 1800's to the early 1900's i will have to go through them and see if i can find any clues . 

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While searching different combinations of the word" heel shave" on YouTube i came across this video. It was interesting on one level but not what i was looking for . The guy in the video explains how to sharpen the blade and then demonstrates it . 

 

However he was shaving down the inside of a saddle not a shoe or heel block. Which got me thinking about possible applications .  I has been seeing quite a lot of shoes come in for repair with a "Fiddle back waist " ( may or may not be the correct term .Sorry wordsmiths ) The don/t have a steel or wooden shank but a leather one tapered down the sides with a raise bit down the middle . Very impressive indeed . I have watch videos of a bespoke Japanese guy making shoes and he uses this type of shank construction , Once again Very impressive . He actually won shoe maker of the year 2024. I thought that the heel shave could be applied to this process but have yet to see it . There are 12 different blade radius's and matching hand tool available in the Barnsley catalogue . So they each had their specific niche . 

For those that have not seen this gem of a catalogue  , below is the link . You can flip through it like a book using the arrows or slide on the bottom of the page . I think many of you will find it very interesting . Eg , who knew so many different awls were available and what about those irons .

https://archive.org/details/barnsley-and-sons-shoe-tools-catalogue-1927/page/38/mode/2up?view=theater.

Will update if i get any new info .

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Update , shoe makers heel shave are also used by chair makers however they don't like where the handles are and either cut them off or cut and weld them 90 Deg so they face the user . It was mentioned in a sentence that these shaves were used to make lasts. Hmm , that's the next rabbit hole i will explore  because it makes logical sense . Hence the different curve radius on the many blades .

Interesting fact #1

Cobbler: A shoe repairer, forbidden by English law from working with new leather, enforced by the guilds. (Do not call a shoemaker a cobbler.).

I wonder what the penalty for offending was ? Transportation to Australia ?  Having the offenders scrotum turned into a pair of shoes by a shoemaker ?

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Update #2

I found some obscure info on EBAY of all places . Its a cigarette card with a" how to use" theme .  Its in the UK going on auction starting at a quid.

So with that info i can assume that the finishing machine made the tool redundant .  I'm am sure they had their hold outs as finishing machines were quite expensive and shoe makers were paid bugger all at the time . The Japanese guy i watch on youtube uses glass to scrape the sole  and heels smooth . That has to be hard going and very time consuming . Having said that it would still be the tool of choice today if you want to shape a concave stacked leather heel.  The scraping and shaving method would give the leather a nice burnish as opposed to grinding which can leave the leather somewhat fluffy. I am going to try and make new blades for the ones i have using some old Sheffield steel butter knives . The ones with the yellow handles, and if successful i might make a video of the results 

Heel shave cigarette card.jpgHeel shave description.jpg

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@Flash I agree with you totally . It seems as though improvisation is the name of the game these days . Not sure if its lack of knowledge , laziness or just plain tight arseness . I come across consistent problems with modern cheap shoes and try and solve them with a tool that was not designed for the job but i know with a few tweeks it can be a valuable asset . For example when doing build ups on a new shoe i have to slice through the full length and full width of the shoe to get the tread off for reattachment later . I need a long blade with a little flex and a fine tooth , not razor finish . My solution was an old bread knife ( i think ) with the right length and fine serrations . I found one that i thought would do the job and modified the handle for better grip and to suit my chunky hands . The result was as desired . Each time i use it i can't help praising the knife . Photos below .It's not a bread knife as such but a roast meat knife i think , Sheffield stainless steel . I sharpen only the back end .

 Also is a Stanley knife that i just need for a lot of things . The handle fits good in my hand but the clincher is that the blade fits tight with minimal play .

Prying heels and heel blocks off cleanly can be difficult some times especially RM Williams  I improvised some tools that work fine . However i might shorten the blade on the angled pry bar for more leverage .

 Then there is pincers . They are not created equally even though they may look similar . I use 5 all slightly different but all do a specific thing .I could probably get away with 3 but i would be improvising .

Learning how to sharpen is very important but overlooked by most . When i see someone try and sharpen a blade on a finisher i just want to stab them . There is just something about the quality of vintage steel that cannot be replicated. They just hold an edge so well compared to modern blades . 

saw tooth knives.jpg

saw tooth blades.jpg

s knife.jpg

heel tools.jpg

heel profiles.jpg

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