Back to the boots. I had become a bit frustrated with the design for my boots. I realized through the first stages that I would need to incorporate some wet leather moulding techniques if I wanted them to look more professionally made. I began by making a shoe last in the wood shop. Shoe lasts, by the way, can be purchased online if you are interested in making your own boots. I used the sole pattern piece from my previous shoes, tracing it onto a piece of scrap plywood and cutting it out on a bandsaw. I wanted the edges to have a smooth curve to avoid cutting into the leather so I sanded off the edges, rounding them.
I first soaked my pieces of veggie tan leather under the tap, on both sides. I used warm water since it made sense that warmth would help it stretch. I used a C-clamp to hold the sole last onto the leather. I then used a pair of pliers to help me stretch it over the edges of the sole last. I then nailed the leather into place. It was easier to do this with a friend helping, though it is possible to do it on your own...awkwardly.
I wanted to speed up the drying process so I used a hair dryer propped up on my notebook to dry the first shoe sole while I stretched my second piece.
I knew that I would need the toe pieces to overlap if I wanted to be able to sew them together, and so I nailed the toe forms onto the sole ones to make a rough shoe last.
I used the same method as I used on the soles to stretch the leather for the toes.
At this stage I realized that you need to clamp your leather on either a flat surface or a clean, flat piece of leather. or else you risk damaging the top of your shoe as I did in Fig. 6.
The next step for the boots will be to create the rest of the pattern, cut the leather and sew!
My Own Two Hands