Beginners Shoemaking Tools and Materials:The Definitive Guide
You want to make your own shoes, you dream about learning shoemaking for so long, but before you start, there are so many obstacles that most of them you created yourself.
I am talking from my own experience and observation of others that learn this wonderful craft.
The number one obstacle that I hear from beginners are tools and materials.
The truth is, you don’t need that much to get started . There is a simple reason for this, and it is because you are a beginner.
You don’t need many tools, you don’t need fancy machinery, because first you need to learn how to work with basic tools and materials and progress as you go on.
Once, I was a beginner just like you, and trust me I didn’t had much.
About 2 years ago I published “25 shoemaking tools and materials you need to get started” guide, but today I want to focus on a must have tools and materials to show you that you can start learning shoemaking today.
To show you the big picture and make you understand where you should use every tool and material, we will go through the entire process of making shoes, from start to finish.
I love people that take action and don’t wait for that special time that may never come, so I want to encourage you to make the first step.
At the end of this guide you will find my limited -time offer, so read the guide and sign up today for my shoemaking courses with this discount.
12 Shoemaking Tools and Materials for Beginners
First thing you need to start this process is a shoe last. There are many different lasts but because you are a beginner there is one last type that you will need and I will explain why.
Pump shoes last with low heel
This is the perfect last to start with because with this last you can make many other types ( and not just pumps) like: Oxford shoes, Derby shoes, Slingback pumps, boots and I show it all in my courses.
This is a must have material that you will use through the entire process and it is the first thing we use.
There is no need in special masking tape, it’s just need to be a good quality tape and you can purchase it in every Office Depot store.
We cover the last with masking tape to draw our design on the last, later on we will transfer this design ( m.tape) to cardboard to make our basic pattern.
To choose the right masking tape please read this post Shoe making Case Study: Cover Your Shoe Last Using Right Masking Tape
After you will create your basic pattern, you will move on to create the pattern of your upper and lining. To calculate the seam allowance for upper and lining you will need this tool.
It is the same compases as you used in geometry class, at least it has the same function, so if you can’t find the “shoemaker compases” just buy the ordinary one.
As we got our patters ready, the next step is cutting leather. Shoemakers use special knives for it, but you will not fill the difference by using vey quality utility knife. I personally use ordinary utility knife but the trick is that I am using very sharp 30 degree angle blades / BD-100
4. Shoemaking knife
You should have one good shoemaking knife and trust me it will be your friend. Good shoemaking knife can be used in many stages of our work. For example next step before sewing the upper is skiving the edges.
You can also use your shoemaking knife to cut the vegtan leather, skive the sole ( as I show in my lessons) and trim the extras when making your stacked heel.
I use good English shoemaking knife (22×2.5cm) that I got from “George Barnsley and Sons” ( UK, Sheffield).
5. Reinforcement tape
Before sewing the upper we must reinforce the topline so it will not stretch during lasting and we need to reinforce the back seam. There are different width of reinforcement tape but you can start by using the narrow, 4mm reinforcement tape. For the back seam you can use a piece of thin leather.
You must have glue for our shoemaking process, so where do you sue it?
- To assemble the upper before sewing
- To attach the upper to the insole
- To attach the sole
- To make our leather stacked heel
There are many different types of this glue, what important is that it must be glue for leather only. For example Renia or Burge adhesive.
7. Sewing machine
There are many advanced and new machines there obviously, but as a beginner I will not suggest investing so much money in expensive sewing machine, Many of the Shoemaking Courses Online members purchased second hand machines on ebay.
Hammer for folding
There are many hammers that you can use, but one is the one you need as a beginner.
It is good for many things.
I use it not only for folding. I use it also to flat the seams after sewing and to attach the sole.
The trick here is to use the wooden handle to attach the sole evenly.
9. Pincers for lasting
In lasting we need to consider the type of leather that we use, and that is why in my courses I teach to check the leather that you will use first. You need to know how to last different shoe models but it is very important to have comfortable pincers.
You should have lasting pincers with hammer. This way you don’t need to use real hammer when lasting and it is much comfortable and easy to last.
There are two types of nails that you must have.
long nails= 2cm
short nails=0.9 cm
When lasting we use the both types. The long type we use for the front are and they are long so we could bend them. The short nail we place to attach the heel, and we leave them there. Please remember, that you should do it only if you have a steel plate on the bottom of you last.
This is almost the end of shoemaking process and there is no better material to use for your sole then good vegtan leather. In my courses I teach how you should prepare and skive your vegtan sole and also how to shape it.
Vegtan leather will be also used for making your stacked heels and you could learn different techniques how to make heels on and off the last.
Vegtan leather can be also used as alternative for the shank board and texon board when creating insoles.
As you will be using a low heel pump last you can reinforce the arc area of your shoe with straight piece of vegtan leather. This will be also alternative for the steel shank, but it should be used only in the low heel last up to 1 cm.
This is a great unorthodox shoe making tool that you can use along the entire process of making shoes. You welcome to read my previous post “Dremel drill: 8 Ways to Use This Shoemaking Tool” to see what you can do with this tool. It is also sold everywhere and it’s very easy to find.
Here is a good Italian online store where you can order most from this list. ( Tell them I sent you 🙂
Disclaimer: I don’t have any affiliate profit from this supplier.
There are 12 tools and materials on that list and that is what you need to get started. As you will get more experience, because that is what you need in shoe making, you will buy more tools, more materials but for a beginner like you this is a perfect list to get started.
Now you know that you don’t need much to get started, just do it.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, I love people that take action.
Here is my Limited-time Offer to help you make the first step
Sign up for Gold Membership at my Shoemaking Courses Online
35% Discount During The Next 3 Days
It includes 17 shoe making courses
Only with this membership you have unlimited access to all shoemaking courses and new upcoming lessons, added weekly.
– Watch & Download all lessons to your computer.
– All courses are available 24 hours, 7 days a week
– 3 month membership
– Exclusive Gold membership courses ( T Strap Pumps, Wedge Cork Sandals)
– Full price is 217 €
Take Advantage of This Limited-Time Offer to sign up for my Gold membership
with 35% Discount
You save 76 €
It’s 140 € instead of 217 €
ACT NOW! Register today! This offer ends on November 7th.
(COPY AND PASTE THIS DISCOUNT CODE)
we accept paypal & credit card
Click this link below to Sign Up Now!
This Discount Code will be Active for 3 Days ONLY!
I am waiting to see you on my courses.
Thank you for reading,