How to work with celastic material in shoemaking?

How to work with celastic material in shoemaking?

celastic material for shoemaking

How to work with celastic material in shoemaking is the theme of this post but let ask first what is a celastic material and why we need it in shoemaking?

Celastic material is a non-woven chemical sheet that becomes moldable when it activated with solvent. When it dries it becomes hard.

Because of this soft/stiff qualities of the celastic we can use it in shoemaking to make stiffeners from.

As you remember stiffeners: counters in the heel and toe puffs in the toe

will keep the shape of your shoes and will protect your feet as well.

There are few materials you can use to make stiffness and celastic material is one of them you should pay your attention to if you thinking about learning shoemaking.

I already wrote a few posts about another material ( the natural one) you can use for stiffeners - the vegetable tanned leather and now let’s learn about celastic material I recommend as well to use in shoemaking.

Working with celastic material 

First thing before you start to work with celastic is to make patterns for the counters and for the toe puffs.

Second thing is to prepare insoles because without the insoles you can’t last your shoes.

The insoles can be made from vegetable tanned leather as well, like stiffeners,  or from cardboards: taxon cardboard and shank board-alternative materials that can be a good solution for you to start making your shoes.

Note: I know that is super difficult to find these cardboards and it is extremely hard to find all the needed tools for shoemaking in one place! So I opened an online store with all the needed tools and materials, lasts, etc with great sale prices. Don't miss it!

Now, if you have everything I described above, you can start working with celastic material.

  • Cut your patterns of the stiffeners
  • Skive the edges of the celastic toe puffs and counters, so in the finished shoes they will not extend through the upper
  • Open your upper and lining to prepare the space where you will apply counters activated with solvent
  • Put glue on the inner side of the upper and lining in the place where you put the counters
  • Put a little bit solvent (acetone or MEK, or any other solvent type you can find in your country to activate the celastic material) in some container
  • Place the celastic counters in the container to activate it with solvent
  • Attach the activated celastic counters between the upper and lining and start last your shoes.

As celastic counters dry fast you need to work fast before it becomes stiff. To make it softer again put a little bit solvent.

Note: before you start to work with solvent, check if it does not leave spots on the leather of your upper or if it will not remove the color from your upper leather.

To make it more clear for you on how to work with celastic material in shoemaking I made a shoe making tutorial for you. So enjoy the full process! Comment and share this tutorial!

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  • June 13, 2019

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