Alden Cordovan Shoe Recraft with J&FJ Baker leather
This is a cautionary tale of an Alden Cordovan Shoe Recraft. The last shoe repairer didn’t unpick old stitching when welt stitching the new sole on. Because of this, it was clear the previous resole was not done correctly and it needed an Alden Cordovan Shoe Recraft.
- The original stitches of the Alden Cordovan Shoe Recraft had not been unpicked before the last repair. We undertook to put a new welt on. We cut off the old welts and prepared Bakers leather welt strips by mellowing them in water.
- Next, we used a heavily waxed linen thread, an inseaming awl, and twin curved needles to hand stitch the new welts on.
- Once we had hand-stitched the new welts on we filled the slight void with spreadable cork.
- After the cork had settled, we glued the whole bottom section of the shoe. We also roughened the Baker leather outer sole and applied two layers of glue to each surface. We let the glue dry.
- Next, we wet the outer facing surface you would normally walk on until the leather was easily pliable.
- Next, we heat-activated both surfaces and stuck them together.
- Using hand pressure we made sure the two surfaces bonded and left them overnight to cure.
- The next day, we fine-trimmed the leather sole to the edge of the welt.
- We set our welt stitching machine to match the stitches per inch from the original welt. Utilising a hand welt stitching awl we set our first guide hole at the start of where we would welt-stitch. This became our depth guide to hand groove the outer leather sole.
- We use a seven cord right twist linen, so we set the groove depth of our hand tool. Meaning, the thread will sit below the surface of the leather outer sole, improving wear.
- The first guide hole then becomes the first stitch mark. We machine-stitch into it and we place the leather sole in the welt stitching machine so that the awl correctly pierces that first hole. And thus we stitch both soles.
- From that we build and balance the heel blocks and fit the JR dovetail heel top lifts.
- The sole edges are then inked and edge ironed with a heated hand tool that seals the surface and provides a high shine.
- Being mindful to retain the patina on the cordovan upper, we used Saphir Cordovan Crème in Neutral. This was to clean off any surface grime. We then built a deep burnish with a deer bone and colour Saphir Cordovan crème in Cordovan.