Sunday, 21 October 2012
Sacrificed in the name of engineering
With a very few exceptions, larger size ladies footwear aimed at the transgender community tends towards the fetishistic. Shiny PVC, painful heels, lots of straps and buckles. No doubt very tasteful if that's your thing, but mine it ain't. So I'm left with a tiny array of simple styles, mostly in black patent. could be worse, but I could weep when I see the shoes my natal female friends can pick up so easily.
So do I put up with it and do nothing? Hell no!
I'm an engineer, I make stuff! I've never made a shoe before, but the blessing of being a trained engineer is that assurance that you can make just about anything if you put your mind to it.
So I'm going to make shoes. No, they ain't going to be pretty, not at first, anyway. I have to learn how to make shoes. But you have to start somewhere.
So given that, where does one start? In the first case, make a mould of your foot. In cobbler's terms, a last. A foot-shaped working surface on which to assemble your shoes.
I bought the rubber moulding compound to do this about a year ago and haven't had the courage to start. I guess it's time. In effect I'll be making a pair of custom rubber socks, into which I'll pour a moulding material such as plaster or resin to make the last itself.
But mould aside, how do you make a shoe? They don't teach you this stuff at school. As with most engineering projects, it's best to start by looking at work someone else has done, so to that end I've got hold of some discarded ladies shoes from a friend, and I'm about to dissect them. Pull them apart, even cut a pair in half with the bandsaw.
It's going to be messy, isn't it.