Saturday, May 9, 2009

Workshop Visit - The Cobbler

The last visit with my cobbler was different. No, it was not the considered replies to my questions on shoe care and repair, nor the discussions on the cobblers' craft, as those take place each visit, but the opportunity to take a look at the workshop in the back of the store.

A Tour:

The shop had equipment - brushes, sanders, glue tables, presses, heaters, sand blasters, stitch machines and countless others - for all manner of shoe repairs.

Whether bonded or stitched in construction, shoes in all kinds of conditions find their way into the shop. Below is an extreme example of a pair of shoes in disrepair where new life - a new insole, mid-sole and outer sole - can still be breathed into them.

Lasts are used during major repairs, such as the one required above, to support the shape of the shoe.

With the use of quality materials, old shoes might come out looking better than when they were new. Here a leather sole bearing the quality mark of the German Traditional Tanners' Association.

Other Tidbits:

* The shop sees 50 pairs of shoes on an average day, 100 pairs on peak days. A conveyor system similar to that at a dry cleaner is being considered.
* Staff regularly attend conventions, enter contests and partake in a weekly shoe school held at the store. Their passion for their craft shows in the numerous awards and certifications displayed on the store's walls.
* The number of cobblers has been in decline over the past decades, but those that remain are increasingly sought after for their craft.

My thanks goes out to Ron and his staff at the Quick Cobbler for sharing their love of shoes.

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