- Category Tools and equipment for materials
- Sub-category Leather, horn, shellworking tools and equipment
- Department History
- Museum CMH
- Materials Pine, Mammal leather, Metal
- Measurements Height 41.9 cm, Length 103.5 cm, Width 48.9 cm
- Related activity Shoemaking
- Caption The Shoemaker
Making boots and shoes does not demand a great deal of exertion but it does require precision and attention to detail. Accordingly, the shoemaker's work space is well-lit by one or more windows. At the most basic level, he needs only a small corner of the kitchen or another room where he can set up his work bench. His equipment, including his work bench, a sewing machine, a work table, shelves for storing resins and polishes, a box for leather scraps and a small tub for soaking stiff leather, are arranged in a compact space to avoid unnecessary movement. Since the shoemaker's shop is frequently a meeting place for village elders who come to gossip, exchange news with customers, and pass the time, the craftsman often provides a bench and chairs for their comfort.
To make a pair of boots or shoes, the shoemaker chooses the leather and treats it to remove irregularities and make it supple. Using patterns he has in stock, or perhaps the pieces of leather from an old pair of footwear, he cuts out the needed shapes at his work table. If he is making a pair of bottes de boeuf, he wears a leather apron and stitches the pieces together seated at his bench. What gives these boots much of their durability is the thick thread coated in a gooey mixture of resin, tar and fat that the shoemaker specially prepares. Working diligently at his bench, he can produce two pairs of bottes de boeuf during a day.