How it’s made
I am not an absolute purist in the way I make clogs – I just want to make the best clogs I possibly can, that fit well, sound right, and look great. I use some basic machinery for making the soles, including a bandsaw and electrically powered sanding machines. However, this doesn’t mean the resulting soles aren’t ‘handmade’!
My soles are made individually and can therefore be tailored to an individual’s requirements. This is very different from the use of machines such as copy lathes which is more of a mass-production approach.
I use sycamore for my soles. This comes from sustainable sources including local forestry operations and the National Trust. Using wood ‘in the round’ means it takes longer to prepare – but the thicker sections enable soles with a higher cast: very important for dancing in – and better for walking in, too.
As I mentioned, I use some machine tools for roughly shaping clog soles. However, the fine shaping work is done using traditional stock knives (below) which would be familiar to a clog maker from 100 years ago.
‘Standard’ clog uppers are made with the aid of a treadle-powered sewing machine. ‘Best’ clog uppers are stitched by hand where stated.
When making leather goods, I use a variety of fascinating and unusual hand tools – many of which come from right here in Sheffield – and work entirely by hand, including stitching 100% by hand using traditional saddle stitching and linen thread.
Most Leather for Folkies products are made using vegetable tanned leather – that is to say, the conversion of the raw hide into leather is achieved by chemical reaction with tree bark, twigs, leaves etc. all mixed up into a lovely soup in which the hides are soaked for several weeks.
The resulting leather is just lovely, and will soften and take on a super patina over time.
The basic leather is European – much of it British in origin – and is dyed and finished in the West Midlands. Some leather is supplied undyed and then tooled and/or hand dyed in-house, and this leather is 100% British in origin.
Occasionally, lining leather is used and this is normally mineral tanned pig skin, again of European origin.
Other bits and bobs
Metal fittings on leather goods are all of the best quality. Most of the brass-looking bits are solid cast brass. (Occasional items are steel-based and brass plated where there is no alternative.) Silvery-looking things tend to be nickel-plated steel. Coloured rivets and buckles are available to special order.
Overall, my leather goods are designed with durability in mind, as well as to look fabulous. No specific guarantee is implied but most items should last for a few decades at least, if you look after them. Repairs and replacements of broken straps, tabs etc. can be carried out at any time.