This section is from the book "The Manufacture Of Boots And Shoes: Being A Modern Treatise Of All The Processes Of Making And Manufacturing Footgear", by F. Y. Golding. Also available from Amazon: The Manufacture Of Boots And Shoes.
The cutting of upper leathers is an important branch of the manufacture of boots and shoes. It requires a knowledge of the materials to be cut, and the keen judgment to dispose of the various parts of the skin in the most satisfactory direction. Rigid adherence to the systematic placing of the pattern on the skin cannot be advocated, owing to the character of the material cut into uppers. Skins which come from the same class of animals differ in their quality. The various parts of the skin differ in their relative quality, so that it is impossible to give rigid instructions in the cutting, which would not have to be considerably modified in the practice of actual cutting. Although the want of uniformity in the skins prevents the utilization of defined systems, the study of systems of placing the various patterns, the disposition of the leather in the boot (either to produce a cheap cutting or a good quality line) to produce the best results in manufacture or wear, etc., is not to be despised. The very want of uniformity in the material operated upon demands the systematic training of the mind and the ready manipulation of the patterns upon the skin.
The art of clicking is acquired by a considerable experience, and much valuable time could be saved by a careful preparation outside the board practice. Many failures in the earlier stages of a clicker's career is through the want of not knowing what to do rather than not being able to do it. The more a cutter gets to know about the after processes of his trade the better for his productions, always assuming that he is able to adapt his knowledge to his work.
Hides (the skins of larger animals, such as oxen, horses, etc.), Skins (from calves, goats, sheep, deer, seal, etc.), and Kips (the small or yearling cattle) are used for the manufacture of upper leather. They vary considerably in thickness or substance, and quality. In proportion to the improvement in the breed of cattle do the hides become less thick; in the higher breeds they are thin and spready. The difference in substance and quality of the skin from the same class of animals is accounted for by the age, kind of breed, state of health, or the food of the animal from which the hide is taken. Large animals of a class afford skins or hides that are thick and heavy in proportion in the neck. Skins from the younger animals are the finest in the grain, and take the dye better when coloured. The sex of the animal from which the skin is taken affects the quality of the leather produced therefrom, that made from the female being finer in texture and lighter in the necks than those from the male. The mode of preventing purification of the skin, during its removal from the place of slaughter to the tanyard, affects the quality of the leather when it is made. Some are dried, others are salted, and before the tanning operations can be commenced, the skin has to be restored to its green condition.