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.
Great care should be exercised, in getting out the original or standard model that plenty of room is given in the correct place and hat he shape should conform to the requirements of the foot for the purpose that the last is being made. For instance, the thickness of the ball of the great toe should be provided for, also the toes of lasts should be thick enough to allow toe room.
The models for machine turning only require one foot of one size, and models for casting iron lasts should have some allowance made for the contraction of the hot iron. An ideal-shaped last should be of the right shape adaptable to the purpose of the particular boot to be made thereform , and snug enough to confine the foot without any uneasy experience to the wearer. It should allow of an easy entrance to be made to the boot, keeping he foot in a healthy position. No injurious pressure should be in the boot made from the last, and no wrinkles of loose leather at any part. It should be graceful and easy, and combine a skill and knowledge that is obtained by a long, studious experience.
The errors that are often found in lasts are that the backs are often made too straight, and do not conform to the back of the foot. Seats are made too square and flat, and in iron lasts are often too large. The seats should be rounded and convex, as seen by Figs. 91 and 98a in contrast to 96 and 92. The arch of the waist of lasts used in factories is often too much hollowed on the outside. In shoe lasts the foreparts are often made too short, causing the toe to turn up in wear and the quarters to gape. Proper allowance in length should be made for pointed-toed lasts over those of squarer shape. The style of toe should be carefully formed, whether bevel (Fig. 90) or puff (Fig. 91), so as to give proper thickness to the toes that lie a little distance from the extreme end.
Fig. 98 a.
The Fitting up of Lasts requires much care and knowledge, if a good-fitting article is required. The measures, draft, etc., if taken by a different person than the last-fitter, should be carefully studied before selecting a last. In the selection of a suitable last for making bespoke, much judgment is needed, so that the last may not only conform in measurement but also in shape. The spring, style of toe, and tout ensemble must be such as the foot requires. Fig. 99 illustrates where the fittings should be placed to correspond with the draft. The plain outline is the draft, the dotted line the last, and the shaded portion the fittings.
Fittings are made of leather, and fixed to the last to increase its dimensions and contour. They should be so skived that when placed in position there are no sudden "ridges," but the increase should be gradual. Guttapercha is used for affixing to iron lasts. The usual fittings are named according to the position of fixing, such as joint and instep fitting, or shover, joint fitting, instep fitting, heel pin, toe pin, etc. In fixing upon the girths to be made in. is usually deducted from the measure for the instep, if the foot be "bony," while the joints are full up to measure. In a "fleshy" foot 1/8 in. less than the joint, and 1/4 in. less than the instep measures would be made. The illustration (Fig. 100) shows a last with an instep fitting and a heel-pin. Plaster casts of a foot and a worn-out boot will give many lessons to a careful observer on the art of fitting up. The fittings are sometimes simply placed, without consideration, to make up bulk. If the joint-measure be too small, a fitting is placed on top or on the outside joint to make it to the measurement, whereas the fitting may be required by thickness and roundness of the big toe joint. This fact will repay careful study, as allowing for the proper disposition of the joint measurements, providing the last is correct in other respects, will enable a neat fitting and comfortable shoe to be made that will not tread over. In Fig. 101, A is the section at the instep of a last that was used by a bespoke maker to make" specials" for a foot, a section of the cast of which is shown at Fig. 101, B. The sections of the same last and cast, measured longitudinally from the heel in identical position for the joint, is given in Fig. 102 A and Fig. 102 B for the last and cast respectively.
A well-fitted last should conform to the contour of the sole of the foot, and reproduce artistically the fundamental protuberances and hollows, and where prominent the ridge on the inside of the last should be gracefully continued to the toe, and the toes of the last will be thick enough in the right place to allow of the placing of the toes of the foot in the proper position. Lumps and dents should find no place in a fitted last, everything should be gracefully rounded and correctly positioned.