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.
This is the simplest and most mechanical method of cutting a forme. It was first published in 1884. Since then it has been improved in detail, and the illustration (Fig. 103) will show the principal process. The modus operandi is as follows. The last for which the forme is required is taken and a mark made in the centre of the last on the top of the toe, and at the instep. These two points are connected by using a flexible rule, strip of card, or a sketched lead-pencil line. The back of the last is similarly divided by a straight line. Two pieces of paper are now taken and the last laid on its side upon them. The paper is cut round to the shape of the last, only about an inch larger than that required to fit the last. It is now serrated for notched, and one piece fastened - if a wood last, by means of a tack or drawing-pin, as shown in Fig. 103 - to the last. The paper is bent to the last - care being taken that it is not pulled up, but down, imitating as far as convenient the direction of pulling followed by the laster - and where the strips cross the leaded straight line it is cut off, or folded to the line, and, after it has been removed from the last, cut on the board. This is followed all the way up the front and down the back of the last, and along the feather, turning or cutting it in the waist to the previously marked insole-shape. This completed, and removed from the last, the same process to be repeated for the other side. These are termed inside and outside formes respectively, as they are taken from the inner or outer sides of the last.
* Forme is taken from the French, and corresponds to our "last." It is also called ."last-shape."
The serrations are likely to cause several errors, which if not corrected are calculated to cause trouble during lasting. Corrections may be made by totalling the amounts of openings when laid to the last.
The formes require now to be averaged, so as to obtain a mean forme, that will enable both sides of the cover to be symmetrical, as is the trade custom. If the covers were produced from the two formes, they would be termed " rights and lefts." To average the formes, one of them is taken and laid upon a piece of paper and carefully marked round. The other forme is laid over this tracing, and also marked round. By splitting the distance between the curves in the several parts by a fresh line the mean forme is obtained.
This system of forme-making is recommended to obtain the knowledge of shape required in a flat pattern to fit the varying contour of the last. It is also suggested as a good plan to obtain the relative curves and relations of the leg and foot by using pieces of lining roughed to the shape of the leg and foot, and after serrating, pinning them together. Much information may thus be obtained. The same method may be used for an iron last, using copying lead pencil to mark the front and back sectional line, and cutting the rough shapes of paper from blotting-paper which, when damped and the last laid upon it, will leave a stain where it crosses the marked line. A little sealing-wax may also be used to fasten ordinary paper to the last. If due care has been taken to counteract the tendency of the paper to curl up, or alter its 'plane, during bending to the last, by pulling it slightly in the direction of the laster's pulls, this method produces accurate results, and for a training method cannot be equalled.
The Marking or Measuring System requires the knowledge of the curves and proportions of the previous method's training, but is quicker and a practical workshop method. The principle of the system is that the points of measurement on the last and pattern are identical, and are all measured from a fixed point.* It enables a pattern to be produced that is calculated to lend itself to the usual method adopted in "lasting," and the differences that may be required in the fitting of an upper for various substances of materials can be made upon a uniform principle, and not simply by guesswork. The greater the number of points of measurement used, other things being equal, the better. For practical use, the following are recommended: length, toes, joints, and instep. To insure uniformity, the "table of distances from the toe," given in the last chapter, should be used for locating the "points" of measurement.