T = Tandy Leather – www.tandyleathercompany.com If possible, get a wholesale account

H = Hide and Leather House – www.hidehouse.com

GN = Garlin-Neuman

OTB = Ohio Travel Bag – www.ohiotravelbag.com

SR = Sharon Raymond –  http://www.etsy.com/shop/simpleshoemaking

W = Henry Westphal, (212)563-5990 – sells Osborne Tools and is based in New York City

WL = Weaver Leather, www.leathersupply.com

LL = Landwerlen Leather, (317)636-8300, Indianapolis, IN

SL = Springfield Leather, www.springfieldleather.com

F – www.frankfordleather.com

Lasts: email Gabriela Gonzalez <trafico@hormaselarbol.com> – if you want single pairs of lasts or a set, this company in Mexico will make copies of the same oblique-toed, low-heeled lasts, # 1100.I recommend getting slip-lasts, with a little hinge for shortening and lengthening the last – you don’t need a lasting post with this style.

They will make copies of any lasts that you have. Work it out so you pay by check, it takes longer to process but you save quite a bit of money on the type of bank transfer that they prefer receiving.

To find other lasts, look on Ebay, etsy, www.shoedoo.com, or www.walrusshoe.com if you want a whole “run” of lasts in all sizes and widths


CS Osborne tack hammer No. 236 (W) or other small-head hammer

lasting stand – Lasts have to be “cracked” at their hinge to get them in and out of shoes. Lasts can be cracked when a rod is inserted in the hole at the top of the last – you can make your own by inserting a 3/8″ iron rod in a vise, or by welding (or by having welding) the 3/8″ rod to a metal base.

CS Osborne lasting pliers (#233) (W)

CS Osborne shoemaking pincers (#93) (W) – for pulling nails from sole of shoe after lasting process is complete

CS Osborne EZ-cut Leather Shears (W), or purchase (T) Craftool scissors if you have a wholesale account – 3050-00

CS Osborne Scratch Awls (W)

Osborne three-prong thonging chisel, #493, 1/8” – (W) makes stitches ¼” apart, or the 4-prong-punch can be used if you want a less-expensive punch, which places the stitching holes a little closer together (T).

Stitching awl – You can get a “speedy stitcher” to stitch an additional sole, but I prefer Osborne Sewing awl haft (S) (W) – TL-145 $9.70 with Osborne TL413N8 straight sewing awl needle, (T) 1198-05 (fine) or 1198-08 (heavy), $4.40

To insert the needle, screw off the part that screws off, and pry the 4 prongs that hold the needle apart a bit so needle can be inserted deeper into the haft; then replace the part that screws off.

A motorized method for making stitching holes when sewing uppers to soling : Dremel tool with above speedy stitcher needle inserted instead of a drill bit – it’s much less messy than when using a drill bit. A Dremel drill press makes the task more manageable. Dremel tools are available at hardware stores, and the drill press at Amazon.com

Punches and mauls:

I recommend the rotary punch from (WL) – 656230 –  the anvil never gets pitted (you have to order a minimum at Weaver, order a maul from them too – 652500 – $49.95 and a Novolene Chopping Block 65-2910, $19.25 – it’s the board for placing under leather when punching holes that I recommend) – or use a wood end-cut cutting board, and sand or plane it down after it gets pitted and start pounding all over again on a clean surface!

From Tandy or Springfield Leather:

Glover’s needles – 1191-11 large, or 119113 small, $8.99/pack – sharp diamond-shaped tip

Harness needles – 1192-13 – $6.99 – use for butt-stitching leather using x and bar stitch, and stitching topline or any overlapping upper seams.

Craftool 1/8” chisel, 1 prong – 8044-00 – $5.99 – Use this for punching stitching slits like those made by the Osborne thonging chisel when going around a corner


Mini – Anvil – 3101-00 – $9.99, to use as a base when pounding rivets together or pounding clinching nails into soles on a last

Steel double-cap rivets – small – 1371 – $4.99/pack

Sandal buckles – 1515 – $1.79 each, or get catalog from OTB for a large buckle assortment

Industrial knife – 3595 – $29.99

Marble slab  – 32228 – $29.99 – use to skive on (or get a piece of safety glass from a junk yard)

Wing dividers – T – 3607- $9.99


I recommend Ecoweld from Tandy Leather: it’s a non-toxic, strong contact cement for all cementing uses except holding on a sole.


Natural (plantation) crepe, available in 13 x 48” sheets – made from rubber tree sap, biodegradable: available from Shreiner Company, PO Box 347, Killbuck, OH 44637, 1-800-7229915 – I use black or dark honey#3 (light honey is #5), 9 iron is 1/8” thick, 12 is 1/4” thick, and 15 iron is 3/8” thick. There is a minimum order of $200.00 of any one product. Or purchase single sheets from www.frankfordleather.com

Heavy suede soling: (H) sells 4-5 ounce suede in colors that match thinner suede that you can use for uppers. Or, use two layers of the thinner suede for your soling. Landwerlyn sells even thicker dance-suede soling.

For vegetable-tanned soling leather, Wickett and Craig offers quality skirting in 8-10 and10-12 ounce weight. They will cut it thinner at extra charge.

I sell ¼” natural plantation crepe soles and vegetable-tanned 8-10 ounce leather cut to the size of my patterns, or as 8″ x 11″ sheets, see www.etsy.com/shop/simpleshoemaking.

If you want to use neoprene soling, Vibram Pyramid sheets or unit soles can be obtained from local shoe-repair supply sources, or from www.cobblersupplies.com or www.frankfordleather.com

Stitching machines:

If you want to speed up production – I have been pleased with my Cowboy Stitcher #CB-3500, cost around $2,000.00, available from Toledo Industrial Sewing Machines, 3631 Marine Road, Toledo, OH 43609, (866)372-7397, sewmun@aol.com.

I use #138 – 207 – 277 thread with this machine, with a short stitch-length when stitching parts of uppers together, and ¼” stitch when stitching uppers to soles.

Hand-cranked patcher from www.patcher


for stitching machines is available from Toledo Machines or (WL)

Waxed braided cord – (T) I love this cord for stitching uppers, and uppers to soles – in other words, everything! It doesn’t kink or curl, nice and smooth, and comes in great colors, even multi!

I now mostly use the 1.0 mm waxed braided cord – tyger thread – available from www.etsy.com/shop/LeatherWurx

Sewing awl thread #1205 – (T) – $24.99/spool, available in white, natural, brown and black

Wool felt for insoles can be found at www.Aetnafelt.com


I purchase 4-5 ounce chrome-tanned leather for uppers at Hide House, or Garlin-Neumann. Garlin-Neumann has some great prices and will send you sample.

I keep vegetable-tanned pigskin lining in natural and black (99134) and/or garment pigskin splits, (99280) on hand (T). Garlin-Neumann also sells some pigskin lining.

If you live in the Indianapolis area, Landwerlen Leather has an amazing variety of soling and other supplies for shoe repair shops, such as eyelets and eyelet setter (but not leather). They will also accept telephone orders, call to see if they have what you are looking for.

The Honorable Cordwainers Company – a group for US independent boot, shoe and sandal-makers – forum: www.bootmaker.com/Crispin Colloquy. There is an annual convention in late October, see you there when it’s in the Northeast!

If you’d like to explore the totally-lasted shoemaking process, in which the upper leather is turned under the last and the sole is cemented on, Bespoke Shoemaking by Tim Skyrme is a beautifully­-and-meticulously-illustrated essential book on this topic.



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