Category Archives: Tools of the Trade

“These Boots” Music Video

“These Boots” by Eric Church. Church visited bootmakers and designers at the Lucchese factory in El Paso TX.

Don’t miss..

  • cording w/ glamorous knife> note: silver leather w/ fringe (1:18)
  • pegging (2:44)
  • gulping tacks (3:37)

I’ve been in a boot factory only once. Even without the soundtrack there is a unique rhythm that comes from making pair after pair. Leather moving from hand to hand.

Visit Lucchese’s blog, The Last Word.

Tools of the Trade: Order Books

Once upon a time, bootmakers used “order books.” These were big hardcover books that remind me of the world atlas my sister and I shared when were kids. Back then, pages were big and I was small… and I had to use my whole arm to turn a page.

Here’s how they work. Each customer would stand on the book, both their feet would be traced, and their measurements written down. Once the book was full, the bootmaker would start another.

If you look inside and old custom boot you’ll often see a couple numbers, like 8-86. It’s secret code… you need to open order book #8 and turn to page 86. There you will find the customer’s name, measurements and usually the original selling price of the cowboy boots.

Nowadays most bootmakers use file folders. Sigh.

Photos taken at James Leddy Boots (Abilene, TX)

Tools of the Trade: Crimp Break

A crimp break belonging to Tex Robin (Abilene, TX.)

Custom bootmakers will “crimp” the vamp (the leather across the top of the foot and toe of a boot) before attaching it to a cowboy boot’s sole. A crimp break takes away much the stretch from the leather using the pressure from the crank handle…and gives the vamp its curve. The vamp is then removed from the break and placed on a crimping board for even more shaping and drying.