Here is what you need to be able to practice this traditional craft:
A suitable waterfall and some pipes to lead the water to the mill.
Lots of belts and wheels to transfer the power from the mill to the machinery.
The belts will have to crisscross the room from top to bottom, – and back again, – several times.
You need some pieces of wood, preferably not dry, some templates, and a saw.
Can you see what you are going to make?
If you have guessed wooden shoes, or clogs, you have guessed right. Above is a stack of them ready for the next step.
The piece in the middle is the template, and there is a sensor which follows the form of the template so the two shoes to the right and left are cut exactly the same, – except that for one of them, the belts have been turned so there will be one left and one right shoe of the same size.
When the two wooden pieces have been fastened on either side, you can just start the machine, and it will finish the outline of the shoes while you go outside to smoke a cigarette or drink a cup of coffee, – not so very different from the advanced embroidery machines of today.
It does not take long to make a whole bunch, – but there also needs to be holes for the feet.
But you will also need room for the toes….
…. and this machine will help you do that.
Again, there is a template in the middle, with a sensor to help cut the other two the exact same form, – this time only for left or right shoes at a time.
You grab the handles and move the set of shoes up, – down, – left, – right, – to make a suitable hole for the toes. Not so very different from the way you steer a longarm quilting machine.
With some practice, you can make beautiful shoes.
Wooden shoes, or clogs, was the everyday shoewear for many people only a generation ago. The photos in this post were taken at the old mill Sellevåg Treskofabrikk close to Skjerjehamn in Gulen, north of Bergen. The mill is in the process of being restored to become a museum.
The plan is to have all the beautiful old machinery in proper working order till next summer.
Then everyone may come and see how this was really done more than a hundred years ago.