Making a last (1) – Modifying the outline

Making a last (1) – Modifying the outline

Modify a commercially available last based on the draft I made.

Get a wooden last

First, get a wooden mold that is close to the size of the draft.
Also available on Amazon and other mail order.
There are two types of last: “wooden last” made from actual wood and “plastic last” made from molded plastic. In the past, there were only wooden last, but nowadays, plastic last are the mainstream.

In Japan, where there is a high temperature and humidity, wooden last are stretched and contracted due to climate change, which results in poor dimensional reproducibility, and there is a risk of cracking and warping due to long-term storage.

Also, if you make several pairs of shoes with the same wooden last, you can’t hold the nails, so you need to re-fill the nail holes, etc., but the frequency of repair work is also less with the plastic mold.

The good thing about the wooden last is that it is easy to rework from a wooden last to a shoe-tree (shoe-keeper).

One advantage may be that it can be displayed because it looks cool.

If you are not particularly keen on wood, I would definitely recommend a plastic wooden last.

If you are not particularly keen on wood, I would definitely recommend a plastic wooden last.

Correcting the contours of the wooden last

Firstly, I adjusted a commercially available wooden last for one foot (the larger foot) to fit the draft, then I asked a last maker to make an inverted last of the adjusted one to fit the draft of the other foot.

It will take about three months to adjust the last.

I’m hoping to have one leg of this completed by the end of the year.

Aligning the last to the draft to see the misalignment between the draft and the last

Using the same pencil as when you made the draft, trace the outline of the last on the draft using the inside joint, ankle and heel as a reference.

Check the draft and traced wooden lines to see if they are out of alignment.

In the area larger than the draft, the last is sanded down

Stick the leather in small places.


While correcting the last, I traced the outline many times in accordance with the draft, but the way of tracing is not stable, and the position of the line is misaligned every time I trace.

I don’t know which line should use for reference…

Fortunately, the mismatch between my wife’s legs and the outline of the last wasn’t that big, so I was able to complete the contour correction relatively quickly.

That said, if I do the math, it’s already taken me about 6 hours just to fix the contours… 💦