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My father, like most working class fathers at the time, saved money by repairing our family's shoes - or rather, boots, as that was what we all wore, apart from on Sundays and special occasions. It was cheaper for him to do it rather than to use a local 'cobbler' [shoe mender].
He always seemed ready to repair my boots once he knew that they needed it, but he usually did not know. I well remember him asking to look at my feet, and lo and behold! There was a hole in the sole of my foot. There was a lot of "tut-tutting" and "Didn't you know there was a nail sticking up?". Of course I did, but one did not readily complain in my childhood.
My father mended our shoes with leather.
First he soaked the leather in water to soften it and make it more pliable.
Then he took off the worn leather, put on the new and cut it neatly to shape.
My father had his own hobbing foot. This was a length of wood about 6 inches in diameter and about three feet high with a hole in the top to hold a piece of metal in the shape of foot.
There were three sizes: men's, women's, and children's.
When he had a boot or shoe to repair, he chose the best size of last, put it onto the hobbing foot and then put the boot or shoe on top of that. Finally he placed the whole contraption between his legs, and sat down using his knees to support it. He would have looked rather like the main in the drawing.
His other tools and implements were a bradawl for making holes, a hammer and nails and a very sharp knife for cutting the leather to shape. There was also some black stuff that he put round the outside of the sole, which he finished off with a small, hot tool. I think this was waterproofing but I'm not sure. He polished the boots and shoes with a hard beeswax polish, sold for the purpose.
If the man used a bradawl, he would have been stitching on soles, using pitch tar for sealing.
For nailing on soles, he would have had to have the special pincers used by cobblers. These had sharp jaws for getting a grip on headless nails. At the end of one handle was a nail puller and at the end of the other a small ball for hitting with a hammer to punch the nail heads below the level of the leather to avoid getting worn through - see my sketch. Not shown is the loop of string or leather that went over the arch of the boot and under one of his feet to hold it in place, so freeing both his hands. One hand positioned the nails which were stored in the his mouth and the other used the hammer.