I finally broke down and took the time to figure out a better technique for building heels and wedges. The guess work we have all been doing in this department has gone on long enough; it’s time to actually use some math and figure this out legit style.
First, I propped my last up at the intended heel height and then did an aerial trace of the last.
Next, I figured out the thickness of my soling leather. It was approximately 3/16″ thick. I then took my intended heel height of 2 1/2 “, and divided the thickness into it, hence give me the number of layers I needed to acheive the proper height. For this last and the soling leather I was using, I need 14 layers.
I then squared off a piece of oaktag and drew in the lines representing these layers, spacing them at 3/16” like my soling leather. This layer indicating card was then held behind the last, and I was then able to roughly mark the curve of the last, letting me see how what size each piece of stacked leather should be.
Next, I marked in perpendicular lines to the layers, which indicate where layer ends. Then, I transferred these lines onto my aerial trace, squaring off the layers to the heel.
Once this was completed, I traced all 14 layers onto their own pattern pieces, making a fitting piece for each layer. This keeps my from wasting so much leather while guessing the size and shape, and keeps me from having to later sand for a decade.
I traced and cut the pieces, then glued them together into my preliminary wedge.
Now that I have done this once, I see that I added a little too much sanding allowance. I will cut down the patterns for next time so that I can be even more accurate from the start, and have to sand less later.
above is the final sanded wedge, shown with the top layer added after sanded the arc smooth. For this piece and the inner sole on these boots (shown later) I molded veg tan soling leather to the last. For the piece shown above, after the molding had dried, I sanded the bottom completely flat, giving me a perfect fit from the last to the inner sole to the wedge itself.