The great Lumberjocks shoe challenge #7: Measuring and cutting your block

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Blog entry by Jordan posted 1296 days ago 6193 reads 1 time favorited 42 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Class is in session - Creating a template Part 7 of The great Lumberjocks shoe challenge series Part 8: Sole food »

Part A.
1. You may now cut your wood into the proper dimensions, labelling the TOP and the INSIDE. After cutting, I sand mine lightly for a good drawing surface.

2. Scissor cut the outside of the template but do not contour the inside line.

3. Lay the template on the TOP of your block, matching the inside line with the inside edge of your block.
With a square, mark your centre register line on both front and back of the block.

4.Draw around the template.

5. You may now saw the contoured edges only. The reason I leave a solid edge is for cutting the side view on a stable base. It’s easier to carve the inside contours later with our Dremels.

6. Now that you have shaped one side, you may scissor cut the entire template and lay it reversed on the BOTTOM. You will have to see through your paper to match up your register lines.
Draw around the entire shape.

7. Now scissor cut the excess shoe body from the template and retrace just the sole. Don’t forget to add a few boo-boo wood dashes.

Part B

8. I’d now like you to cut a strip of paper about 1/2” wide and about 8-10” long. THis is so much more useful than a ruler., and no having to use a calculator to split 1/16” etc.

  • You are all doing a left shoe. Don asked me if I was left handed – on the contrary – But most people process information from left to right. If you draw a circle counter clockwise, you too will find it easier to do a left shoe.

9. Lay your paper strip on the toe area of your original shoe, that is the flattest and before the rise.
Make a pencil line on the strip at the tip of the toe.

10. Fold that section of paper in half (voila 50%!) and pencil in the fold line.
Use the paper to mark some distance points on your wood block. You can eyeball it or use any measuring device you choose, I find the paper method to be easy and accurate.
I usually mark it on top then use my square to draw down the side. Working with curves can get weird.

11.Repeat the process measure the height of the same area.(Remember, it’s the highest point we’re interested in.)

12. Now measure (with your paper) from your first point to the highest part of the foot hole-the tongue end.
Fold the paper in half and mark the point from which you will draw a slanted line.

13. At this point, you will have to add about 1/8” thickness for your laces and more for your knot. Not all laces start at the same points of the show but the rise is the same for most basic shoe styles..
I used my little paper to accurately place my knot.

14. Just for one final measurement, use your paper to make sure that the remainder of the wood is 1/2 of what you haven’t measured on your real shoe. If it isn’t, adjust now!

15. You may now saw cut your block of wood with the flat(inside) down. And if you’re very careful, you can nip off the toe and heel contours from the inside – it will save a lot of dust later.

If you are carving a boot, you will have to make one more vertical line to the top of your laces from the top of the instep that we have created from the shoe.

Congratulations, your shoe is now ready to carve!


42 comments so far

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1000 posts in 1883 days

#1 posted 1296 days ago

Great stuff, Jordan! This will be very fun to learn along with, even though I’m way too busy to try it myself this month.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View BigTiny's profile


1664 posts in 1390 days

#2 posted 1296 days ago

Hi Jordan.

Wild how-to blog my friend. Like Gary, I’m otherwise committed this month, but intend to follow this with interest and hope to carve my own when time permits.

Thank you for the highly interesting write up.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7195 posts in 1421 days

#3 posted 1296 days ago

This will be one of the most challenging parts for me, as (sigh) I don’t have access to a band saw. But I am already thinking and figuring a way to get to this point. I didn’t even think of that when starting. I am sure I will come up with something though. :)


-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18614 posts in 2662 days

#4 posted 1296 days ago

it already looks like a shoe!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7195 posts in 1421 days

#5 posted 1296 days ago

I was thinking the same MsDebbieP! (are we done yet?) :D

-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

View Eric_S's profile


1521 posts in 1697 days

#6 posted 1296 days ago

While I’m not doing the shoe challenge, it is still a joy to follow along with your lessons. Thanks for sharing your skills with the rest of us.

-- - Eric Indianapolis, IN

View dakremer's profile


2409 posts in 1593 days

#7 posted 1296 days ago

great blog! I cant wait to see how it turns out!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View StumpyNubs's profile


5968 posts in 1302 days

#8 posted 1296 days ago

I’m a size 10.5, and I like brown. I’ll give you my shipping address when they’re done.

-- It's the best woodworking show since the invention of wood... New episodes at:

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 1771 days

#9 posted 1296 days ago

Wow, this is great stuff Jordan. This should be retitled the shoe carving challenge for dummies (from the book series – those are great books for folks like me). The directions are really clear and easy to follow.

Scrollgirl…If I was closer I would be more then happy to lend a bandsaw to you (I have two of them in my shop right now)....but a scroll saw or a jig saw should work also (since we are doing 50%?) Or if the blank is too thick…cut as deep around the lines as you can and finish the cut with a coping or keyhole saw. I have a friend that cuts alot of his smaller stuff out with a reciprocating saw (he does turnings…but the method of cutting curves etc. is the same).

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Jordan's profile


1358 posts in 1626 days

#10 posted 1296 days ago

Scrollgirl…can your scroll saw work for this? I’m not familiar with how they work. Is there someone where you live – a machine shop perhaps, that can let you borrow theirs for a short time?
THanks Reggie – we posted at exactly the same time.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7195 posts in 1421 days

#11 posted 1296 days ago

Thank you so much, ReggieK! You guys are great. I think I have a lead on a band saw and I am going to mosey over there and see if I can do it. You can all laugh, but I am not used to band saws – I like the little blades that are as thin as your hair! But I will give it the college try.

The block is too thick for the scroll saw, unfortunately. I never even thought of that. But hopefully the band saw I want to use is up to the task. I know it isn’t used often. But where there is a will, there’s a way.

I will let you know how I do. :D


-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Sheila Landry Designs "Knowledge is Power"

View Jordan's profile


1358 posts in 1626 days

#12 posted 1296 days ago

That’s why I left a flat size for you to use as your base, Sheila, because if you try to cut a curved edge on a band saw, it can sometimes flip on you unless you strap it down. Just take it slow, the cuts are basic and not too lengthy.


View Karson's profile


34797 posts in 2902 days

#13 posted 1296 days ago

Great detqail Jordon. Now I’m 2 days behind.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

114 posts in 1340 days

#14 posted 1296 days ago

I think what you meant to say is that we should be doing the left shoe. I had step one all taken care of last night and was reading through step 2 when I discovered that I do draw circles counter-clockwise. So I made two templates last night! One for the right foot and a second for the left foot.

View Jordan's profile


1358 posts in 1626 days

#15 posted 1296 days ago

Well, there you go – if you get courageous – you can make a pair!
Glad the blogs are understandable for all.
I will probably get the third one up tonight or tomorrow but don’t rush, it’s just that I can’t save more than one blog at a time without publishing it.


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