1. Before we start to power carve, I must remind you to wear a dust mask and glasses or safety goggles.
Also, at 35,000 rpm, a rough burr caught in your sweater for even a second will snap your flex shaft cable immediately! I have been unsuccessful in replacing just the cable because once snapped, they are hard to remove, so I’ve made many an unexpected trip to the store to buy a whole new shaft.
Your rotary bits spin away from you so if it gets too close to a far edge, it can run right over your fingers so just be careful and pay attention to what you’re doing while the machine is running.
For you new flex shaft users, if your shaft seems to feel like it vibrates unevenly, simply loosen your bit and rotate it a bit or push it in further. Sometimes the bit itself is imbalanced.
2. Okay, let’s deal with that bend in the sole. Use your handy measuring paper to mark the points where the bend is the highest and lowest from the table to the shoe. (Remember to fold your paper in half for an accurate 50%).
Draw a line from the toe inwards to the lowest point.
3. I will mention that sometimes the bend is higher on one side than the other so measure on both sides. Then draw a line on the bottom connecting both sides.
4. Using a belt sander, band saw, bench grinder or your Dremel sanding mandrels, get rid of the excess. If you use a belt sander, hold the shoe backwards and start your sand at the toe.
5. In my case, I had to sand a bit off the back as well.It doesn’t have to be perfect as your sole details are yet to come.
6. Scissor cut the outline to the dashes area from your paper template and redraw your sole on the bottom. This will be the outline you will carve to. If the new bend creates a slight length difference, don’t worry, just adjust the template back and forth so the arch area is in tact and there is a slight bit of boo-boo wood around the rest of your outline.
7. You will see now that I have placed dashes around my shoe that indicate the top of my sole sides. I then connected the dots. The most strategic dashes should be at the toe, the arches and the heel but the more areas you measure, the easier it is to connect the dashes with a solid line.
8.It’s now time to start your engines and trim your soles. This will give you some light experience with your power tools as there is not a lot to grind off. I’m sorry I cannot be with each of you to hold your hand as you start to see your wood fly off, but it’s time to throw you from the nest and leave you to make mistakes or create successes as they come.
9. Start at the arch. If your arch is straight up and down, you have it good. Just use your rough flat cylinder bit to remove the excess.
If your sole angles or tilts wider at the bottom, then tilt your bit. Remember, the sole template you drew was from the bottom end, it may change in width as it meets the shoe body.
10. Use your powers of observation to see how the rest of your sole meets your shoe. Does it contour in and then back again? Does it go straight up and down with little jut? Does it wave higher at the heel? – most joggers have a chunky ribbed sole that angles out slightly at the bottom but has a v shape as it meet the shoe. -most canvas runners have a straight up and down sole with a tiny bit of rubber between it and the shoe – most boots and hard shoe soles jut out further from the shoe.
As you can see, mine has a V contour to the shoe so I am not afraid to angle my rough bit in to make a V cut around everywhere but the little black tab on the toe. My shoe body is thinner than my sole and will have to be trimmed so I’m not worried if I cut in a little with my V or remove some of the shoe body as I go along.
11. Once you have cut into the arch area, you may round the shoe arch area to make your sole a little more accessible.
Work this way around the entire sole to the outline, leaving just a smidgen of wood for final sanding and detailing.
12. When you feel comfortable, you may like to draw and shape some of the details and ribs on the side of the sole with some of your smoother bits.
You will notice that I didn’t do much on the toe. That’s because the next blog is entitled toe and heel at which point we will taper the width of them so your sole will curve easier around them. Nor did I detail a lot of the lines and such because as the top of the shoe disappears, I may have to grind a bit of the sole sides down.
I can only remind you to keep turning your shoe around and around until the sole and your original shoe look the same in your eyes.
Remember that you do not have to take all of the wood off in one pass. Grind lightly until you get the feel of the depth you are making – you can always take off more bit by bit but if you take too much at once…well, you know what will happen.
You may also use the less aggressive sanders if you are afraid to gouge too deep. You will know when you get fed up with them.
This will be the last blog until mid week so I can get some feedback as to how you all are doing.