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Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:20 pm
by ben
What wood would you use for wooden patterns for ones feet?
Or does it not matter greatly?
I'm assuming that the woods would be constrained to timber types readily available in the period, but any advice beyond that?

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:48 pm
by lucy the tudor
Alder, is ideal, bit difficult to get in the right thickness though.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:33 am
by Brother Ranulf
The Museum of London book on "Shoes and Pattens" mentions alder, willow, poplar and beechwood among surviving pattens found in excavations in London. The book gives the traditional way of working alder:

"... it has been normal practice to cut out the soles roughly while the wood is still green, to leave them to dry out, and then to complete the final shaping after any initial shrinkage has occurred."

Depending on your chosen time period, various forms of patten would be appropriate:

12th/13th/14th century pattens are generally carved from a single block of wood, with either a single integral wooden wedge and a metal stand, fitted to the foot with a single crossover leather strap - or with two or three integral wooden wedges. This type is not hinged.

Later 14th/15th century pattens are flat, often hinged and may be poulaine shaped and fitted with heel straps.

So, early pattens are solid with wedge-shaped supports beneath, much like Japanese geta, later ones seem to be more fashionable, flat and hinged.

Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:53 pm
by John Waller
I seem to recall an ruling forbidding the use of poplar by pattern makers as it was the wood of choice for making arrow shafts. I don't recall the date though.

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:04 am
by m300572
Alder was probably used as it was fast growing and easy to work green - 19th C clog soles were made from alder - in the Neath area of S Wales, the clog sole bodgers used to come down to the alder woods, spend the summer roughing out the soles and then shovelled them into the river - a net stretched across the river at the nearest road bridge caught them, saving a lot of carrying down the woodland tracks.

When I was doing some reconstructions in Somerset I used a lot of alder, given to the project by the local NNR - one Jack Green used to aquire the really thick butt ends of the poles to make pattens from. So if you can find a landowner with the right thickness of timber you may be able to persuade him to let you cut some of it - it grows back like a weed when coppiced like that.

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 1:49 pm
by gregory23b
JOhn, I think it may have been to do with best quality for arrows, next for pattens, something is niggling me too, re aspen/poplar and pattens....

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:42 pm
by Brother Ranulf
The London patten finds show the use of Alnus species (alder) from the 13th to the 15th century; these represent some 45 per cent of the wood used. Willow and poplar (taken together, as they are almost impossible to differentiate in archaeological terms) are around 40 per cent over the same time span; other woods make up the remainder.

The London Museum book mentions aspen (populus tremula) and gives the 1464-65 quotation you are thinking of:

"Asp timber be the best and lightest timber, thereof to make pattens and clogs" - it was enacted about this time that pattens could henceforth be made of "such timber as asp, that is not apt or sufficient , nor convenient to be made into arrowshafts. (4 Edw iv c.9).

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:13 pm
by John Waller
Brother Ranulf,
the ref I was thinking of is from 1416. I don't have the exact quote but Hardy says in Warbow that the London fletchers complained to parliament that although 'fletchers have always used Aspen to make arrows, and nothing else' the patternmakers in the city had also taken to using Aspen for the manafacture of patterns and clogs'.