I still have a tremendous frustration with getting lasts that match my feet. Winter’s coming and all I have to wear is a poorly fitted pair of expensive custom boots. Honestly, the 10th century shoes I made are more comfortable, though they rub the ends of my toes, have zero support and are worthless in the wet. If I can get lasts made I can remake the boots into something that will work for me and be worth close to what I paid for them. I can also make shoes for everyday wear that are comfortable.
So, I’ve been doing more research. I found a guy who made shoe lasts out of A20 RTV silicone rubber. Hmm. To make a mold to accurately reflect the shape and size of the foot, the foot should be weight bearing during the casting phase but that’s the only issue I have with his method.
I want to make a clay base to stand on, then pour the alginate around my foot while standing on the clay pad. I don’t need to come up my leg as far as he did. Using clay for the bottom should give me a reusable 2 part mold, though alginate is not a product I expect to hold up for long. There’s a potter on Main in Chehalis. I’ll stop in and see if I can buy a couple pounds of worked clay. If not I can stop and dig some out of a bank somewhere. It’ll take longer to get it ready but it will work as well. It’s been decades since I’ve wedged clay but I haven’t forgotten how. I have Plaster of Paris for a wedging table and enough scrap lumber to knock one together.
Once the casting is done I’ll add material around the toes until I have models I can make molds from whenever I need to. I can get 2 part fiberglass resin for permanent molds. Lorr says he’s got a casting material that mimics spruce. That’ll be a good test material for lasts.
I occasionally toy with the idea of carving my own lasts. I’d need more chisels and gouges than I’ve got. I wouldn’t start from scratch. I’ve got 5 pair of women’s lasts I can cut apart and scab material to to get the right width. With the models of my feet to work from I think I can get really close to what I need. It’s a lot of unnecessary work if I can get molds made and find the right casting material.