Tools of the Shoe Trade: Pincers

Shoe Pincers

The process of traditional shoemaking involves a whole host of specialist tools and techniques. We’re making it our mission to introduce you to some of them. In this post we’re looking at a very useful traditional tool; pincers.

Bespoke shoemaking can be very fiddly work. When you are working on such a small scale, it’s important to be able to manoeuvre delicate cuts of leather and stitching easily and effectively.

Pincers are a traditional hand tool used to pinch, cut or pull. They are handy for getting traction on tiny or awkward objects, and we’re pretty certain no self-respecting shoemaker would get to work without them.

This tool is very similar in nature to pliers. In fact, one of the most commonly used types of pincers among shoemakers is the lasting pliers. These are beaked pincers with an attached hammer face.

Lasting pliers are popular with shoemakers as they allow them to do two different jobs without needing to switch tool. The curved pincers are designed to grip the shoe leather in order to manoeuvre it onto the lasting board. Once the shoemaker has done this, they can then use the hammer face to hammer in lasting tacks in order to make sure everything stays in place.

Alternatively, some pincers are designed with sharpened perpendicular cutting edges. This gives shoemakers the option to make small cuts with their pincers. These types of pincer are often called end-nippers or end-cutters.

In short, pincers are a versatile tool that can be used in multiple ways during the shoemaking process. The bespoke shoemaker’s workbench would not be the same without them!

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