Posts Tagged ‘stirrup’

Strapping it down with the stirrup…

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Another essential tool (at least for me) used in many parts of the shoemaking process is the stirrup. The stirrup is basically a long, belt-like strap with a buckle in it to allow it to loosen and tighten. The idea is to act as a second pair of hands to hold something in place while you work on it. Let’s place the stirrup in historical context first, and then explain how I use it.

The earliest pictorial evidence of stirrup use that I know of is from the donor stained glass windows dated to 1205-1225 in the Chartres Cathedral of Notre-Dame. Both Marc Carlson and Larsdatter have several images of these and other images of shoemakers with (and without!) stirrups.

Many of the illustrations show the shoemaker strapping a shoe (or something – sometimes, we cannot tell) to the top of their knee or thigh, with the strap passing underneath the foot to provide tension.