I have applied for concessions/licenses for several categories of non-protected trades. There are about 80 of those in CZ, knifemaking is only a part of one of them and the fee is the same whether one applies for one or for all of them. There are some really, really peculiar things in this system – knife-making is in the same category as welding and making of steel constructions, and knife-sharpening is in a different category that includes repairs of non-electrical house appliances. So in the course of applying for some of the crafts that I actually intend to do I also automatically will (hopefully) get a license to do a lot of other completely unrelated stuff that I do not intend to do. Shoemaking & repair is one of those things.
But even so, I was pretty fed-up with buying a pair of slippers every year (at most) because they start to fall apart and become actually dangerous to wear at home since I live on the first floor and have to walk the steps several times a day. Last week the approaching-end-of-usability slippers combined with other factors and I fell rather badly. So I have decided to at least once do some literal cobbling and make myself a pair of leather slippers.
It was a learnign experience and there is a lot that could be done better and/or faster. The stitching on the belts is needlesly fine for example and thus it took me forevah to make.
Unlike the cheap ones that I was wearing until now, these should hopefully last for many years and if the sole gets worn through, I will be able to re-sole them in a day or two at most. Based on my experience with leather goods, I think I shall die before that will be needed since they only will be worn indoors. And they are made from natural leather and wool-felt, so if they become unwearable and un repairable, they can be thrown on the compost heap. They feel comfy and pleasant even against naked skin and the natural leather sole does not slide on the floor more than rubber one, so I am very pleased with the result so far.
I had huge fun with this break from knifemaking so I shall make at least two more pairs for my parents. I expect those to take significantly less time than these did, although still not time that would make it potentialy profitable business – these took me a whole week, so if I were intending to sell them they would be ridiculously expensive, at least 30-40 times of what slippers typically cost. But my plan for next few years is not to make things in order to sell them – it is to sell things so I can continue making them so maybe I should consider them as an option for my repertoire if I could optimize the time to one-two days per pair, perhaps three with some fancy leather carving for decoration.