Wooden Feet #1: Weird request

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Partridge posted 01-21-2010 02:58 AM 1955 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wooden Feet series Part 2: Testing »

I was called in to the office of one of the company’s ( industrial cleaning) I work for and asked if I would make them wooden sandals…!!!! weird yes, the he said I will need about 50 pairs in 3 different sizes as fast as possible… Not so weird now. it turns out that one of the jobs they are working on is in side a tank and it is so hot it melts soles off of boots. “So” this is the reason for the request…. I have an idea of making the sandals out of 3\4 oak, they will have to flex a little and will have to be fastened tightly to the boots so as not to come off. —- I will make prototype to night.

I will get to work in home office. AKA Shop
They will supply parts and wood
I will get rid of some scrap

suggestions welcome.

-- I get out in the shop when I can

10 comments so far

View SteveMI's profile


1170 posts in 4637 days

#1 posted 01-21-2010 03:16 AM

Weird? Yes!

I’d suggest finding a place local that has a Shopbot CNC and have them cut the soles from 3/4” MDO based on your design. I’d have a bit of concern using a grained wood in that environment. Plus continuously cutting 100 of anything would be a drag.

I worked on a steel mill during summer break where we had to change out the carbon arc rods between batches and your boots would smoke just by walking on the grating. This sounds hotter.


View a1Jim's profile


118310 posts in 4920 days

#2 posted 01-21-2010 03:34 AM

I wouldn’t use wood at all, I would make a form out out tape around the bottom of the rubber boots and poor about an inch of silicon on it and let it dry . silicone is very heat resistant and this will be much easier and quicker to make than a wood version.Silicone can be purchased in 5 gallons buckets.


View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27273 posts in 4448 days

#3 posted 01-21-2010 04:38 AM

Silicone will be a better insulator!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#4 posted 01-21-2010 04:41 AM

I would make them 2 piece, a front and a heel, much easier to walk on.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4711 days

#5 posted 01-21-2010 04:51 AM

No way! Inside a tank that is hot enough to melt shoe soles would cook the people as soon as they entered. That is too hot for any human to handle. Rubber soles will start to melt @ 250-260 f. I have to work in open areas that reach 135-140f and can only be in it for 15-20 minutes. Special thermal suits would be required and would include footwear.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4452 days

#6 posted 01-21-2010 04:38 PM

I would be hesitant to fulfill a request of that nature. Especially given what it is used for. i see the potential for lawsuits and liabilities. Selling the sandals as “work wear”, not meeting OSHA requirements, etc.

Just my 2 cents.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4991 days

#7 posted 01-21-2010 04:59 PM

I’ll second papadan… that request sounds too unreal. I have been working in tanks, and it never gets that hot – unless the request is just an excuse and the real reason is something else.

also – military type boots should have no problem surviving inside a tank, and would be faster to come by.

all that said – since it’s a paid job- just give them what they want. topamax idea was a good one – 2 parts , front and a heel tied together, smaller parts to make, and more flexible.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5442 days

#8 posted 01-21-2010 05:57 PM

As a business I have to consider the liabilities of the projects that I do.

I would never take on such a project. Something just isn’t right about this situation. Footgear has already been developed to handle such working conditions.

My insurance company forbids me to manufacture children’s furniture (without paying HUUUGE premiums) and I am sure that would apply to a product such as this too.

As a business you have to know when to say “No” to survive.

One more thought, Steve’s first comment was very good. If you have a production run hire out a CNC machine at a local shop. You can design it and make a prototype, but use the CNC milling for production.

Never order only what the clients asked for, always figure in a few more because there will be issues that arise and you will have an extra set or piece of whatever the product is. One of the benefits of the CNC is that they will have the program stored, if you need more parts in the future you will avoid the design fees and set-up charges of the initial run.

You will make money on such a project by hiring out the production and marking it up as well as charging for your time involved. That time includes everything from pick-up and delivery to dealing with any subcontractors and the design time.

Business is business. You are in it to make money.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


23357 posts in 5019 days

#9 posted 01-21-2010 08:28 PM

I would not sell them as shoes, put shaped wooden blocks on the invoice :-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Partridge's profile


296 posts in 5299 days

#10 posted 01-22-2010 07:46 AM

hello jocks,

your comments were not what i was expecting but, something to chew on.

I am doing this as an employee, and I was ask to do this. the guys will be wearing work boots with steel toes. the sandals will be to protect the soles of the boots.

To clarify the work is being done at a mill in a tank called a presip tank. and what they are doing is vacuuming out stuff called salt cake and it is hot. hot enough to melt the sole off boots. ie Boots that are glued and stitched, like Georgia boots, red wings,ect,

I am sure they make boots that will holed up but not every one wants to buy these, besides the salt dries out the leatheroin the boot fast if you do not keep them oiled.

Back sandals (shaped blocks)

a1jim i do like the silicon idea but I got some more info on the surface they will be walking on and i ‘Q’ the durability of silicon soles. maybe a combo of the two!!

Topmax….., This was my first thought. To lessen the trip hazard and to add more flexibility i am thinking 3 pieces .

steve, I will be cutting these as now they do not want these as fast as they ones said and they do do not need as many. I am not trying to make money but if i were the cnc machine wood make sense.


-- I get out in the shop when I can

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics