A plethora of processes are undertaken in the closing room; raw edges are stained, perforated and skived, saddles are stitched and eyelets are punched. This is a room where the constant whirring of sewing machines floats in the air, ever present, punctuated by the harsh clamoring of hammers used on the back strap of the leather to thin out the material. The skiving machines hum and skive the linings and are operated by highly skilled skivers, such as Robert, who has been with Cheaney for 36 years. He comments, “The process has stayed the same, only the designs have become more intricate and complex.”
With over 37 closing room operatives, this is one of the busiest and most skilled areas of the factory and where our shoes begin to take form. The seams are joined to the various components and have to be durable enough to withstand the strain of lasting and abrasive friction during the manufacturing process and, ultimately, the wear.
Patricia, 18 years with Cheaney, is a machinist in post machinery and works alongside Julie, 12 years with Cheaney, who works on under trimming. Hayley (3 ½ years with Cheaney) is a beader and she beads the edges. Finally, our resident examiner Deb (6 years with Cheaney) inspects the original ticket against the shoe and ensures there are no defects, that the stitching is pristine and that the design marries up to the forming product. It has taken 3 weeks from when the leather originally came from the Clicking Room to make its way around the closing factory floor and with 2 loads a day, our Closing Room is a hive of activity.