Step 1: The Tools
Tanner's bonding cement is handy to keep the pieces in place in addition to the thread, which is coated in wax so it's easier to handle. The leather conditioner is mainly beeswax and helps protect the leather from moisture. For deco I picked up some coyote teeth and bone.
Step 2: The Project
After cutting out the veg tan soles I punched them with roughly equal spacing around the outside edge. Now, the only way to mould veg tan is when it's sopping wet so I dunked it in the sink and weaved some thread through the punched holes to give the sole a foot form and let it dry overnight.
I made the tongue larger than the model as the sole shape was larger and also in hopes that it would be easier to weave the tongue into the gathered front of the sole.
I traced the leg piece onto the rough side of the deer tan, adding length (so he won't get snow in his boot if walks into a deep area) and extra tabs to reinforce and make the glueing process easier. Then I glued on black canvas to strengthen where the grommets would go for the laces. That way if anyone pulls on the laces the leather won't stretch or tear around the grommets.
I cut out the front part of the leg and punched it with the same number of holes as the edge of the other leg pieces. Then I sewed the two leg pieces and tongue together.
Finally, I sewed the leg piece to the sole. This took the longest as the veg tan was very rigid and difficult to sew the tongue piece into the gathered toe area. I was later informed that you can sew the veg tan wet so it will gather nicely and render much less damage to your fingers.
The grommets I had initially bought did not have a long enough post for the number of leather layers and canvas I ended up with. I used a boat tarp repair kit which included the punch, the setter and the anvil for large brass grommets. I'm sure smaller grommets with longer posts can be found online but Walmart was handy.
I gave my Dad the mukluks for Christmas without the grommets or laces in as I found the boat tarp repair kit afterward and also required some assistance lining up the grommets so they mushroomed and pinched the leather properly.
Step 3: Final Product
Fortunately for our Canadian winters I will have lots of time to make another pair :)