Anticipating dewy grass, if not all out rain and mud at an upcoming event, I decided to make a pair of pattens to help protect my new turnshoes (you can read more about the shoemaking process here).
Eventually I would love to make a shaving horse and carve the pattens in a more authentic way, but the objective of this first incarnation is to use the tools I have on hand to make a pair that will do what the originals were meant to, simply protect the leather from excess exposure to water and mud.
This version were inspired by an image of 13th century pattens from an unidentified book (still hunting down that reference…), and also surveying paintings and archaeological finds. I used two layers of poplar board, cutting out the pattern of the sole with a scroll saw, and removing as much of the excess wood from the portion of wood that would be added to build up the portions under the ball and heel of the foot. Using gouges, I carved away the rest of the wood to make the lines smooth.
Initially, I was concerned that making an unhinged pair would make them stiff and uncomfortable, but by omitting an ankle strap, they are actually very easy to wear and use. They feel solid and allow the step to roll from ball to toe smoothly and comfortably. While I wouldn’t want to have to run in them, they are lovely for walking.
The Saint Thomas Guild blog has a wonderful description and images of how to produce a more authentic pair here: https://thomasguild.blogspot.com/2012/08/making-wooden-pattens.html