They’ve been producing felt boots in Kalyazin, the Tver Region, for over 200 years. Cottage craft was replaced with industrial production when Krasny Oktyabr was formed. In 2004, the company merged with Bitsa Company. This is the way the company we are going to visit today appeared.
Felt boots are made of sheep’s wool brought from Mongolia, Caucasus and Central Asia.
First of all, sheep’s wool goes through treatment with oil.
Then it goes to a hackle.
They manually put wool into the hackle that combs and winds it round on special reels.
Here they make frames for their felt boots using steam.
This machine is so hot that you can heat up some food on it.
A local dog during a lunch break.
They add wool to their frames manually. After that, they steam it flat again.
Then, felt boots go to a batch rolling machine which rolls and presses the wool to make it solid.
They then stretch out their forms shaping them as felt boots which are twice as large as the boots they will receive at the end.
In the felting department.
They throw thier forms into a wooden drum for fulling and felting.
Then they beat their forms with wooden “boots” (it’s very noisy in here)…
And stretch them out over again.
After that, they wet their boots, shape them and put into a drying oven.
The drying oven.
This girl measures felt boots to determine their size.
Removing excessive wool.
Finding a pair for each felt boot.
They then attach rubber soles to their felt boots.
This is how they do it. They attach a sole to each boot, press it, heat it and let it dry.
Cutting excessive rubber off.
It takes them about 5 days until a felt boot gets to the sewing workshop.
By the way, workers of the workshop wear felt boots and say it’s very comfortable.