Shoes pick up pet hair from carpets
February 11, 2006 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Here's a long-shot: About 20 years ago I bought a pair of custom-made mountain-man-ish/mocassin-style boots that I had fitted at a crafts fair in San Diego. They were moose-hide, awful-looking things with metal buttons, and came with a weird flat, textured rubber sole material that the maker said was actually conveyor belting that he cut to fit the boots. The boots were happily but a passing fancy, but the soling stuck in my memory: It was the best damn pet-hair catching substance in my known Universe... WHERE can I find some more? Attached to a stick, it'd make a smashing carpet brush.
posted by dpcoffin to Pets & Animals (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've tried to google up sources for similar materials with no useful results. If you're in, or anywhere near, an urban area then chances are you can find a salvage outlet that might carry conveyor scrap. Try the old-skool Yellow Pages under "Industrial Salvage," or possibly "Commercial Recycling." Is there an art school nearby? If so, I guarantee that at least one of the sculpture students knows all the local resources. If you have any sort of in at the school, try that route.

Once you've found a local salvage retailer, visit their yard (which is likely to be post-apocalyptically baroque and gorgeous). If you don't see what you want, talk to the guys running the place. If they don't know a source for your particular material, they'll likely recommend an alternative.

You can also take a more direct yet more frustrating approach and start a phone campaign directed at a manufacturer, such as these folks. At all times, remember that you're not calling a retail chain with a platoon of officially chirpy operators. Your query -- "What do you do with your scrap? May I have some?" -- probably is both unprecedented and unexpected. Be unfailingly polite, muster all the charm you can manage, and freely confess the ridiculousness of your request while appealing to the good humor of whoever you're talking to. Start with their public affairs/publicity person. If they don't have one, try customer service or the main HQ number. Bypass the "press 1" system to get to a real person, and if that person can't help you, always get a referral -- preferably a name, not just a phone number or business title. Repeat a ridiculous number of times until you find someone willing to help you.

Because I skipped the post title, I had the supreme pleasure of reading your post with its *thwaang!* twist intact. I don't care if the twist was deliberate or happenstance, I thank you for it.
posted by vetiver at 5:39 PM on February 11, 2006

Response by poster: You're entirely welcome, vetiver, and thanks for the suggestions.
Unfortunately about as far from an urban center as I could be, but so far minimal net-rummaging suggests that there's a pretty vast range of conveyor belting I'm feeling the need for a BIT more lingo before attempting to zero in with a belting-person on the qualities in belting that I'm looking for. Maybe if I started with, "I'm a mocassin-maker looking for soling..."?
posted by dpcoffin at 6:46 PM on February 11, 2006

posted by dorian at 9:21 PM on February 11, 2006

Response by poster: Real rubber crepe, like on Clark's desert boots from back in the day might actually work pretty well, come to think of it, but it was nothing like those belted mocassins I had. THEY would lure me into impromptu one-legged sweeping operations almost every time I entered a carpeted room... You just couldn't resist that magic magnetism.

Anybody who wants to pursue this search and create a carpet-sweeping megaproduct (I've tried what's out there and it's pitiful!) is welcome to the idea; just send me a prototype!
posted by dpcoffin at 12:48 AM on February 12, 2006

Are you looking for the actual conveyor belt material, or the moose-hide part? My father used to, and may still have, loads of "carpetbelt" that was used for huge machinery at a plant he was managing until it closed down and used the old carpetbelts for walkway material in the backyard. I'm pretty sure we've still got some somewhere.
posted by vanoakenfold at 6:47 AM on February 12, 2006

If you can describe the texture, you might call up sales somewhere and simply tell them what you want. If you can't, talk to them anyway, but talk about electrical properties. Maybe they know something.

You want to choose a medium company with varied products to get an idea of what you want. Then, use a small company to actually get the product. The first gets you lots of information, industry jargon, etc. The second is more likely to actually send you something random and out of the way.

Are you trying to productize this? If so, you probably want a supply chain anyway. They'll be glad to listen to you if you're talking about spending a bit of money.

Or, are you just trying to make one for your own personal use? If that's the case, you can probably just appeal to the individual. Ask if they could give you a scrap. Or, if they could give you the number for the factory.

Dealing with the factory varies considerably in difficulty. Your best bet is to show up in person so you can just ask for some scraps, grab 'em, and split. On the phone, you've got to convince somebody at the plant to stop doing whatever critical thing they're doing, box up some trash, and ship it to you. You better hope they're having a goddamn good day.
posted by Netzapper at 8:39 AM on February 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, folks, all very helpful! If you ever see a product like this sometime down the, think of yourselves as being its god-fathers:)
posted by dpcoffin at 9:59 AM on February 12, 2006

Response by poster: "...down the pike", that is.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:00 AM on February 12, 2006

Best answer: Try Mark Goldfarb at Catskill Mountain Mocassins, I think he still makes the mocassins and I'm sure he would be happy to help. They are in Woodstock NY
posted by aisleofview at 5:18 PM on February 12, 2006

Response by poster: My god, you've nailed 'em, aisleofview! I thought I'd googled moccasins aplenty, but I missed this place; this is either exactly the same outfit I bought mine from, or the source of/heir to. And they're still using conveyor belting... MetaFilter strikes again.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:22 PM on February 14, 2006

Holy shit, that's awesome!
posted by OmieWise at 1:04 PM on February 21, 2006 [1 favorite]

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