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Mirror Shine Question

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I keep seeing shoe collections posted here that have amazing mirror shine polish jobs.

I keep trying to accomplish the same thing but never really manage to achieve it. Am I right in assuming these are the necessary steps:

1. Wrap a piece of cotton around two fingers (I use old undershirts).
2. Swirl the cloth in polish and add a layer to the shoe. Brush or buff.
3. Dampen the cotton. Swirl it in the polish and add another layer to the shoe. Brush or buff.
4. Repeat Step 3 a couple more times.

How many layers do you need to add? Does it make any difference if you buff with cloth or use a brush after each added layer?

Am I missing anything?
post #2 of 19
I seem to recall sysdoc and others mentioning that one should try use the absolute least amount of polish to accomplish the job. A thin film should do the trick.
post #3 of 19
You don't buff after each layer. You keep adding polish until it smoothes out, then move on to the next area. After the whole area (toe, for example) is finished, you leave it for a while (as long as you can stand it) to cure, then very gently buff the surface smooth with a soft cloth. The intention in the last step is only to smoothe the surface, not to remove any polish.

You end up with a relatively thick layer of polish, which is why this is only good for stiffened parts like toe caps and heel counters.
post #4 of 19
It's easier if you put on a layer of polish, leave it to dry for sometimes - a few hours is usually enough - then put on more layers with polish mixed with a bit of water/saliva. In a couple applications and less than a minute, a mirror shine will become apparent. The polish builds up so the next time it will be easier, the next time even easier, and so on. No need to brush or buff after each application.
post #5 of 19
..
post #6 of 19
Sysdoc's post should be archived in Wiki reference guide.
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by von Rothbart
Sysdoc's post should be archived in Wiki reference guide.
Feel free to post it. That's what the wiki is all about.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by von Rothbart
Sysdoc's post should be archived in Wiki reference guide.
Good idea. Of course, we will first need sysdoc's permission to do so.

Sysdoc, can your post be put into the wiki? It will be posted there with attribution to the author.
post #9 of 19
First of all, thank all of you for your kind words. I am pleased and honored that some find my post useful enough to include it in the wiki. I personally wouldn't think it's complete enough for the wiki, but we could add it and I could continue to work on it. I really have to work on pictures or even the video! I've promised it ages ago ... alas this promise has been lost in the SF HDD crash.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sysdoc
Hm.
Apply a decent amount of wax all over the upper and let the shoe rest for a while (I suggest at least 15 minutes, but a complete night is a good idea too).

You have created your 'polishing foundation'. Without it, the tiniest amount of water will soak right into the leather and render it useless for polishing.


At what point do you buff with the horse hair brush? or do you not buff and just leave the wax in its unbuffed form to then be given the water/wax treatment.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesbond
At what point do you buff with the horse hair brush? or do you not buff and just leave the wax in its unbuffed form to then be given the water/wax treatment.

I don't think you use a brush if you want mirror shine; they create too many microscratches for it to be mirror-like.

The mirror shine technique that sysdoc described is very very easy (relatively to, say, EG or Ferragamos I have) when doing on C&J handgrades. On my first polish before wearing, I got a great mirror finish on my Belgraves. Of course, the rigors of the NYC Subway ruined in it short time, but boy it was great while it lasted...
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthmover
I don't think you use a brush if you want mirror shine; they create too many microscratches for it to be mirror-like. The mirror shine technique that sysdoc described is very very easy (relatively to, say, EG or Ferragamos I have) when doing on C&J handgrades. On my first polish before wearing, I got a great mirror finish on my Belgraves. Of course, the rigors of the NYC Subway ruined in it short time, but boy it was great while it lasted...
Same's valid for the London Tubes, but I think the worst attack on polished shoes is flying in small planes with tight seats. I mainly use brushes to clean my shoes and sometimes to get polish in tight corners,cracks or creases. The 'foundation' can be applied with a cloth and your finger. It does not need to be buffed. I'm pleased to hear that Earthmover has made the same experience as I have: There's no shoe easier to mirror shine Than a C&J from the Handgrade Line.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by sysdoc
I mainly use brushes to clean my shoes and sometimes to get polish in tight corners,cracks or creases. The 'foundation' can be applied with a cloth and your finger. It does not need to be buffed.

The only reason I keep my brushes around these days is to use them to take out the wax buildup in my brogues, and to put on a base wax for my pebble grain shoes. I find that for the pebble grain shoes, the wax doesn't get embedded in between the "pebbles" as well if you apply the wax with cloth.

Anyway sysdoc, thanks for the tips; I really enjoy having impossibly shiny shoes, regardless of how ephemeral it may be.
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Earthmover
I don't think you use a brush if you want mirror shine; they create too many microscratches for it to be mirror-like.

The mirror shine technique that sysdoc described is very very easy (relatively to, say, EG or Ferragamos I have) when doing on C&J handgrades. On my first polish before wearing, I got a great mirror finish on my Belgraves. Of course, the rigors of the NYC Subway ruined in it short time, but boy it was great while it lasted...


Gotcha.

Now my other question that just came to mind is the pre-cleaning. What does this consist of and what product do you use? When is it necessary to do this? thanks alot, this has been very informative.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the great responses. I will have to put this advice to work when I receive my new C&Js.

Waiting rather impatiently for them to arrive...
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