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How to make crocodile skin belts or shoes shiny again?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I own a few belts in crocodile skin and one in particular how lost its high gloss shine. Any products or suggestions on how to get the skins shine/gloss back?
post #2 of 13
You can have it reglazed, but thats a costly process. Have you tried a natural oil?
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moontime View Post
I own a few belts in crocodile skin and one in particular how lost its high gloss shine. Any products or suggestions on how to get the skins shine/gloss back?
It depends on the tannage. If the leather was indeed a very high gloss, I suspect it was what is known as Bombe' finish. This is a mechanical process that actually burnishes the tiles of the leather after tannage and is applicable only to vegetable tanned skins. I don't think a reglazing will come anywhere close to duplicating that original finish. I have actually tried this...many years ago...and the results, while shiny, were extremely disappointing. More modern tannages are mineral based (chrome tans) and almost invariably have a more moderate finish...much more like high quality calf. Refinishing the leather in this case can be done and yields better results. But since it never was high gloss, it never will be.
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
It depends on the tannage. If the leather was indeed a very high gloss, I suspect it was what is known as Bombe' finish. This is a mechanical process that actually burnishes the tiles of the leather after tannage and is applicable only to vegetable tanned skins. I don't think a reglazing will come anywhere close to duplicating that original finish. I have actually tried this...many years ago...and the results, while shiny, were extremely disappointing. More modern tannages are mineral based (chrome tans) and almost invariably have a more moderate finish...much more like high quality calf. Refinishing the leather in this case can be done and yields better results. But since it never was high gloss, it never will be.
DW, is there a way to create a matte finish on shiny exotics. I actually prefer a dull finish but most of what I have is shiny.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayJay View Post
DW, is there a way to create a matte finish on shiny exotics. I actually prefer a dull finish but most of what I have is shiny.
Jeeze, that's one of those trick questions. A matte finish on most leathers is simply the absence of a "finish coat." A finish coat is usually some sort of special wax or paint...often acrylic based. Usually that can be removed with a deglazer or acetone. but sometimes colour is removed simultaneously and certainly the chemicals involved are not all that good for the leather. Most modern alligator is considered matte finished...simply because it does not have a heavy finish coat, if any. But in post production processes a finish coat can and often is applied. I almost always give my alligator boots/shoes a finish coat--customers seem to expect it. On the old Bombe finished alligator the shine is, again, created by burnishing (hard rubbing with special stone or irons. Perhaps the best way to eliminate that shine would be to get the leather wet and rub it with a cloth...nothing real coarse but nothing real soft either. Now having said all that, I would hasten to add that making a leather less shiny is not something we do every day or even in a lifelong career, so I am speculating based on experience and intuition. But if I have erred it is on the side of caution --I would not advise taking a piece of very fine sandpaper to the leather, for instance.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moontime View Post
Any products or suggestions on how to get the skins shine/gloss back?
Most of my stuff is matte finish and to bring out the luster I generally use a conditioner, then clear polish, then buff. Not sure how this would help a skin that has lost its glazing.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Jeeze, that's one of those trick questions. A matte finish on most leathers is simply the absence of a "finish coat." A finish coat is usually some sort of special wax or paint...often acrylic based. Usually that can be removed with a deglazer or acetone. but sometimes colour is removed simultaneously and certainly the chemicals involved are not all that good for the leather. Most modern alligator is considered matte finished...simply because it does not have a heavy finish coat, if any. But in post production processes a finish coat can and often is applied. I almost always give my alligator boots/shoes a finish coat--customers seem to expect it. On the old Bombe finished alligator the shine is, again, created by burnishing (hard rubbing with special stone or irons. Perhaps the best way to eliminate that shine would be to get the leather wet and rub it with a cloth...nothing real coarse but nothing real soft either. Now having said all that, I would hasten to add that making a leather less shiny is not something we do every day or even in a lifelong career, so I am speculating based on experience and intuition. But if I have erred it is on the side of caution --I would not advise taking a piece of very fine sandpaper to the leather, for instance.
DW, this is very helpful to know. Thanks.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
I can use a clear polish on crocodile skin? I was told by my local cobbler to just use leather conditioner made by Cadillac company.. Tried it and it actually made the leather look duller than before. What oils or other products do you suggest I try applying? Thanks for all the help and info by the way.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moontime View Post
I can use a clear polish on crocodile skin? I was told by my local cobbler to just use leather conditioner made by Cadillac company.. Tried it and it actually made the leather look duller than before. What oils or other products do you suggest I try applying? Thanks for all the help and info by the way.

I've used Cadillac conditioner on alligator. It causes some hazing if you don't buff away the residue after applying. Try gently buffing the leather with a dry cloth and you should see the shine/gloss return.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moontime View Post
I can use a clear polish on crocodile skin? I was told by my local cobbler to just use leather conditioner made by Cadillac company.. Tried it and it actually made the leather look duller than before. What oils or other products do you suggest I try applying? Thanks for all the help and info by the way.
A cream would be better. Neutral is good. Buff when dry.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
A cream would be better. Neutral is good. Buff when dry.

When you say a neutral cream, do you mean a neutral colored boot/shoe polish cream, or a cream conditioner?
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moontime View Post
When you say a neutral cream, do you mean a neutral colored boot/shoe polish cream, or a cream conditioner?
Boot/shoe creme. Even the cream conditioner will work if it has a fairly high wax content--that's what will bring back whatever shine is possible.
post #13 of 13
About the best you can expect from a home remedy:

1) Meltonian/Fiebing's/Dyo Leather Balm (mfgrs' package the same goo as reptile cream). Very lightly applied with a soft bristle toothbrush dipped in the bottle cap after the bottle has been shaken. It has the advantage of not darkening the flex lines surrounding reptilian 'tiles'.
2) Dry
3) Brush briskly with a shoe brush that exhibits no gomming from some other goo.
4) Buff with clean cotton flannel.
5) Buff with clean pantyhose.
6) Finish buff with clean cashmere flannel. Good quality 'cotton balls" may suffice if you're bereft of discardable cashmere.
7) Resolve to be satisfied with the results. Or, repeat. You cain't always git whatchu whahaunt.

(Somewhere on the ethernet a 'Gator Doctor' or 'Croc Doctor' recommends Pledge spray.)

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