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Cracking in vintage shell cordovan longwings?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I purchased a pair of Florsheim shell cordovan longwings on eBay recently, and have just started to wear them out. They had little-to-no-wear on them when I purchased them. It looked as though someone had worn them once or twice at the most.

I've worn them out twice now, and I've noticed there is a spot on them that is already cracking right around the crease on the left shoe. When I first noticed I wasn't sure if it was cracking so I put some Saphir Renovateur on the shoe and then waited a week and wore them again. It's definitely continuing to crack.

Is this a common issue with vintage shell shoes? Is there anything I can do at this point to moisturize the shoe or decrease the potential future drying/cracking?
post #2 of 36
Possible dry rot. Photos please? Leather (any) sitting in a box for decades and never once lotioned are waiting disasters. Sit tight. Do nothing. Wait for the responses to come in. The Cordovan Cavalry should be along shortly to give you medical advice for your shoes. It also may be possible to have the crack mended or patched from inside, but wait here for the experts to arrive. Stay tuned...
post #3 of 36
Much depends on the extent and depth of the cracking. Honestly, once it's a full-on CRACK, there's not much to be done. Some people love the "hot deer bone" method to try to remedy DEEP scratches/scuffs - but a crack is typically too far gone for this, in my experience. It's one of the risks of vintage shell - you've gotta condition the heck out of it, wait awhile, condition the heck out of it again, wait awhile, condition the heck out of it, then wear them ONCE lightly, evaluate, repeat...

Honestly, it's difficult to say much of anything at all without pictures of the cracking and a description of the action of the cracks - you say it's continuing - how? It's not going to get BETTER unless it's teensy and you pull off a miracle with the hot back of a spoon or something, so most people just wear them as beaters until it gets too severe to be wearable at all. Post pictures and maybe the hivemind will offer up more comments.

And now I'm off to put some conditioner on my old Florsheim shells...
post #4 of 36
We can't help without pics.
post #5 of 36
The key is to not buy old ass shoes from random ass people.
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint View Post
The Cordovan Cavalry ...

Not much of a cavalry: I'd worry they'd shoot their horses to make shoes with. As a horse, the last thing you want is a rider interested adorning his feet with your behind.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWGP View Post
Much depends on the extent and depth of the cracking. Honestly, once it's a full-on CRACK, there's not much to be done. Some people love the "hot deer bone" method to try to remedy DEEP scratches/scuffs - but a crack is typically too far gone for this, in my experience. It's one of the risks of vintage shell - you've gotta condition the heck out of it, wait awhile, condition the heck out of it again, wait awhile, condition the heck out of it, then wear them ONCE lightly, evaluate, repeat...

Honestly, it's difficult to say much of anything at all without pictures of the cracking and a description of the action of the cracks - you say it's continuing - how? It's not going to get BETTER unless it's teensy and you pull off a miracle with the hot back of a spoon or something, so most people just wear them as beaters until it gets too severe to be wearable at all. Post pictures and maybe the hivemind will offer up more comments.

And now I'm off to put some conditioner on my old Florsheim shells...

what do you condition with?
post #8 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
what do you condition with?

Opinions vary widely on this for vintage shell - but Saphir Renovateur is probably a consensus "good choice" if not the agreed-on BEST. I would use it here without hesitation.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruben View Post
what do you condition with?

Nick Horween has recommended Lexol Conditioner over on AAAC in response to a similar question about conditioning older shell.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeymickey View Post
I

Is this a common issue with vintage shell shoes?

I had the same problem with a pair of vintage Florsheim I purchased on ebay. I tried the same Sahpir Renovateur but the cracks just continued to get worse and worse. I took them to several well-known shoe repairmen and they all said that there is nothing they could do.

They eventually had to go to the garbage.
post #11 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well here are some pictures. I've conditioned them quite a bit and worn them once more and they definitely look a little worse. Is there anything that can be done?



post #12 of 36
I would use lexol to prevent further areas from cracking. Also I would look up shell cordovan spoon repair techniques to repair the cracks.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
+1

Don't buy vintage Florsheims on eBay. Lesson learned.

That's terrible and misinformed advice. There are tons of good deals to be had in vintage florsheims, most of which are better quality than current available offerings.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel222 View Post
That's terrible and misinformed advice. There are tons of good deals to be had in vintage florsheims, most of which are better quality than current available offerings.
I've probably bought 5 or 6 pairs of vintage Florsheims off of eBay, all from different sellers, and was disappointed in all of them. In my experience, the term "vintage" is applied willy nilly on eBay and rarely carries much specific meaning. The seller could be talking about a pair from the 60s, or he could be talking about a pair from 2001 or so. Second, the condition of the shoes is often a lot worse than is pictured or described. So-called "vintage" Florsheims are literally a dime a dozen on eBay. Finally, I don't recall ever suggesting that someone buy current Florsheims, either. But yeah, feel free to dismiss this advice as "terrible" and "misinformed." I'll accept the small/anecdotal sample size critique, but at the same time, I doubt you've bought more than that many pairs.
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arrogant Bastard View Post
I've probably bought 5 or 6 pairs of vintage Florsheims off of eBay, all from different sellers, and was disappointed in all of them. In my experience, the term "vintage" is applied willy nilly on eBay and rarely carries much specific meaning. The seller could be talking about a pair from the 60s, or he could be talking about a pair from 2001 or so. Second, the condition of the shoes is often a lot worse than is pictured or described. So-called "vintage" Florsheims are literally a dime a dozen on eBay. Finally, I don't recall ever suggesting that someone buy current Florsheims, either. But yeah, feel free to dismiss this advice as "terrible" and "misinformed." I'll accept the small/anecdotal sample size critique, but at the same time, I doubt you've bought more than that many pairs.
I've bought 2 pairs of Florsheim Shell Longwings and there were both awesome. At least comparable to current Alden and a whole lot cheaper than Aldens would be in the same condition.
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