Originally Posted by clip
IMO, as ex-Army, bulling your civvy shoes is a waste of time. The amount of time you put into it for what is essentially a short-lived and impractical result. I can't see how bulled shoes will last more than an hour in the average business or social environment. Nothing looks worse than bulled toecaps with a huge gash in them where someone has stepped on your foot on the train - and its something which is completely impractical to fix at work or wherever.
If you want that look, either buy patent leather shoes, or you can go on a quest for the "bull paint" which never really works, although you'll find dozens of people that will claim that yacht varnish or Jet-fighter-nose-cone-paint does the trick.
Def ex British Army.
I hear what your saying ref cracks and gashes but the secret to getting a high bulled shine on civvy shoes without the cracks n gashes is not to layer up first.
For those who don't know, when we were taught to bull our boots in the (British although I am sure the process is the same all over the world) Army we had to put layer upon layer of polish on to the leather first, letting it dry between layers, usually 15+. You then carried out the bulling procedure (as shown in leffot video above).
The initial layers of polish gave the boot a beautiful if ephemeral smooth glass like shine but the payoff is that it cracked, shattered and gouged very very easily. Perfect for pre-parade ground inspection but useless for a commute.
It is easy enough to bull ones shoes without layering up first, you'll never get the parade shine (if you'd even want it) but you will get a nice deep colour and a good shine. Remember to strip the wax off every few months in order to condition the leather.
Personally I think it looks very smart.