or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › **The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.** - Page 862

post #12916 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I think the key is to use distilled water. It doesn't have any minerals that can leave spots. But in general water isn't the best for leather being that the pH is a tad higher than where it wants to be and what it is when it leaves the tannery.

I always thought, from what I've learned and from doing experiments back in high school, that water's pH is neutral, and I thought that should not damage leather much.

 

Anyway, how do I get distilled water?

post #12917 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I think the key is to use distilled water. It doesn't have any minerals that can leave spots. But in general water isn't the best for leather being that the pH is a tad higher than where it wants to be and what it is when it leaves the tannery.

Using or deliberately applying distilled water is always the best choice, but my reference was to shoes or leather that have gotten wet in the rain (although when I wet last, I use neither rain water or distilled). Water in leather picks up and dissolves minerals (such as chromium salts) and chemicals such as tannins in veg, that are present in the leather naturally. Something ort some combination of materials, at any rate. The water then displaces those materials and as it recedes, leaves it behind.

Again..."I'm a shoemaker, Jim, not...." But when you wet last shoes or boots you confront this all the time. Of course, the best way to avoid water stains is to make sure the leather is thoroughly and evenly wet...or not at all. But if that is not possible, you can often prevent them by applying a light conditioner and letting the leather dry slowly. I've even used RM Williams to good effect although it leaves a greasy residue.
post #12918 of 19073
The supermarket sells it. You can get distilled Poland Spring and others, it is generally in the same section. You can also make your own, but it's a pain in the ass.

Leather likes to be about a pH of 3 to 5. Water is at 7. Not terribly high, but not optimal either. Pretty much anything over about 6-6.5 shifts the protein fibers of the leather ionic negative which repels other ionic negative ingredients like moisture, tannage, and any synthetic ionic negative fatliquors that the tannery applied. It essentially starts to repel all of that and become brittle like rawhide. That's why salt is so damaging because it radically shifts the fibers ionic negative.
post #12919 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post


Using or deliberately applying distilled water is always the best choice, but my reference was to shoes or leather that have gotten wet in the rain (although when I wet last, I use neither rain water or distilled). Water in leather picks up and dissolves minerals (such as chromium salts) and chemicals such as tannins in veg, that are present in the leather naturally. Something ort some combination of materials, at any rate. The water then displaces those materials and as it recedes, leaves it behind.

Again..."I'm a shoemaker, Jim, not...." But when you wet last shoes or boots you confront this all the time. Of course, the best way to avoid water stains is to make sure the leather is thoroughly and evenly wet...or not at all. But if that is not possible, you can often prevent them by applying a light conditioner and letting the leather dry slowly. I've even used RM Williams to good effect although it leaves a greasy residue.

Talk about greasy residue and wet leather, hell, Obenauf is the worst I've known.

 

Rain water is the last kind of water that should fall on shoes. It ain't the 1700s anymore when rain is pH neutral. However, during cleaning, should the leather gets soaked, I always make sure it gets soaked thoroughly, just as you said. It was bitter experience having the leather part wet.

post #12920 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Using or deliberately applying distilled water is always the best choice, but my reference was to shoes or leather that have gotten wet in the rain (although when I wet last, I use neither rain water or distilled). Water in leather picks up and dissolves minerals (such as chromium salts) and chemicals such as tannins in veg, that are present in the leather naturally. Something ort some combination of materials, at any rate. The water then displaces those materials and as it recedes, leaves it behind.

Again..."I'm a shoemaker, Jim, not...." But when you wet last shoes or boots you confront this all the time. Of course, the best way to avoid water stains is to make sure the leather is thoroughly and evenly wet...or not at all. But if that is not possible, you can often prevent them by applying a light conditioner and letting the leather dry slowly. I've even used RM Williams to good effect although it leaves a greasy residue.

I know that water is routinely used in shoemaking, and distilled would be the best. Water's pH isn't high enough to do any huge damage, but it isn't optimal. Rainwater is generally not neutral, (it is about 4.5 in pH in NYC) but somewhat acidic so the rainwater in itself isn't bad, but it's all of the other junk in it that becomes an issue if not cleaned off properly. It's amazing how much dirt and debris ends up on shoes after a walk in the rain. Not to mention motor oil that leaks on the pavement and such. All ends up on the shoes.

DW, I would encourage you to take a look at the Leather Doctor Hydrator product for lasting. It is a pH adjusted relaxer which takes out wrinkles and really almost lets you reform the leather. I bet it would do wonderfully in shoemaking. Downside is if you are using it in any large amounts it is very expensive, and may not be worth it. Adding a bit of white vinegar to your water and testing with a pH strip is probably more "natural" and much cheaper.
post #12921 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

The supermarket sells it. You can get distilled Poland Spring and others, it is generally in the same section. You can also make your own, but it's a pain in the ass.

Leather likes to be about a pH of 3 to 5. Water is at 7. Not terribly high, but not optimal either. Pretty much anything over about 6-6.5 shifts the protein fibers of the leather ionic negative which repels other ionic negative ingredients like moisture, tannage, and any synthetic ionic negative fatliquors that the tannery applied. It essentially starts to repel all of that and become brittle like rawhide. That's why salt is so damaging because it radically shifts the fibers ionic negative.

Thanks. I might as well try find it in Walmart. I've seen the process of making it, and, hell, I just had to sigh.

 

I always though 7 was the neutral point, where it could then get decrease or increase depending on what is mixed with. Regarding the brittle part, yes, leather will get somewhat brittle, because, as we know it, cleaning with water can float the oils out. But turning into rawhide is something I thought only petroleum products can do over time. 

post #12922 of 19073
Petroleum products don't really have anything to do with it. It is pH. There's hydrogen bonding that occurs between tannages, dyes, fatliquors and so on. Anything that shifts the protein fibers of the leather above its isoelectric point will repel those constituents so some degree. The higher the pH the more breaking of these bonds. Anything pH neutral will do this to a small degree.
post #12923 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Petroleum products don't really have anything to do with it. It is pH. There's hydrogen bonding that occurs between tannages, dyes, fatliquors and so on. Anything that shifts the protein fibers of the leather above its isoelectric point will repel those constituents so some degree. The higher the pH the more breaking of these bonds. Anything pH neutral will do this to a small degree.

With all of this in mind, I may have to add some lemon droplets into a bowl of water before cleaning the leather LOL!!!

 

Is this another reason to why some people would mirror polish their shoes with wine mixed in the water?

post #12924 of 19073
Also, I think we (collective we) get so hung up on oiling our leather like that's the secret to shoe care. Anything that is constantly flexing is going to break eventually no matter how much you slather it in oil.
post #12925 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

DW, I would encourage you to take a look at the Leather Doctor Hydrator product for lasting. It is a pH adjusted relaxer which takes out wrinkles and really almost lets you reform the leather. I bet it would do wonderfully in shoemaking. .

Thanks...I suspect it is much like the "stretching fluid" that is available through finders. It looks like it on their website. Does it have alcohol in it?

I do use stretching fluid occasionally. It will cut through almost any oil and wet the leather right now.
post #12926 of 19073
The whole using spirits and such to polish shoes came from Evander Berry Wall, who was quite a character, who was dubbed "The New York Dude" and won "The Battle of the Dudes" in I believe 1888 when NYC had one of the worst snowstorms in history. I digress. He was an eccentric, who lived to dress, and lived in excess. He claimed to use champagne to shine his shoes. Since then it has been a thing to use champagne and other spirits. Many people have had success doing this because the alcohol helps cool and speed up the process of drying the wax so you don't have to wait so long before bulling.
post #12927 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Thanks...I suspect it is much like the "stretching fluid" that is available through finders. It looks like it on their website. Does it have alcohol in it?

I do use stretching fluid occasionally. It will cut through almost any oil and wet the leather right now.

I've had so many exchanges with the owner of the company he even is trying to get me to buy the company from him! Despite that he's very hush hush about his ingredients. I have bought the stuff in bulk undiluted (you add the distilled water to it to save on shipping costs) and it is a very tiny amount of liquid compared to how much water you add. It doesn't smell like alcohol at all. My guess it is something acidic in nature to bring down the pH of the water. It behaves similarly to literally drenching leather in water, so other than a pH correcter I don't think there's much more to it.
post #12928 of 19073
I'll also add it doesn't behave like a solvent at all, it is rather immune to wax and such. You can rub the hell out of a mirror shined toe and nothing, doesn't cut through.
post #12929 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

Also, I think we (collective we) get so hung up on oiling our leather like that's the secret to shoe care. Anything that is constantly flexing is going to break eventually no matter how much you slather it in oil.

I guess you have a point there. Still, I see how oiling can prolong the life, although, for whatever reason, leather still needs to be cleaned, and even getting rid of the old oil and replace it with new applications of oils.

post #12930 of 19073
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

The whole using spirits and such to polish shoes came from Evander Berry Wall, who was quite a character, who was dubbed "The New York Dude" and won "The Battle of the Dudes" in I believe 1888 when NYC had one of the worst snowstorms in history. I digress. He was an eccentric, who lived to dress, and lived in excess. He claimed to use champagne to shine his shoes. Since then it has been a thing to use champagne and other spirits. Many people have had success doing this because the alcohol helps cool and speed up the process of drying the wax so you don't have to wait so long before bulling.

I've used water and a cube of ice. Works way better.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › **The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**