Thanks, benhour. My room temperature is around 27C. I'll give your method a try, but it's not radically different from what I've been doing. The difference is that every guide I've seen says to use the tiniest amount of polish and you're recommending a "generous" amount :)
Update: tried benhour's approach:
77F = 25C
Generous amount of wax
Polished for at least 40-50 minutes while watching TV with some addition of water/polish every now and then. I think the shoe got a little shinier, but still no mirror finish. I wouldn't mind polishing longer if I knew I'm doing the right thing, but from the what I've read, it seems like this amount of polishing is more than enough for a mirror shine.
Results: polished shoe on the left
This is dejavu from my post about three weeks ago. I ended up returning the pair of shoes I shined because the medallions were not punched correctly and it was driving me crazy. I started the whole process again with a brand new pair of shoes. I thought I had the process down. Well I didn't.
If you watch shoe snobs video, the first step is to apply wax without any water and let the shoes sit for a day. I don't think you need to wait 24 hrs but you definitely need to do this step first to protect the medallions holes from the water. Once you have your base layer of wax down, then you can start applying the wax a little more generously with the water. Not a glob but you can rub your fingers in the tin 2-3 times until it's coated. The shine comes from a combination of the wax and the friction created by water. When you've practiced enough, the amount of pressure you apply with come to you naturally. It did for me anyways.