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Leather cracking on EGs - please advise - Page 8

post #106 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Well, the easy answer is that when every step of the construction process is done by one person...one pair of hands...and that same person is ultimately responsible, and has to personally and ethically answer for the results, the shoe can be said to be hand-made.

I know of at least one damn good shoemaker...occasionally posting to this forum...who sometimes uses gemming. I can't bring myself to embrace the concept but I can't hold it against him either.

"Hand-made" reflects a state of mind--a particular philosophy that encompasses more than technique or tools or even materials...hard as all that is for me to say. And an entire "decision tree" springs forth from that state of mind.

Manufactured...especially mass-manufactured...reflects an altogether different state of mind that necessitates...mandates...an entirely different set of choices. All of them inevitably inimical to "hand made."

IMHO.


A little over the top, no?

Why would 'handmade' have to be reserved for 'one set of hands'?

And what in the world does 'ethically answer for' mean?
post #107 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by TKDKid View Post
While maximising profit is a given, it's not always by minimising costs. Some companies can just put their prices up. John Lobb Paris for example have a policy of only cutting a single pair of shoes per skin (see Manton's post here). But they can afford to do so, because enough people are willing to pay their crazy prices. Do bespoke shoemakers follow such a policy? Or would they cut multiple pairs from a skin to minimise costs, err, waste?
I can't speak for other bespoke makers but I don't do that and most of the students I've taught wouldn't and every colleague I've ever talked to at least recognizes that there is only a very small amount of "prime" in any hide. A lot of it depends on the size and quality of the hide I suppose. But I will say this, it really isn't about how or where or whether you're minimizing costs. Every business, small and large, does that to the extent it can while being true to its goals and philosophies. I've said this so many times and had it fall on deaf ears...especially among people who do not work with their hands or have any real commitment to an objective standard of quality, that I sometimes despair for my fellow human beings lost in the all too facile mindset of consumer driven societies. The real issue is: "what is job one?" The manufacturer's "job one" is to make money--to maximize profit. Once that precept is established all subsequent choices are virtually predetermined. The shoemaker/artisan's "job one" is to make the best shoes he can. Once that choice is made all other decisions follow as night follows day. So where I can blithely and legitimately and in accordance with my "job one" principles decide to discard 40%-60% of a hide...on a regular basis...the manufacturer cannot. As an aside, I charge my customers for the whole hide and keep the scraps for other things, or even...wait for it...shoes for the shoemaker's kids. And John Lobb, St James, sold the name to Hermes rather than succumb to the pressures of mass manufacturing. In fact, the current CEO is famous for saying "We have turned our back on the machine." 99% of the people I've told that to consider it the dumbest thing they've ever heard. Me? I consider it inspiring...and the only way to survive in the 21st century...nevermind live.
Quote:
There's only so much I can tell from a picture, but it certainly looks like good quality leather to my uneducated eye - I can see the grain so it hasn't been "corrected", and the creases are very fine.
Unless I am misreading you, what you see are hair follicles. Most (mammalian) leather has them. Because they are visible is no guarantee there isn't a fairly heavy finish coat on the leather nor even that it has not been "corrected." As I have previously pointed out, in a very real sense any leather that has a finish coat (which is, in every sense, a "paint job") could be called "corrected." It certainly isn't the natural surface and is generally applied because the natural surface falls somewhat short of what is required to sell the leather.
Quote:
However, the leather also looks very dry? The reason I say this is because I have a pair of shoes where the uppers on one shoe looks just like that and "feels" dry to the touch, or at least there's a distinct difference compared with the other shoe. I've tried working lots of shoe cream into it, but it seems that there's only so much the leather can absorb. Hasn't cracked yet though.
Not being able to work creams or conditioners into a leather especially after more than a few attempts is an indication that either there is a heavy wax or a heavy finish on the surface.
post #108 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post
A little over the top, no? Why would 'handmade' have to be reserved for 'one set of hands'? And what in the world does 'ethically answer for' mean?
No, I don't think so. And no offense but just as I have a bias, and it shows, you have another...diametrically opposed...and it too shows. I said that if it was done by one person and by one set of hands, it would qualify as hand made. Certainly there may be circumstances where several sets of hands could do the work and it still be hand made. But I gave a definition (not necessarily exclusive) that would always apply...especially with the other qualifiers such as personal and ethical responsibility. As far as "ethically answer for"...for someone like me...(and I reject the notion that I am so special or so weird that I am the only one who feels this way) maybe the most important thing (and again it is consistent with "job one") is that I know I have given my best and done right by those trusting me. All we have to do is go back to the OP's question/problem to see and feel...at least for me...somewhat uncomfortable with the ethics of blaming the customer for a problem that may not be his fault. That may, in fact, be your fault (a generic "your"). Or nobody's fault. But no excuse for mistreatment--verbally or otherwise. What else can you expect, however, when no one person (set of hands) is really responsible for a collective result...no one person who will lose any sleep over it, under any circumstances. Maybe in this day and age, we've lost sight of what "honourable" behaviour is. Too many people have trouble defining "ethical" much less feeling, on a gut level, what it is.
post #109 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Oh yeah! Huh. Not a bad job either. I don't think I could have done that good back when I was doing repair.

Well, when you're the heir to the english throne...

I bet you're right about his valet spit shining 'em though.

For reference of those who don't know, those are Lobb St. James, and around 40 years old. And (obviously) see rather frequent use.
post #110 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post
Actually, the opposite is true now. The supply of good calf (especially black) is like nothing these days. Anything good is going to China, and the small niche tanneries can only supply the one-off guys. The word 'quantity' does not exist anymore in better hides.
I'd have to take your word for it. But from everything you've posted that I've read, I'd be inclined to believe that you have far more access and leverage than I do. Or many of my colleagues do. And fundamentally it just makes no sense...if a factory wants to, they can commission a run of leather...such as shell cordovan...in a colour that I will never see. They can specify tannages and finishes and so forth. I don't know a single tanner or finisher that will offer to do custom work for the artisan shoemaker unless he is wiling to buy a lifetime supply. Ask Gudbrod to dye up a pound of size "B" white silk thread (all they have left from the heyday of silk threads) into a magenta. And good luck on that one. But, hey, don't get me wrong...I'm happy with table scraps.
post #111 of 185
DWFII - I do want to thank you for your posts...very informative. Can someone tell how to recognize corrected leather or do I just trust that certain manufacturers are known more than others for using this type of leather? I know that certain manufacturers use corrected leather, mainly those who have their shoes made in China or India. What about the English manufacturers?
post #112 of 185
Back to the OP......unfortunately, this can occasionally happen - especially with black calf. It didn't happen due to any shoe care products you used. I'm not in a position to comment further, but you can rest assured that product didn't cause the topgrain to break.

This thread did bring up a good topic though; Renovateur vs. Lexol.

Really, the two should not be pitted against eachother as both are excellent conditioners, albeit for slightly different applications. The real difference between the two is that Renovateur is a natural product and Lexol is a synthetic. Reno is basically a Mink Oil with a variety of other oils in the mix while Lexol is synthetic Sperm Whale Oil. Reno is more 'greasy' while Lexol is very light. Lexol has more universal applications while Renovateur is more geared for better leathers. I mean, if you have a pair of Cole-Haan spray coated split leather loafers, there is no reason to spread Renovateur on them - won't do a thing.

It's really very simple. All leathers are very greasy naturally.....then they go thru the tanning process which takes all the natural oils away. The final step in the tanning proces is to 'fatliquor' them which simply means the tannery is putting oils back into the leather. These oils are typically a mix of neatsfoot oil (this can be real neatsfoot oil, which is the fat that comes out of boiled hooves, or the more typical pig lard), lanolin, and/or natural animal/mammal oils.....like Sperm Whale.

Renovateur is simply an old-fashioned formula that is the aftermarket version of fatliquoring, which is important to do to protect and condition your leather. Lexol is the same idea, but in a synthetic version. Chemistry.

Both do a very good job of protecting and conditioning leather. The difference for me is that Renovateur does a much better job protecting the FINISH of better shoes. If you really look at the re-finishing work I did (don't really have time these days.....thanks for all the requests though!) and has been posted here over the years, there is a glow to the finish that many others, IMO, really didn't duplicate. At least I always felt that was the real 'trick' to what I did for people. My work glowed, while others 'shined'. I always felt the shine looked cheap, which is why I refused to do the mirror shine work. Renovateur gave me that 'smooth' shine....Lexol didn't.

And, as always, it should be noted that my opinion is certainly biased, as I distribute the Saphir MDO products for the States.
post #113 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cuttingboard View Post
DWFII - I do want to thank you for your posts...very informative. Can someone tell how to recognize corrected leather or do I just trust that certain manufacturers are known more than others for using this type of leather? I know that certain manufacturers use corrected leather, mainly those who have their shoes made in China or India. What about the English manufacturers?
Maybe you didn't address this to me but...(this is for anyone and everyone) Leather comes from the hides of animals...living, breathing, sometimes fighting (I'm thinking of kangaroos, in particular) or getting cut by barb wire, that kind of thing--real life experiences that aren't predictable or controllable pre-harvest. So the raw hides often have scars. Or they aren't salted or cured properly for one reason or the other--weather that is too hot, too cold, too wet. Seldom is the whole hide ruined. Sometimes the flaws are so slight that a light buffing will remove any sign of them. Whatever. When a hide is buffed...shall we say "determinedly"...to remove more egregious flaws but not so much as to totally remove the grain surface, it can often be redeemed by applying a "paint job" over the surface. This evens things out and can sometimes fill in pores and flaws. When this paint job is applied to a hide that would otherwise be un-redeemable and unsellable it is called "corrected." In the most extreme instances, the grain is remove completely and a plastic paint/film is bonded to the fibers that lie under the grain surface. Other hides get a flexible, sometimes poly, sometimes acrylic, paint job...for most of the same reasons...but enough of the original grain surface and grain character is left that it is not called corrected. You don't often see a strictly aniline dyed kangaroo. It's out there but the norm is finished because the scars of fighting..and life...need to be covered. I would suggest that all finished leather is, technically speaking, "corrected." As for who uses what...I don't know, I don't care...I don't use "corrected" leather. I do use finished leather and am convinced that it is, or can be...all other things being equal...of good to excellent quality. Hope that helps.
post #114 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post
This thread did bring up a good topic though; Renovateur vs. Lexol. Reno is basically a Mink Oil with a variety of other oils in the mix while Lexol is synthetic Sperm Whale Oil.
This is news to me. I've been using Lexol for more than 40 years (and it was there before I came along) and never heard this. Can you point me to a source that would document the ingredients of Lexol?
Quote:
and/or natural animal/mammal oils.....like Sperm Whale.
Again, you have better sources than me. I have , for all my career, laboured under the impression that Sperm Whale oil, and all the by-products of the Sperm fishery, were outlawed many, many years ago--before I was born, 65 years ago, anyway. [quote]And, as always, it should be noted that my opinion is certainly biased, as I distribute the Saphir MDO products for the States.[/quote] I don't distribute Lexol or have any financial connection with the product nor am I paid to promote it..
post #115 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
I'd have to take your word for it. But from everything you've posted that I've read, I'd be inclined to believe that you have far more access and leverage than I do. Or many of my colleagues do.

And fundamentally it just makes no sense...if a factory wants to, they can commission a run of leather...such as shell cordovan...in a colour that I will never see. They can specify tannages and finishes and so forth.

I don't know a single tanner or finisher that will offer to do custom work for the artisan shoemaker unless he is wiling to buy a lifetime supply.

Ask Gudbrod to dye up a pound of size "B" white silk thread (all they have left from the heyday of silk threads) into a magenta. And good luck on that one.

But, hey, don't get me wrong...I'm happy with table scraps.

Ah, ok...shell cordovan is a totally different conversation. And one I won't have with anyone.

Since we are talking basic French Calf here though, not true at all. The only 'commissioning' going on is the Chinese and that's where most of the supply is going. Even with that said, demand far outstrips supply right now. I know you think all factories are evil and all, but I don't know of anyone making enough shoes right now to go spec on French Calf. Even if it were possible. The credit markets have sort of dried up here lately.......cash is king and, the U S of A anyway, does not pay cash.

We are all in the same boat.

BTW, soling leather is worse, but you probably know that.
post #116 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by bengal-stripe View Post






These shoes are bespoke and hand-made!

The shoes are probably much older than five years, but I wonder how they looked after five years.
I presume, the OP has many years to go until his shoes reach that level of "shabby chic".

Thanks BS,

That is the shoe I am looking for.
A bespoke black Lobb.
Everyone can see those shoe are cracked.
Do they used top quality leather? I do think so.
post #117 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
No, I don't think so. And no offense but just as I have a bias, and it shows, you have another...diametrically opposed...and it too shows.

I said that if it was done by one person and by one set of hands, it would qualify as hand made. Certainly there may be circumstances where several sets of hands could do the work and it still be hand made. But I gave a definition (not necessarily exclusive) that would always apply...especially with the other qualifiers such as personal and ethical responsibility.

As far as "ethically answer for"...for someone like me...(and I reject the notion that I am so special or so weird that I am the only one who feels this way) maybe the most important thing (and again it is consistent with "job one") is that I know I have given my best and done right by those trusting me.

All we have to do is go back to the OP's question/problem to see and feel...at least for me...somewhat uncomfortable with the ethics of blaming the customer for a problem that may not be his fault. That may, in fact, be your fault (a generic "your"). Or nobody's fault. But no excuse for mistreatment--verbally or otherwise.

What else can you expect, however, when no one person (set of hands) is really responsible for a collective result...no one person who will lose any sleep over it, under any circumstances.

Maybe in this day and age, we've lost sight of what "honourable" behaviour is. Too many people have trouble defining "ethical" much less feeling, on a gut level, what it is.

I wouldn't say 'diametrically' opposed, but I do think you have an unfounded assumption that every 'factory' is full of people who couldn't care a less about the work that they do. This kind of broad brush, consistent commentary is really unfortunate. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but I always have the sense that you post from a 'us against them' platform. 'Us' always being right and 'them' always being wrong. It's really not that way. There are alot of people I know who care a great deal about the work that they do, take great pride in a job well done, and depend on people like me to keep them working. There is an entire industry here and you and your peer group occupy a small sliver of it. Not everyone can, or should, do the sort of work that you do, but that does not mean that they should not be respected as well.
post #118 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
The real issue is: "what is job one?"

The manufacturer's "job one" is to make money--to maximize profit. Once that precept is established all subsequent choices are virtually predetermined.

The shoemaker/artisan's "job one" is to make the best shoes he can. Once that choice is made all other decisions follow as night follows day.

You state this as fact when really it's just your opinion. RIDER can give the manufacturer's perspective, but not every shoemaker will be in the luxurious position of just making the best shoes that they can without regard to making money.

The likes of Cleverley, Foster & Son, Gaziano & Girling and even Dimitri Gomez (the only one on this list who does make a whole shoe all on their own) all have RTW lines. One view might be that, by having this additional source of income, they can focus on making the best shoes for their bespoke clients. But another view might be that they are willing to compromise their principles in order to make money.

Quote:
And John Lobb, St James, sold the name to Hermes rather than succumb to the pressures of mass manufacturing.

Do you know this as a fact? Could it not just be a case of Hermes going up to John Lobb and saying "Hey Mr Lobb, we'd like to introduce a line of RTW English shoes under the John Lobb brand, would that be okay?" and John Lobb saying "Sure, pay us this much. And while the shoe geeks out there can distinguish between us as John Lobb St James and John Lobb Paris, for all intents and purposes feel free to use the John Lobb name without clarification because we're happy to be associated"?

Quote:
Unless I am misreading you, what you see are hair follicles. Most (mammalian) leather has them. Because they are visible is no guarantee there isn't a fairly heavy finish coat on the leather nor even that it has not been "corrected." As I have previously pointed out, in a very real sense any leather that has a finish coat (which is, in every sense, a "paint job") could be called "corrected." It certainly isn't the natural surface and is generally applied because the natural surface falls somewhat short of what is required to sell the leather.

I agree that it's no guarantee of quality and that there's different degrees of "correcting" that can be applied. I am comparing it to (heavily) corrected grain leather that I've seen in the past, where you can't see these follicles at all.

No comments on the fine creases? Or am I wrong in thinking this is an indication of good leather?

As I said though, there's only so much I can tell from a photo. Why do you think it looks like bad quality leather?
post #119 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by RIDER View Post
This thread did bring up a good topic though; Renovateur vs. Lexol...

Thanks for your post. Does renovatuer have ingredients in common with the mdo cream? I've always thought there was some overlap, so I never used both at the same time. Also, could you comment on the the consistency of the new renovatuer lotion?
post #120 of 185
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Maybe you didn't address this to me but...(this is for anyone and everyone) Hope that helps.
Yes DWFII, helps a lot thanks. This topic concerns me because I have had several pairs of Cole Haan shoes that have developed the same cracks as the OP's shoe. I always buy from Cole Haan's online store so that I have a record of my purchase and I've been fortunate that Cole Haan has allowed me to return all those shoes for a full refund. I realize that Cole Haan's are not EG's but now that I can afford to purchase a higher quality shoe, I plan to replace my current collection of Cole Haan shoes with higher quality shoes as as they wear out. I'm concerned that EG is not standing behind their product while a lesser shoe company, i.e. Cole Haan is more than willing to exchange or refund shoes no questions asked? I don't know EG's financial situation but could it be that since Cole Haan is owned by Nike that they are more able to absorb the financial loss?
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