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While we're talking shoes: "bone polishing"

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Flusser talks about the "bone polished" shoes worn by the Italians, and I've found a reference in a Harvard Magazine article to a former president of Harvard wearing bone polished shoes, but I've been able to turn up nothing else about this topic. Does anybody have any information about how this is done, with what type of a bone (obviously smoothed out) is used, or any other details about this technique?
post #2 of 7
I thought bone polishing is somehing done only in the privacy of one's home. Sorry shoefan, couldn't resist.
post #3 of 7
Altogether now: "A doe, a deer, a female deer" that's where the shoe bone comes from, to be precise the hind legs of  a doe. It is used for Cordovan and similar leathers to impart shine and restore smoothness. http://www.johnlobbltd.co.uk/catalog....umb.htm The bone is actually not smoothed out, it is a natural bone and therefore has different surfaces convex on one end concave the other and straight in between. Apparently the bone has the right amount of natural oils and the right density to smooth the leather without damaging it. To remove a scratch, apply plenty of shoe cream as lubrication, find a section of the bone and rub over with great pressure. With a bit of luck, the scratch is gone. You are mimicking what they do at Horween's, rolling over the leather, to close the surface and produce the shine.
post #4 of 7
I recently read, in Andre Leon Talley's memoir, about how Diana Vreeland claimed to have the soles of her shoes polished with a bone.  She believed that as much attention should be paid to the soles of the shoes as to the tops.  This sounds great to me, but I'm at a loss to determine how the sole of a shoe can really be cleaned, beyond knocking off the obvious gunk that accumulates there.  Perhaps her point tied in to the thinking that those things that are unseen are as important as those that are seen.  An example would be the interior of a man's jacket, which should be as beautifully finished as the exterior.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
... Diana Vreeland claimed to have the soles of her shoes polished with a bone.  She believed that as much attention should be paid to the soles of the shoes as to the tops.
In "Savile Row - an Illustrated History," Richard Walker relates a contemporary (1790's) description of the great dandy, George Bryan "Beau" Brummell.  His "buff buckskin pantaloons" were "tucked into shiny black boots, of which even the soles were polished ..."
post #6 of 7
Thank you, bengal-stripe, for that information.  A problem with shell cordovan shoes is keeping them sharp.  They exude an oil that dulls them.  I will get a deer bone, and a sleeking bone, without delay.
post #7 of 7
The sleeking bones look very similar to the "bone folder" used in book trades (bookbinding, etc.): Bone Folder 1 Bone Folders 2 I've got one, but never used it on shoes. They're usually made of cow bones, to my understanding. Might be cheaper than the Lobb version (ha ha.).
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