Originally Posted by Man Of Lint
In rendering my input I will first state that there are several approaches to a refinishing project.
Here, for example is one method, a first attempt.
Original thread here : http://www.styleforum.net/t/228153/the-official-shoe-care-thread-tutorials-photos-etc/1920
Essentially, you'll want to begin with what is referred to as 'De-glazing'.
This is the process of removing the original finish.
Personally, I do the following.....
for kitchen use (or better, as you like)
I buy the cheap ones from my local friendly Dollar store.Acetone.
Available at Home Depot or also in Canada at Canadian Tire.
Steel Wool.Shoe TreesClean RagsFieblings Leather Dye Medium Brown
...also available in many other coloursLexol Leather Conditioner
(or equivalent)Meltonian Navy Cream Polish
also comes in many other flavours....EMU Burgundy Cream polishKIWI Mid-Tan or Mid Brown WAX Polish
Horsehair Shoe Brush
Flannel Polishing Cloth or flannel ragsMy Procedure:01)
Insert the shoe trees into the shoes. This will help restore the original shape of the shoes and give you an easier time while working.
There will be times where you'll need to remove the trees as you go..you'll know when.02)
Steel wool the leather. I recommend FINE steel wool but medium will do.
This is a dry method for removing caked on polish and factory finishes. It won't remove everything but you won't need to.
Work slowly and patiently. It may take several passes of the steel woll before you see results. Work over the entire shoe upper surface.
The steel wool should not damage the leather itself but if you are afraid then skip this process.
Wearing your rubber gloves and working outside or in a well-ventilated area, Put some Acetone on one of the rags.04)
Rub the acetone over the leather. Work quickly and use both sides of the cloth. The acetone will take off the finishand old wax or polish. You'll have to reload as you go since the acetone is only good for 2 or 3 passes. Keep using clean areas of the rag fro best results.
Work swiftly but with deliberation. The Acetone will 'smooth out' and dull down the steel wool swirls. You may see traces of the original colour under the new dye but this is fine and will add a wonderful depth to the new finish.05)
Let dry 20-30 minutes.06)
The leather at this point is stripped of polishes and the factory finish. You may feel at this point that you have destroyed your shoes beyond repair. Do not worry. This is where the fun really begins....07)
Take a clean rag. Soak it completely with water or at least an area of it.08)
Squeeze out as much water as possible, leaving the rag damp.09)
Get some of the shoe dye on the rag. Because of the water in the rag, the dye will be diluted somewhat. Good! This buys you some time.10)
Be brave and quickly wipe the dye rag onto the shoes. Do not linger on any one spot. You want to apply the dye all over the shoe. Because we chose a light or medium dye, we can work in stages. Essentially yo are applying a dye wash. Do both shoes. Hands in shoes. No trees.11)
Let dry 30 minutes. IF the shoes appear too light you may repeat with a second application, again, using a wet rag. Let dry again.12)
The leather is now re-dyed and dry but you are only half-done.13)
Take a dry rag and have ready.14)
Apply very little LEXOL to the leather. Work in with the dry rag or your bare hands. Work the conditioner into the leather. This will restore moisture to the leather that was lost as a result of having used the acetone.15)
Let dry a minimum of 1 hour.16)
Wipe both shoes with a clean rag to remove any residual lotion.17)
Now it is time to apply your polishes.19)
Open the burgundy cream polish.20)
In the center of the opened jar, add in the middle, a generous Quarter-sized dollop of leather lotion (coin).21)
With your finger, work the burgundy polish into the lotion, creating a center well of lotion/polish cream. This will give you more control and time when applying to the leather. This is the same principal as using the wet cloth so apply the dye earlier. You applied, in stages, dye washes and now you will apply a polish wash as it were.22)
Sparingly apply the polish with a finger to the leather. Don't glob it on but really use very little as you go. You may be suprised that this 'watered-down Burgundy polish will not actually make the leather look like burgundy but instead will deepen the brown, giving it a rich chestnut colour.23)
When both shoes are done, let sit for at least an hour.24)
Pass your hand over the shoes. Feel them. They should be dry. You can hand rub them lightly if you like.26)
In your original 'Before' photo, you will notice that the caps on the toes are darker than the rest of the shoes. Now it is time to darken the caps.27)
VERY sparingly, take a small amount of the Meltonian Navy on a finger and quickly and evenly and THINLY apply to the toe cap of the shoe. IF done correctly, this will not turn the toe cap blue but instead will turn it an incredibly rich dark brown. Ont thin coat is all it needs. Or, if you prefer, you can use pure Burgundy polish cream on the caps...but I find using the blue gives more interesting results.28)
Let dry 15 minutes.29)
Lightly hand rub.31)
Take your KIWI Mid or Medium Brown WAX polish and thinly apply to the toe caps ONLY.32)
Let dry 15 minutes.33)
Brush and let sit 5 minutes34)
Use the flannel polishing cloth gently over the caps and then the entire shoes. You should now have a mirror shine on the caps and the caps should be now darker than the rest of the shoe.35)
Place shoe trees into the shoes...you're done.
Total time of project 60-90 minutes.
If you ever have to redo then acetone will completely remove all that polishing in a split second so the second time around will be very fast.
There are other methods to refinish shoes but this method is economical and I have had reliable results.
As you wear the shoes you may need only an occasional lotioning. It should not affect the finish. The caps can periodically be touched up with some Burgundy cream and a re-waxing.
I'll post a few 'before & after' shots of some of my shoes later tonight.