I saw a B&S post by some SFer selling some homemade shoe polish. That sparked an interest in looking into experimenting with making some polish myself. I had been thinking of it for a while before that, but never got around to actually getting my hands dirty. Got myself some organic beeswax, some organic carnauba wax, and some turpentine, and got set on my project. Did some research for some recipes online. Surprising how difficult it is to get a hold of some simple recipes for old shoe polish! There were some old chemistry books etc. on Google Books that were of help. Did not have a weighting machine, so did some calculations and approximations, to get the right proportions of ingredients. It was an experiment after all - all that I had to lose was some wax and a half cup of turpentine.
Surprisingly, the results were great. Didn't want to experiment with my good shoes, so started with some beaten up Zegna fatte-a-manos and was immediately surprised at how quickly they took a shine. Next up were some vintage J&M wingtips that I'd scored on Ebay a while back. They too took a shine quickly. Next up, a pair of Nettleton boots that I really like. Solidly made and beautiful. Pictures of those are attached. And this was about a 15 minute shining effort at most. No multiple coats, letting it sit for hours, then buffing, etc. The homemade wax polish, and a few drops of water was all it took.
My myriad Saphir polishes that I have spent decent money on - maybe it sounds unbelievable to most, and I am certainly very surprised myself - have not given me a much better shine. They are pigmented however, and the wax that I made is neutral. I have to research on the best pigments to use, and how much. But aside from the pigment, I don't see much difference. I'm sure Saphir is better, of course, with all the research and trial-and-error that must have gone into the making of a well-loved product. However, I cannot help but say that if it is this easy to make good shoe polish, more people should be doing it. I'd love to hear if some closet DIYers have done this. We can learn from each others experiences. A brave new world - where there is no more wondering about whether or not this or that polish has silicone in it! :P
Excuse the quality of the pictures. I used my phone, for lack of a digital camera at present.