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Removing Shiny Topcoat on Shoes / Keith Highlander Pictorial

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
Okay, so I received my very expensive Keith Highlander shoes from Ebay for a whopping price of $35 + shipping last night and decided to 'Doc Holliday' them up a bit. Thanks to the Doc for his previous explanation and pictures of his work which gave be the confidence to give this a whirl. By the way, nowhere does it say 'Keith Highlander' on these shoes. (??)

I will show how this stripping was accomplished and also show what the shoe looks like in the finished state as I believe there are still several pairs for sale on Ebay. As for this pair, I have purchased far too many shoes recently and I am looking to sell these at a slight loss. I paid $34.99 + 9.95 shipping for a huge total of $44.94 and I will sell for $50 shipped. I had my fun with them, now somone needs to wear them...they are a 10.5D.

Alright, on with the show.

Doc has already shown the shoes in the 'shoe thread' on the B&S forum, but note the clear coat in my picture here:



I was at Wegman's last night (Grocery store) and since they didn't sell acetone (and I am impatient) I bought some plain nail polish remover, which is primarily acetone. I made sure not to buy the 'nail strengthening' formula or any other varient as these contain gelatin and other components that I didn't want to introduce into the equation.

Good ventiliation is highly recommended for this task as are proper gloves and eye protection.

So I dabbed a little on a cloth and began wiping with moderate finger pressure. This is what began to occur:





I gained confidence as I went along, since it seemed really hard to mess this up. I didn't rub too hard as I wanted to maintain a nice dark color. I would suspect that the color could be stripped if I worked it harder.

To get into the broguing and all of the crevices I used a toothbrush. Just dunk it in the bottle and scrub:



Here is how the before and after acetone treatment is starting to look:



After completing the second shoe, and going back to touch both shoes up one final time, I went on to the polishing stage. I could have hit them with leather conditioner here, but I wanted to go for a very dark burgundy since I already had a few pairs of longwings which were more red. I also thought the dark color might look good with jeans. Sooooo....I liberally applied some Allen Edmonds cordovan shoe cream, which is a very dark color. After they dried and were brushed I again applied cream, allowed them to dry, and brushed them. This stage was done while I worked on other shoes...

I suppose here is a good point to mention that my other favorite tool is a cheap screwdriver kit I purchased at Harbor Freight Tools for less than the cost of a coffee at Starbucks. These small screwdrivers are great for cleaning out broguing and little creases.



After this was completed I applied a little bit of shoe polish and gave them a good brush and buff with a cloth. I chose not to go nuts with the polish to keep them a little more casual looking. I think that as they are worn a polishing here and there will serve them well in the future.

So.....(and sorry for the lousy pictures, it was 8:30PM in my basement)....here is the finished product:













All in all it took maybe 10 minutes to strip them and another 10 minutes to polish them (exluding dry times). And remember, these shoes are now famous and can be yours for $50 shipped.
post #2 of 32
hmm don't they look similar to before?
post #3 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac View Post
hmm don't they look similar to before?

It was hard to capture in my basement. They look like polished calf now, as opposed to something that had been spraypainted with shellac.
post #4 of 32
After that you want to sell them? I'm pretty pleased with mine, post op. And yeah, it's hard to capture the "before" and "after" difference in pictures. But it's a big difference. Before is blindingly shiny. Thanks for the photo essay, by the way. I enjoyed it. You seem to have gotten the job done quicker than I did.
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Yup, I would like to sell them. I am very, very happy with how they turned out but I just have so damn many shoes. If I get no takers I am sure I will break down and start wearing them, but I have 3 pairs of cordovan longwings already. I really just enjoyed tinkering and learning how to do this.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henry Boogers View Post
Yup, I would like to sell them. I am very, very happy with how they turned out but I just have so damn many shoes. If I get no takers I am sure I will break down and start wearing them, but I have 3 pairs of cordovan longwings already. I really just enjoyed tinkering and learning how to do this.

In that case, I can't argue. But I'm glad you enjoyed the experience, and that the purchase wasn't a waste.
post #7 of 32
Ah wegmans, Used to go there at 5 am for fresh croisants after pulling all nighters at U oR.

I like to take rubbing alcohol and do a rubdown after the acetone. IMO gives a better finish.

I too have several shoes like the highlanders. They are fun to play around with.

-
post #8 of 32
The time it took to do that job must be worth at least $50
post #9 of 32
Thanks for the pictorial! Great job..
post #10 of 32
Coming to SFTV this fall: Flip That Shoe!

No seriously, I have a pair of the black ones in the mail. May engage in this process, though I intend to keep mine.
post #11 of 32
i'm thinking about trying out this process on a recent purchase.
i got a pair of wholecuts from BB Peals, it's calfskin but the finish is extremely shiny - almost like it's patent leather.

i've worn them twice already, and now what's left are these hideous crease lines...which on normal calfskin would not be so noticeable. but with the high shine finish, the creases give the illusion of being white cracks.

would undergoing a process like this actually revert the shoes back to a natural calfskin appearance, thus alleviating the current exaggerated creases?

it's the pair on the bottom right...you can see the lines near the toe area.
post #12 of 32
Polished binder is corrected grain leather. "Leather from which the grain layer has been partially removed by buffing to a depth governed by the condition of the raw material and upon which a new surface has been built by various finishes." Examples from Church's Black calf Black polished BINDER
post #13 of 32
thanks speedster...binder must be what these are.
does that mean the creasing is going to stick around? i'm thinking about sending to Ron, but unsure if these can be "de-laminated" and made more like the unpolished calf.

here are some close-up pics. you can see the wrinkling is a bit ugly.
post #14 of 32
Send ron a PM he is MUCH more knowledgable than ME. I would sugest reading and trying these cleaning & polishing tips. http://www.saint-crispins.com/e_pret/index4.html It will at least give you a feel for the leather. Speed
post #15 of 32
I dont think you cann expect the same, if they are "binder". But its hard to judge from the pic. You can always try on a smal test place that is the least vissible ... Speed
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