I hope so, hence my post about getting shell care right.
Thank you. You make a good point about how the price of shell, in particular cigar, ravello, and whiskey, just keeps going up.
1. I don't put the trees in until the next day. 12 - 24 hours. The reason for this is to give the insides time to dry out. They develop moisture from your feet perspiring. If that moisture persists, you create an environment for odor causing bacteria to thrive. (smelly shoes)
2. I take a paper towel and soak it under the faucet. Then I ball it up and squeeze it in my fist as hard as I can. This wrings out all the excess water and leaves me with a moist paper towel. (squeeze hard) Sometimes at work in the bathroom, I'll use the paper towel that I just used to dry my hands after washing them to get the dust off. If water is left on your shoes after you wipe them, your towel is too wet.
3. I brush about every 5 wearings (or so). If you do a good job, they maintain the shine for a few wearings or weeks (in my experience)
4. I often forgo the flannel cloth. I can get them looking pretty good with just the brush. The flannel just puts the finishing touch. What the brushing does is brings out the natural oils and waxes within the leather to the surface, (through heat and friction) and spreads it around evenly. The flannel cloth just makes it a little bit more even. A shine is caused by an even surface, whether its shoes, a car or whatever. The more smooth/even the surface, the better the shine.
5. The idea is to use only polish as needed. If you can get them looking good without it, than refrain. when you do use it, just use a small amount spread thinly. The idea is to bring out/maintain the natural patina of shell cordovan, not cover it up with thick layers of polish/wax.
Unless you scuff them or something, you probably won't need to add wax for the first year. Maybe after a few months you can add some venetian or reno. I use venetian, have never tried reno. Some say that the turpentine in reno can cause the pores in the shell to open up. The product description for Saphir cordovan creme mentions this on The Hanger Project website. There are many who use reno and have never noticed any ill effects, only positive results. The choice is yours.
I think you may have told me before, but is there a good place to order the cedar racks online? Do you buy the Jos A. Bank version?
I've used the black paste wax from Brooks Brothers. It does a fine job of adding some color back to a shoe that has faded a bit with age. Applied thinly with a horse hair dauber. Brushed with horse hair brush. Buffed with flannel cloth. It's lasted for months, have not had to reapply since. It restored the jet black color that the shoes had when they were new. They had lost some of their depth of color, and while still black, they just weren't jet black as they once were. I think thats the point where you want to add your first wax/creme, as I think it improved/benefited the appearance of the shoe. It still has that shell cordovan shine, and didn't cover it up.
More recently, I bought the Saphir Cordovan Creme in Black, Brown and Burgundy from The Hanger Project, and just last night used the brown on my cigar. The color was a perfect match. I applied with a horse hair dauber, and one thing that I will do differently moving forward, is apply thinly to only one part of the shoe at a time, in a very circular motion. What I won't do again, is spread it all over the shoe at once, and then try to go back around and work it in with a circular motion, as the initial spreading left some streaking from the linear movements used during application. The streaks brushed out, but this stuff dries fast, so its best to apply it to one area at a time, as you won't have time after spreading it all over to go back around and work it in and even it out before it starts drying.
The Saphir Cordovan Creme also added a lot of moisture, as I have expereinced with venetian, which the Brooks Brothers Paste wax did not. I did notice that the Saphir Cordovan Creme seems to have a 5 year shelf life, as it has an expiration date on the bottom of the jar. It also has a nice almond extract smell, like a macaroon. The Brooks Brother smelled more like a petroleum wax.
I think I do prefer the Saphir Cordovan Creme over the Brooks Brothers Paste wax. I think it yields slightly better results, but the Brooks Brothers paste wax does a fine job as well. I wish I would have thought to take before/after pics, but maybe next time.