Guys - I know this is an Alden site but please allow me this one transgression as I want to share an experience that was only possible because of 2 pieces of advice I received from this forum. I am an avid ebayer and search daily for deals on Alden. However someone once mentioned that they search on 'shell cordovan'. Since receiving that advice, I have added this to my daily search. A few days ago I found a pair of Florsheim long wings with tassels for $100 shipped. There is a little tear in the leather but I showed the listing to my cobbler before pulling the trigger and he ensured me that he could take care of it. In addition to this defect the shoes just looked really crappy but I figured that about a month or so of regularly applying the 'Mac Method' could possibly clean them up. Either way, at $100 for shells, in my mind it was worth the risk. I spent 15 minutes on these shoes and this is the result
Following the MM, I wiped them down with a damp rag and began rigorous brushing. Quite honestly I could have stopped here and would have been satisfied with the result. Then I applied a little Saphir renovator and brushed rigorously. I followed this up by boning each shoe. Unlike when applying wax, I brush the first shoe before boning the second one. My understanding of the advantage of the deer bone is that it raises the natural oils from the shell and that by immediately brushing, you spread the oils much better.
I am not only stunned by the result but also by how easily it was achieved. I understand that most either love or hate tassels but I really like them. And I especially like the combination of the long wing since the shoe moves easily between dressed and less dressy.
I feel like I picked up a great pair of shoes that instantly move into my main rotation for $100. It would not have been possible without the patience and advice from members of this forum. Thanks to all.