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This is a double post, originally posted in a few year old thread I tried to revive but got no attention. I thought it may be appropriate here being that it was a thrift store acquire.
I have come into hands with some older and beat up AE tassel loafers named Manchester. Well, with these shoes I wanted to do an upper leather restore on them and took before and after pics of my project. The only issue I had with this was getting some red color stains off from one of the shoes toe area. Now these shoes are a merlot color, and apologize if the pictures aren't the greatest.
So I will explain my entire process and then show the before and after pics. Keep in mind this was an experiment for me, as I've never attempted to recondition shoes in this bad of a state.
First because of the condition the shoes were in, such as being excessively dirty, I first decided to take a damp cloth and get as much dirt build up off around the welt and upper. After that had dried in a few minutes, I decided ill give it a nice deep cleaning with saddle soap. Now I usually avoid saddle soap on my smooth calfskins only because I feel that it may excessive in most circumstances. But for these shoes, I really had nothing to lose by trying it. Now the saddle soap did take off some wax build up and old polish. It also helped break up a lot of solidified dirt around the welt and on the shoe in general. After the saddle soap cleaning, I still wanted to try and reach the original pores of the calfskin to allow it to breath and take off all the old wax and polish build up.
Now what I really wanted to use was Saphir's Renomat, but had no means of access to it at this time, but really do plan on having some in my arsenal in the near future. Instead I decided to try and deep clean the shoes with Rubbing Alcohol. I did a 20 / 80 alc/water mix. It took some elbow grease and I did about two rounds on each shoe. I certainly noticed a different in what came off. I'm still not 100% sure I took all the wax and polish off the shoe. (Any input would really help in how to determine if indeed the cleaning had gone all the way down to the original leather pores).
Next is where I reconditioned the uppers. I went ahead and used AE's cleaner / conditioner and applied it with a cotton cloth on the uppers of the shoes. I allowed supple amounts of drying time in between the 3 layers of conditioner. Next I wanted to try and mask some of the rips and tears of the uppers with some AE Merlot Polish. I went ahead and did the first layer of polish and allowed 20min drying time, then buffed. I then followed it up with a second polish and allowed 1 hour to dry. 3rd coat I gave the shoes 6 hours of time before I buffed with horsehair brush.
Next I waxed the uppers to seal in the nourishment of the conditioner and polish, also to give it a little shine. I wasn't going for anything spectacular or mirror, just wanted to help protect what ever is left and salvageable within these shoes. I applied 3 coats of AE's neutral wax onto the entire upper leather. Now the pictures don't do justice for the shine it has, partly because of the indoor photos, camera phone, and shadows caused by poor lighting. But I'm more concerned about how to possibly improve on them in the future projects, or if this is about as good as they may get due to the original condition of the shoes. I'm sure most think it was a waste of time to try and revitalize these shoes due to the rips in the leather, but it was more about personal experience for me, and what better way to try it out than on some old beat up full grain calfskin shoes.
Now without further a do, the pictures.
Also, here’s some of my other finds:
E Zegna XLT casual shirt. Long sleeve. Tagged XLT. Available.
Gitman Bros NWT 17 x 36, stripe colors are blue and red. Other tag sez “Tall man” Available
Stefano Ricci L/S lt blue dress shirt. My size! Not available.
Patagonia Olive messenger bag. Good to VG condition. Has reflective stripe. Available
Edited by Shiny - 5/25/12 at 8:54am
Good job! I'm actually doing the whole "strip the entire fucking shoe with bleach" technique on a pair of Doc Martins. I'm going to try for a two tone effect whereby I put black polish around the welts and seams and apply brown to the rest of the boot. Hopefully this will give it a nice patina effect. I already did the bleach job, now I just need to apply the polish. Pics soon.
I only hope that AlanC, wherever he lands, finds stores as good as what KC apparently offers. A stand-up guy and a pleasure to buy from, as has been my honor. If there were a Hall of Fame for this sort of thing, he'd be an inaugural member.
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