As someone who spent too many years in the military, I think I am qualified to comment on the topic of spit shining with some expertise. First of all, Andrew Harris is right about only doing the heel and toe. I wouldn't waste my time doing it anywhere else, in fact you might want to consider only doing the toe. It just takes too long for the rest of the shoe. I do, however, disagree about only doing a spot the size of a quarter. I will generally do the entire toe, or half a heel at one time. As far as spit vs water, definitely go with water. I will breathe on the area I am shining towards the end to get extra moisture if needed. When I am done, I go over it with a woman's nylon to remove any last moisture without causing any streaking. Second, I have never seen or heard about anyone pouring molten polish on a shoe or boot. Not to say it isn't done, but I have never even heard of it. Last time I was at M. Penner in Houston, the shoe shine guy there used a technique where he lit the polish on fire. I was unimpressed. It came out looking like a regular brush shine, but it would have definitely ruined a good spit shine. When spit shining is done correctly, it should look like glass. I have never seen a brush shine that comes close to a really good spit shine. Now that I am in the business world, compared to my spit shined shoes, I never see anyone else with even a comparable shine on their shoes. In the US Military, generally it's the guys who went to the service academies who are the best at spit shining. They had four years of keeping their shoes shined to a pretty high level. Other than basic training, or maybe ROTC advanced camp, there just aren't many situations where the regular soldier needs spit shined shoes or boots. Although someone in some sort of honor guard type unit would clearly be an exception.