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Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    If you were asking me this question, I would have to say that I prefer the finished aniline dyed calfskin. But truth to tell we don't get a lot of crust here in the States. We can import it from Europe ...and I have done...but you need to work with it a lot to really get facile with it.

    I've played with it---it's interesting. I've made shoes from veg tanned kip---very similar to St. Crispin Baby calf and liked it, as leather, pretty well. But I've also seen shoes that were made from such crusts where the "antiquing" was flaking off the leather.

    The one thing I really liked about it was that the St. Crispin and the kip both seemed to have little or no pores/hair follicle pits. I am not sure this wasn't because both were veg tanned however. In my experience, some of the best chrome calfs in the world are much coarser in that regard.
     
  2. DougEfresh414

    DougEfresh414 Member

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    I bought one of the bone folders through Hanger Project. While I feel I get similar results from firmly messaging out waves/creases in my shell using my thumb and a small booger of Reno, It saves my thumb from cramping up and is quite easy to control. Being that its a quarter of the price of the Flintstones club sized deer bone its a nice tool in my tackle box.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2013
  3. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Something thatI noticed that I find interesting is that leather seems to have a higher stretching tensile strength than compression tensile strength. If you hold a stick in your hand and bend it it will break where the fibers are stretched. With leather it seems to be the opposite. It has always seemed odd that leather never, or rarely cracks at the welt area where it is stretched over the insole. Leather uppers/lining never seem to break on the inside, but rather in spots where the leather is compressed. Perhaps it is due to it being exposed to more elements, but perhaps something else. I'm curious of how compressing leathers to create density has an effect on strength given this experience I have seen with leather's compression strength.
     
  4. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Both of these shoes began the same color: Burgundy Antique. Both of them were worn by different people, with different lives and who cared for them differently...

    [​IMG]

    Prince Charles' bespoke Lobbs over decades...

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  5. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

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    I think so, too. I still haven't come across that kind of research, however.

     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Closer to the mark there than not.

    Generally speaking, a shoe will crack in the creases. The reason for this is that dust accumulates in the crease. Dust is a wild melange of many things but primarily microfines of rock and glass and other hard materials...along with some proportion of harsh chemicals that are not good for leather--salt, acids,etc..

    The microfines become an abrasive that constantly tear at the leather fibers by the action of the foot flexing the leather. These particles are made even more destructive by the fact that the creases concentrate them and squeeze them so that they cannot be displaced. More than that, the dust draws conditioning agents and fat liquors out of the leather...and right in those same creases that are so vulnerable to abrasion.

    Compression by itself is not necessarily destructive to leather...in fact many components of a shoe depend on it. Moreover, veg tan leathers (such as crusts) actually compress to take a shape far more readily than they stretch to shape. Stretching leather can, take a leather past its "breaking point" even if it's not apparent, but you have to hammer leather pretty hard to damage it (not to say it can't be done). The simple compression that results when leather is flexed is not in that league, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  7. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    It's important to note that Prince Charles's shoes look like absolute crap. There is the idea of patina, and wearing well-broken-in shoes with character, and then there is wearing shoes that have fallen apart, need to be replaced, and forcing the issue. That's what he's doing. Hobo level. Don't admire it just because a prince is doing it.

    I doubt a cobbler would have made any of those crazy repairs for anyone else, but you can't say no to him I guess. To anyone else, they'd say BUY NEW SHOES!

    I say this as someone who does appreciate long-lived possessions, and clothing that shows a little age, etc.

    Regarding the EGs, my own (single pair) of burgundy antique EGs undergoes that kind of variation through the polishing cycle alone. If I were to use only renovateur for a few "polishes" over a few months, they would lighten to the level of the lighter pair. If I use renovateur + burgundy or mahogany polish a few times, they will look much closer to the darker pair right after the polish. Overall, they have lightened a bit on an "underlying basis," since purchase, and keeping them dark is a matter of continuing to use dark polish. I don't know what that implies about the dye job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Why is it that I haven't experienced lining cracking when the salts from my sweaty feet get in there? Again, is it due to dust and such? I was always under the impression that salt is horrible for leather and I have seen examples where this seems to be the case, however I never experienced lining crackage. Is it due to it being veg tanned? Also, fwiw, I put lexol on my linings in the vamp area on the insides every once in a while.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  9. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    EG uses crust leathers that are dyed very lightly and achieve the overall coloration through polishes and waxes. I think it is intentional.
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I see a lot of cracking in lining...although it's never as bad as on the uppers simply because the dust isn't there. I've said this repeatedly here (and some will probably be bored by the repetition) but in my part of the world much of the dust is ground up (microfines) of volcanic glass from the Mount Mazama eruption 5000 years ago. Yet the dust looks exactly like any other dust. Try to the damage what ground glass will do in a crease.

    IMO, the salt itself is not making the leather crack, it's just drying it out. Putting conditioner on the linings counteracts that drying.

    Also people perspire at different rates and their perspiration may contain more salt (and other corrosive minerals) than other people's.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  11. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Just want to point something out that I find funny: The advertisement for Meermin shoes on this site says, "Handmade Goodyear Shoes". I chuckled.
     
  12. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Given that Prince Charles pays little tax and has a huge income, I agree that it is about time he bought some new shoes. Just because it's old, doesn't mean its good. If that was the case, his mother might have called it a day.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  13. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Come to think of it, Charles could resign, too.
     
  14. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Intentional IMO.

    If he can fix it... But the rest of us normal folks might not be so lucky to have Lobb fixing our shoes...
     
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    He's notorious for his shoes. But just to throw in a little perspective...some people have very tender feet or even a pathology. It my be worth remembering that on a very good shoe such as a Lobbs, the insole develops a "footbed." over time. Such a footbed could make all the difference between comfort and agony. If you got a pair of shoes that have a comfortable footbed...even the prospect of breaking in a new pair might be daunting.

    I'm not English (Scot/Irish decent with all that implies). Still and all I'm fond of the Royals. Charles included.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  16. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    There is a shoe polishing technique in the army that uses copious amounts of wax and a blow torch:




    I can only presume Charles'shoes have been polished this way and, over the years, have been barbecued.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    I was in Taiwan's military police, we didn't go as far as that, though cigarette lighter were definitely involved... I imagine the ceremonial guard probably do something similar as well. Don't think any of my friend in the US military used blow torch either
     
  18. archetypal_yuppie

    archetypal_yuppie Senior member

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    Do you suspect that this is the case for him? I don't.
     
  19. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I think he just loves showing off his sprezz for the #menswear blogs.
     
  20. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't know...I'm not comfortable making those kinds of judgements without more information. & he's never done anything to me.

    Just sayin' it's possible .
     

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