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Shoe diagnosis needed

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Threadbearer, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Despite the consensus here against Johnston & Murphy shoes, I've owned and loved this pair for many years. Here's what they looked like about six months ago:


    [​IMG]

    And here's what they look like now:


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Age and low-quality leather may be the culprit, of course, but it seems odd that they died so suddenly after so many years of looking great.

    Two changes in my shoe care regimen seem to have coincided with this deterioration. First, I started polishing the shoes with Meltonian cream instead of Johnston & Murphy's house brand. Second, I started applying said cream with a brush instead of a cloth.

    So, good doctors, what's the most likely cause of this disease, and is there a possible cure?
     


  2. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    I'd lexol or rennovateur the piss out of those things, then go back to your J&M polish. I've seen the former do some pretty awesome stuff, so give it a try.

    They did look nice before and the last seems way better than the usual J&M stuff.

    good luck
     


  3. KObalto

    KObalto Senior member

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    They look to be badly dried out. Condition, condition, condition, then polish as noted above.
     


  4. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Oops! You guys reminded me that there's a third change I made in my shoe care regimen about six months ago, and you're not going to believe it: I cleaned them with Lexol for the first time (instead of with a damp cloth), and I conditioned them for the first time, also with Lexol.
     


  5. jrd617

    jrd617 Senior member

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    Paging MoL, aisle 3
     


  6. The Shoe Snob

    The Shoe Snob Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    They seem to be made of a crust leather whose finish is finally wearing off, mostly likely after too much exposure to moisture (i.e. rain etc.) + wear and tear. As the others said, you will want to re-condition it, preferably with a mink oil renovator (saphir's is among the best). After letting it dry, you will want to use a cream based polish (high in pigmentation) that will seep into the leather in order to rejuvenate the color. Once complete, go back to polishing with a cloth and fingers rather than a brush (preferably a bee's wax based polish to then create a coated protection).... best of luck. BTW, they are by no means ruined so don't think that. They can easily be reconditioned to look good again and worn for more years to come...
     


  7. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Thank you for this detailed and hopeful reply. Is it your opinion that application brushes are a bad choice in general or just a bad choice with cheaper leathers? I thought I was taking a step toward more advanced shoe care by using them. Should I go back to cloth instead?
     


  8. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    I have to go out but will ring in late tonight. They can be made to look like new again in 30 min. More later.
     


  9. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    :lurk: Very exciting! :D
     


  10. The Shoe Snob

    The Shoe Snob Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    I don't think that they are bad but can be harsh is used excessively....a soft cotton cloth is best...
     


  11. sinnedk

    sinnedk Senior member

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    reminds me of a pair of "to boot ny" boots i've owned, luckily nordstrom has an amazing return policy
     


  12. tom_s252

    tom_s252 Active Member

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    The tension is killing me...
     


  13. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    In rendering my input I will first state that there are several approaches to a refinishing project.

    Here, for example is one method, a first attempt.

    Original thread here : http://www.styleforum.net/t/228153/the-official-shoe-care-thread-tutorials-photos-etc/1920

    [COLOR=FF00AA]
    My method [/COLOR]
    is different:
    Essentially, you'll want to begin with what is referred to as 'De-glazing'.
    This is the process of removing the original finish.
    Personally, I do the following.....


    Materials:
    Rubber gloves for kitchen use (or better, as you like)
    I buy the cheap ones from my local friendly Dollar store.
    [​IMG]


    Acetone. Available at Home Depot or also in Canada at Canadian Tire.
    [​IMG]

    Steel Wool.

    [​IMG]

    Shoe Trees
    [​IMG]

    Clean Rags
    [​IMG]

    Fieblings Leather Dye Medium Brown
    [​IMG]

    ...also available in many other colours
    [​IMG]

    Lexol Leather Conditioner (or equivalent)
    [​IMG]

    Meltonian Navy Cream Polish
    [​IMG]

    also comes in many other flavours....
    [​IMG]

    EMU Burgundy Cream polish
    [​IMG]

    KIWI Mid-Tan or Mid Brown WAX Polish
    [​IMG]


    Horsehair Shoe Brush

    [​IMG]

    Flannel Polishing Cloth or flannel rags

    [​IMG]



    My Procedure:

    01) Insert the shoe trees into the shoes. This will help restore the original shape of the shoes and give you an easier time while working.
    There will be times where you'll need to remove the trees as you go..you'll know when.
    02) Steel wool the leather. I recommend FINE steel wool but medium will do.
    This is a dry method for removing caked on polish and factory finishes. It won't remove everything but you won't need to.
    Work slowly and patiently. It may take several passes of the steel woll before you see results. Work over the entire shoe upper surface.
    The steel wool should not damage the leather itself but if you are afraid then skip this process.

    03)
    Wearing your rubber gloves and working outside or in a well-ventilated area, Put some Acetone on one of the rags.
    04) Rub the acetone over the leather. Work quickly and use both sides of the cloth. The acetone will take off the finishand old wax or polish. You'll have to reload as you go since the acetone is only good for 2 or 3 passes. Keep using clean areas of the rag fro best results.
    Work swiftly but with deliberation. The Acetone will 'smooth out' and dull down the steel wool swirls. You may see traces of the original colour under the new dye but this is fine and will add a wonderful depth to the new finish.
    05) Let dry 20-30 minutes.
    06) The leather at this point is stripped of polishes and the factory finish. You may feel at this point that you have destroyed your shoes beyond repair. Do not worry. This is where the fun really begins....
    07) Take a clean rag. Soak it completely with water or at least an area of it.
    08) Squeeze out as much water as possible, leaving the rag damp.
    09) Get some of the shoe dye on the rag. Because of the water in the rag, the dye will be diluted somewhat. Good! This buys you some time.
    10) Be brave and quickly wipe the dye rag onto the shoes. Do not linger on any one spot. You want to apply the dye all over the shoe. Because we chose a light or medium dye, we can work in stages. Essentially yo are applying a dye wash. Do both shoes. Hands in shoes. No trees.
    11) Let dry 30 minutes. IF the shoes appear too light you may repeat with a second application, again, using a wet rag. Let dry again.
    12) The leather is now re-dyed and dry but you are only half-done.
    13) Take a dry rag and have ready.
    14) Apply very little LEXOL to the leather. Work in with the dry rag or your bare hands. Work the conditioner into the leather. This will restore moisture to the leather that was lost as a result of having used the acetone.
    15) Let dry a minimum of 1 hour.
    16) Wipe both shoes with a clean rag to remove any residual lotion.
    17) Brush
    18) Now it is time to apply your polishes.
    19) Open the burgundy cream polish.
    20) In the center of the opened jar, add in the middle, a generous Quarter-sized dollop of leather lotion (coin).
    21) With your finger, work the burgundy polish into the lotion, creating a center well of lotion/polish cream. This will give you more control and time when applying to the leather. This is the same principal as using the wet cloth so apply the dye earlier. You applied, in stages, dye washes and now you will apply a polish wash as it were.
    22) Sparingly apply the polish with a finger to the leather. Don't glob it on but really use very little as you go. You may be suprised that this 'watered-down Burgundy polish will not actually make the leather look like burgundy but instead will deepen the brown, giving it a rich chestnut colour.
    23) When both shoes are done, let sit for at least an hour.
    24) Brush.
    25) Pass your hand over the shoes. Feel them. They should be dry. You can hand rub them lightly if you like.
    26) In your original 'Before' photo, you will notice that the caps on the toes are darker than the rest of the shoes. Now it is time to darken the caps.
    27) VERY sparingly, take a small amount of the Meltonian Navy on a finger and quickly and evenly and THINLY apply to the toe cap of the shoe. IF done correctly, this will not turn the toe cap blue but instead will turn it an incredibly rich dark brown. Ont thin coat is all it needs. Or, if you prefer, you can use pure Burgundy polish cream on the caps...but I find using the blue gives more interesting results.
    28) Let dry 15 minutes.
    29) Brush
    30) Lightly hand rub.
    31) Take your KIWI Mid or Medium Brown WAX polish and thinly apply to the toe caps ONLY.
    32) Let dry 15 minutes.
    33) Brush and let sit 5 minutes
    34) Use the flannel polishing cloth gently over the caps and then the entire shoes. You should now have a mirror shine on the caps and the caps should be now darker than the rest of the shoe.
    35) Place shoe trees into the shoes...you're done.


    Total time of project 60-90 minutes.
    If you ever have to redo then acetone will completely remove all that polishing in a split second so the second time around will be very fast.
    There are other methods to refinish shoes but this method is economical and I have had reliable results.
    As you wear the shoes you may need only an occasional lotioning. It should not affect the finish. The caps can periodically be touched up with some Burgundy cream and a re-waxing.

    I'll post a few 'before & after' shots of some of my shoes later tonight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012


  14. sinnedk

    sinnedk Senior member

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  15. Threadbearer

    Threadbearer Senior member

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    Okay, first of all, thanks. That's an amazing post.

    Second, this looks to me like a job better left to a professional. I'm sure that a lot of SFers could pull it off, but I doubt I'm one of them.

    Third, how do we go about requesting that this post get archived in the new SF 101 section?
     


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