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**The Official Shoe Care Thread: Tutorials, Photos, etc.**

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mr. Moo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. goodlensboy

    goodlensboy Senior member

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    Excellent explanation
     
  2. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    There is not a substantial difference between paste (sometimes referred to as wax polish due to the higher ratio of wax in paste polish) and cream. My explanation holds true for both paste and cream.

    The relative density of the pigment is due to the ratio of wax in the paste or cream composition. Cream polish having a higher ratio of solvent and oils to wax than paste polish.

    Since paste has a higher ratio of wax, it would take more pigment to reach the same density as a cream that has a lower ratio of wax.

    Comparing the same volume of paste polish to cream polish, using the same amount of pigment:

    For paste: if wax is equal to 1 part, and pigment is equal to 0.1 part, the pigment density is 1/10

    For cream: if the wax is equal to 0.7 part and pigment is equal to 0.1 part, the pigment density is 1/7
     
  3. benhour

    benhour Senior member

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    i quite dissagree with that part!! i think when you read that pigment is 0,1part is refering on % of the product!! in cream paste the 0,3 is oil's thats why its more creamy! the pigment in both cases has exactly the same density !! the diference is in the wax-oil's ratio.

    so i think in 100gr of paste there is :95gr wax's -4 gr oil's(and solvents) - 1 gr pigment
    and in 100 gr of paste there is : 67gr wax's - 33gr oil's(and solvents)- 1 gr pigment
    the pigment in % ratio is exactly the same in both products!

    at my opinion wax paste when u want to get a hier shine is better(the pigment stiks better cause the sticky nature of the wax) and when u want to conditioning paste is the master(ecxept dedicated products)
     
  4. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I think you all are hearing that I am making claims about shell formality from my own point of view, when I'm not. Again, don't shoot the messenger. I didn't make the "rule" about shell being less formal. I was just answering the question posed. Like I said above, I am no stranger to shell shoes that seem perfectly acceptable for formal occasions. In other words, I don't agree with it as a hard and fast "rule" either, but the authors of those websites I linked to above are far more studied than I am in clothing and it's formality.
     
  5. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    sorry if this has been rehashed but do you guys typically give new shoes a quick buff with Saphir Reno rather than using Reno + polish? my assumption is that using Reno only is sufficient for a new, unworn pair of shoes and that subsequent shines should then use Reno (sparingly) and polish and/or wax
     
  6. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    I own these Aldens and I can attest to the fact that they shine incredibly well. I think shell looks more formal than calf, but that's just me
     
  7. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    Vive la revolucion!!!! Let's change the thinking. [​IMG]
     
  8. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Please explain to me, in how far is shell more durable than calf?
    I am surprised that you are asking about this one, as I thought that it was generally accepted and well known. I assume you are familiar with Horween's video on Vimeo?

    http://www.styleforum.net/t/119369/shell-cordovan-vs-regular-leather/0_100

    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?79695-Cordovan-vs-Calf

    People swear by it's ability to rebound from damage that would otherwise be permanent in calfskin by rubbing it with some conditioner and/or smoothing it with a deer bone.

    One of my favorite statistics is that there are more boots that saw service during World War I still in existence today than boots that saw service during World War II because cordovan was the favored material for boots during World War I. End of this article: http://howtospendit.ft.com/mens-fashion/6955-plenty-of-horsepower

    Truthfully, a google search about the durability of shell will show that it would be harder to find sources that say it isn't more durable than calf, rather than the other way around. Way to many results come up that are supportive of the extremely strong nature of shell, so don't think for a second that the above sources are the only ones.

    Once again, please explain to me in how far shell does require more skill in manufacturing than calf.
    Horween dubs it "the art of tanning at it's finest": http://horween.com/leathers/shell-cordovan/ Obviously they sell it, so there is a degree of sales pitching going on, but since they make many many types of leather, they are also in a great position to determine which one is the "finest" as far as an artform is concerned.

    When making shell cordovan, there is definitely skill involved in sorting, separating, cutting, and identifying the shell which is not a process involved in making calfskin. With calf, the hide is removed from the animal and the tanning process begins in earnest. The shell area of the horse requires skill to isolate and properly make once it is removed from the rest of the horse hide. Again, in the video above, you can see many manufactering steps that each require skills not needed in manufactering calfskin... from the isolating of the shell area, to the cutting of it, to the shaving it down (but not shaving too much), to the glass-rod polishing, etc. Just because they make it look easy doesn't mean it isn't a skilled process. It often requires many years of experience to make something "look" easy.

    This article from Gentleman's Gazette is a good read: http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/cordovan-leather-from-horween/ The article points out that "Because of it's qualities, beauty and durability, it found its way to Spanish royalty, who facilitated the spread of cordovan leather throughout Europe and the world through marriage with other royal families."
    "In the late 19th century, German tanners had mastered the art of tanning shell cordovan butts. The product was sold as "Spiegelware", which literally translates to "mirror goods.""
    "Around the same time, German and Dutch tanners imported the skill of cordovan tanning to the U.S. In the early 20th century, American tanners further improved the tanning techniques to make it softer and more appropriate for shoes."
    "The tanning of cordovan takes about six months and more than a hundred processes and therefore, very few tanneries remain in the world that can still produce this kind of leather."

    Rarity never was and never will be a characteristic of quality.
    Perhaps agree to disagree here. This is a subjective statement, just as the definition of quality is subjective. The definition of quality as defined here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quality seems to fit into much of the information I have presented here. Rarity often goes hand in hand with social status or exclusivity, and one of the fitting definitions of quality is social status or rank.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
    3 people like this.
  9. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    ^^^ It is probably worth adding that given it's history of development and the fact that it is a more intensive process should be enough evidence to show that it is higher quality because people actually take the time to master making it and working with it. It takes extra skill to make a product from shell that isn't needed from making a product out of calf or cowhide. The very fact that people go through the effort for all this, and that people then pay a large premium over the price of calf or cowhide for the results is indicative of it's inherent quality. I just don't think people would go through the effort to produce a product, maintaining and perfecting old world manufactering techniques, and allocating such a major amount of business to a product that is "just another leather." Many of us are familiar with the term Cordwainer as a term used to describe shoe and bootmakers. D.W. Frommer (DWFII in StyleForum) comes to mind. It would be good to remember that the etiology of the term, however, is from producing goods out of cordovan. In other words, working with cordovan was a specialty.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  10. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I wouldn't argue with that. [​IMG]
     
  11. JermynStreet

    JermynStreet Senior member

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    MWS-just wanted to commend your efforts again on a well thought out, well organized addition. Thank you for your valuable contributions! I wish I could construct such complete and supported responses in as little time as you do. Right on.[​IMG]
     
  12. gaseousclay

    gaseousclay Senior member

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    I took a spill on my keister this winter and my shell cordovans took a nice scuff on the side. i've heard the same comments about how the scuffs will buff right out with a deer bone or conditioner. the conditioner method clearly didn't work which leaves me with having to buy a $30+ deer bone. don't know if I want to waste my money on a deer bone to test a theory. others have also recommended using a spoon to smooth out the scuffs
     
  13. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Yeah, many theories float around out there about getting flaws out of cordovan. The deer bone seems to work quite well, and seems to be worth the money. I've heard the spoon trick as well. The point as it pertains to my response above is that shell can and does respond to therapy in ways that calf doesn't, thus making it potentially more durable. I don't know how your scuff looks, but it may be worth trying the deer bone on if you can spare the money.
     
  14. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    I have on several occasions , for restoration purposes, scrubbed shell cordovan with a very stiff nylon brush under running water until it resembles. wet suede . after it dried it buffed to a high gloss(think uncle macs shoes ) in @ 10 -15 min
    [​IMG]
    I don't recommend my Dr Frankenstein methods but simply wish to point out the durability of shell also reading member cranes thread on the wolverine shell boot should remove any fear of the delicacy of this leather
     
  15. hanskl

    hanskl Senior member

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    It seems that Cordovan has far greater abrasion resistance than calf, however it also seems Cordovan is severely lacking tensile strength. This is evidenced by the difficulty of lasting Cordovan (as seen in a previous posted video).

    The explanation for these characteristics seems to be that Cordovan is much denser (good abrasion resistance), but at the same time the fibers are also shorter (poor tensile strength) than calf.
     
  16. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    This is absolutely true. However, the amount of pulling force subjected to the leather during forepart lasting is far greater than any force that will be subjected to the shoe during wear. So, if the leather isn't damaged during the making process, it should be perfectly fine after that.
     
  17. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    i
    i quite agree I understand a percentage of shoes are lost in the original lasting . it also seems to cause problems in older shoes that have been left sitting as the shell dries and stiffens
     
  18. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Hmm... now that I haven't heard. But then again, I could care less what happens to a product that is neglected. Entropy will set in on anything that isn't cared for and used properly. "Use it or lose it" as they say. If this does occur, it must be the exception to the rule, and it must take several decades. There are far too many stories out there of people who find a pair of old dusty shell shoes in their dad's or granddad's closet that they then shine up and show to be completely wearable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  19. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    As a buyer and user of vintage shell I obviously agree with the idea but many is the tale of nos florshiems cracking on their maiden voyage .a sad scene considering proper conditioning could prevent this in most cases
     
  20. bucksfan

    bucksfan Senior member

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    Great write-up, and great article links - a couple I've never run across. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013

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