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

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

  1. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I'm not trying to start the next "firestorm" or trying to be argumentative. I know my experience is quite trivial compared to yours, Ron. That said, this is quite surprising to me, since I too am generally unable to find any sources that state that true corrected grain leather isn't atleast second rate. Does second rate = bad? Not necessarily. It might be a necessary evil for people to have a good looking product that they demand. However, second rate does mean that it isn't the best.

    This same type of concept has been beaten to death as you well know amongst the gemming discussions with DWFII. The arguement being that gemming is a perfectly acceptable and durable construction method according to one side, while it inflames anger from others who are trying to make the point that it simply isn't the best. The point that kept getting lost in translation was that DW was not trying to say that gemming doesn't have a perfectly logical place in RTW shoe construction, and that it isn't durable for what it is. He understands the economics of the shoe industry and why gemming has become a necessary evil. He regrets and laments the course that the shoe industry has taken in the last 150 years or so, which has made the cheapening of shoes seem normal to the masses. His campaign has been to educate people on why gemming is inferior to hand-welting, and remove the wool from people's eyes that Goodyear-welted shoes are the absolute best available as many manufacterers would have us believe. He isn't saying that owners of Goodyear-welted shoes should toss them in the trash and start all over with bespoke hand-welted shoes. He has said recently that even in the heat of those old gemming threads, he never had any misconception that high quality Goodyear-welted dress shoes which are in a proper rotation, kept on shoe trees, cared for properly, and worn in city/office environments will outlast a cheaper cemented shoe any day. He is just sick of people spending over a grand on shoes under the impression that they are getting the very best available, when they aren't. People who can afford multiple pairs of shoes that are over a grand each could likely afford a couple of pairs of hand-welted bespoke shoes just as easily, and they would be getting a better and more durable product.

    Now, I may be mistaken, but this new topic of corrected grain leather sounds like it has the potential to be the same tail chasing discussion. Goodyear-welting is the gold-standard in shoe manufactering in that it is what all others are compared to quality wise. For something to be the gold-standard doesn't mean that it has to be the best or most ideal. It is simply the standard that has been pegged as the basis for comparison and you can either get better or cheaper from there. Saying that most black leathers out there are corrected grain doesn't negate the fact that it is still considered second rate. Full grain calf-skin is the gold-standard and is considered the best for making shoes. I assume that you are including all shoe manufacterers in your group when you say that the vast majority of black calfskin is corrected grain from the Lobbs, G&G, EG, down to Alden, AE, etc.? Again, I'm not trying to argue, because I fully respect your experience and knowledge. This just sounds like it would be the same surprise that was reacted to when DW started explaining that everyone's Goodyear-welted shoes use gemming, and gemming is attached using cement.... surprise!!! All the articles said that cemented shoes are cheap, which is what brought out the strong response. All the articles also say that corrected-grain leather is second rate, or cheap. So is the same reaction about to happen? SURPRISE!!!! All your high-end black shoes are probably corrected grain!!!
     


  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I didn't read your essay, but I think it is tanned to the same specs and it comes from good tanneries it is just that the Cow is a living thing and has skin imperfections like most people do. Most people don't want these imperfections on their shoes. That's my guess.

    FWIW, there are obvious differences between the leather on AE's and even Aldens. There are obvious differences in the leather of my G&G's compared to my C&J. I think you can see the difference pretty clearly. AE's to me all look pretty corrected, I don't know if it is the leather, or their sprayed on finish, but I think better, less corrected leather is pretty noticeable. Non handgrade C&J's looks slightly corrected to me, AE's definitely, not so much with Lobb, EG, G&G to my eye.
     


  3. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Surely you read it in order to know how to respond. [​IMG] Your response is well understood, and is the very reason that corrected grain leather exists. If people didn't mind imperfections, they wouldn't go through the effort of removing them. The point is, correcting the grain is removing part of the leather grain surface, and is technically weakening the material (albeit only a small and trivial amount if some cases). I think my point still stands though. I too can see a difference in the leathers amongst manufacterers mentioned above, but those differences don't necessarily amount to corrected grain or full grain. One of the reasons that high-end shoes are so expensive is because they are purchasing leather from their tannery suppliers that is nearly perfect. The imperfect hides are passed on to lower quality manufacterers who pay less. That goes back to the "pulling the wool over our eyes" point I was trying to make. All of the manufacterers that are StyleForum "approved" claim to be purchasing the finest quality calfskin, which implies that they aren't correcting the grain. They imply that their cutters are only using the best parts of the hide, implying that they cut around imperfections that may exist.

    I really don't want to be heard as the next torch bearing, campaign running, quality pusher. If the form of "correction" that is used on black calf shoes in the high-end manufacterers is deemed appropriate and acceptable, then I'm ok with it. I wear black so seldom that one pair of black calf captoes will probably last me a lifetime. I am fine with the "gold-standard" that I described above, even if it isn't the best. I am simply trying to say that the sources available to the common person (non-industry insiders), would imply that corrected grain is second rate, and it isn't used by high-end shoe makers. If this isn't true, it needs to be exposed.
     


  4. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Let's call a spade a spade. All shoes are shit unless they are bespoke.
     


  5. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    Fair enough. [​IMG]
     


  6. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    From OSHA on terpentine toxicity. There are more toxic substances out there, but I would not want to be exposed to any more of it than I could avoid. Certainly not if my reward was shinier shoes. If the best job I could get involved some risks of chemical exposure, I would have to think about the danger vs finding a safer job. But the worst that could happen from being careful with shoe care products is MAYBE my shoes are not as shiny. That is a chance I am happy to take. Wearing gloves, eye protection, and ample ventillation sounds good minimal precautions for any chemical exposure.



    Quote:
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013


  7. phototristan

    phototristan Senior member

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    i guess this guy is living dangerously:
     


  8. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  9. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

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    Glenjay



    Quote: Don't take my word for it. Look it up in "Tanning Chemistry, the Science of Leather" by Arthur Covington, now Emeritus Professor of Leather Technology, University of Northhampton. This is considered the standard leather chemistry textbook. In it he says



    Quote:


    Quote: Well, you cannot "replace oxygen atoms with amino acids". Chemistry does not work that way. Amino acids contain oxygen atoms. Oxygen atoms are much smaller than amino acids, and amino acids would not fit into the locations where oxygen atoms are found in the amino acid chains of collagen- or for that matter, any other protein. To the extent that hydrogen bonds are formed then they would have to be with atoms like oxygen. Since the proteins are made of amino acids, the hydrogen bonds are between hydrogen atoms and oxygen or nitrogen. So, if you "replaced" an oxygen atom with an amino acid, you would have replaced it with a molecule that contained oxygen and nitrogen, and hydrogen bonds would still form. But you could not do this because the protein structure would not permit it.



    Quote: Yes they are as part of modern leather fat liquoring. This is part of the reason that leather loses little fat during its lifetime. The methods used to fat liquor involve carefully controlled temperature, ionic strength, pH, emulsification, and agitation- chemistry again. The fats then bind to the leather and stay there. You might see "Theory and Practice of Fat Liquoring" and "Fat Liquoring pt1" and "Fat Liquoring pt2" ,all published in World Leather. In times past leather was treated with oils and waxes that did not bind to the fibers, would migrate out, and had to be replaced. This was the work of curriers. That business appears to be about gone, since fat liquoring took over.



    Quote: Conditioning is done primarily to adjust the moisture content of the leather. In studies of leather properties, the samples are "conditioned" at standardized relative humidity to adjust the water content. Adding oil to replace lost oil may be necessary if the piece has been treated with something that can remove the fat (like the VOC's discussed above). But if you do not do this, then modern leather will lose little of its fat in normal use.

    In a related discussion on AAAC, the member calfnkip, who is in the tannery business, had the following comments



    Quote: Under normal use, small amounts of these fatliquors may leach out of the shoe’s leather due to the flexing it’s subjected to when you walk. The quantities that migrate out of the leather this way are pretty small and shouldn’t compromise the integrity of the collagen fibers for some time - - often quite a few years if the tanner has done his job properly. And you are correct that it is not really possible to restore all the fatliquors, greases, waxes and other compounds that are applied to footwear leathers during the tanning process.

    He does not elaborate on why is it not possible to restore the fat liquoring, but the problems are: the fat liquoring is performed with the leather in a drum, heated, with a series of chemicals that are not available to the consumer, under pH and ionic strength conditions that are adjusted for the particular liquor and leather. All sides of the leather are exposed. At the end of this process, some of these conditions are carefully altered to complete the binding, extraction of emulsifiers, or in other ways. These cause permanent changes in the leather, which may not permit more fat liquor to be added.

    In response to a question on this topic, Steve Gilbert of the American Leather Chemists Association posted this comment



    Quote: If you search Science Citation Index, you will find papers describing the uses of humectants in maintaining the water content of finished leather. PEG, sorbitol, and glyercol seem to be the most common.
     


  10. Crat

    Crat Senior member

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    This thread used to make me happy, now it makes me sad : (
     


  11. OzzyJones

    OzzyJones Senior member

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    I hear ya man
     


  12. dlind

    dlind Senior member

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    Some more of your handy work would make me happy:)
     


  13. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    Everybody knows that
     


  14. Crat

    Crat Senior member

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    Until this (sh*t)storm blows over this will be my last contribution to this thread :devil: [​IMG]
     


  15. Johnniegold

    Johnniegold Well-Known Member

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    I guess the only gentlemanly way to put this is you Sir, are a moron.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2013


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