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

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

  1. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Oh really!! There are a couple active members here that I know~(actually hang out with one tonight) nice to meet you!!

    some ppl here in Taipei pays $60 + shipping back and forth (to England) to get metal taps....not joking
     
  2. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Maybe dumb question...if you get shoes with a fiddleback waist resoled, is it a special procedure that only some cobblers can do?
     
  3. tv2177

    tv2177 Senior member

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    cool! well i wont be back to tw till summer, so maybe until then we can hang. haha.

    what???? OMG, can't believe there's no legit cobbler in taipei...there's gotta be at least one! but u gotta dig into those alleys to find them. but i do know in Chia-yi, there's this guy who has been doing it for my mom for over 40 years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2011
  4. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    i have to admit, that i benefit from a special deal with my cobbler.
     
  5. SHS

    SHS Senior member

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    Thank you. I think I will just use renovateur on them, and maybe some waterproofing spray. I finally found a pair of loafers I liked. They are in the mail now, I hope I like them when I see them in real life:D
     
  6. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    there are more chinese on these forums than we could ever imagine.
     
  7. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    yeah with deep pockets I can only imagine having........
     
  8. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Says the guy that owns bespoke G&G shoos!
     
  9. shalako

    shalako Member

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    Gdot, Lear,
    Thank you both for your responses.
     
  10. nutcracker

    nutcracker Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's actually out for repair in Japan. got a tiny puncture/tear in the leather (on the toe box) :fu:

    I haven't seen the repair job yet, but hope it will look like it never happened!
     
  11. TheBlackDonDraper

    TheBlackDonDraper Senior member

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    Hey yall. I need a recommendation for a basic/cheap/serviceable cobbler in NYC.

    When walking I put extra pressure on the outside heel so there is extra wear in that area.

    Thanks~!
     
  12. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    I'M IN MIAMI, BITCH
    In case anyone's in need of black Saphir creme - Kirby @ The Hanger Project got all the colors back in stock. I picked up a black and mahogany for my Alden 405's.
     
  13. patrick_b

    patrick_b Senior member

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    B. Nelson is very well regarded around these parts, but IMHO, cobblers and tailors shouldn't be chosen based on the low bid.
    1221 6th Avenue, NY, NY

    I'm not from NYC but when looking for cobbler recommendations in Boston, I searched for "cobbler, boston" and found a handful of useful threads. There were similar discussions about most US metro areas, including the center of the universe, manhattan :) With that said, you could do a lot worse than B. Nelson. Folks ship shoes to him from all over the country.
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. DAASL

    DAASL Member

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    For those interested in getting a 'black mirror' (or 'brown mirror') finish this is the guide to follow.

    (As an ex-cadet of some years, I can personally guarantee this is without doubt the best method.)



    Feeling depressed about the sorry state of your shoes or boots? Think you should look 100% all the time? Think you're good enough to be a Cadet Officer? Think you can do better than your peers? If the answer is "Yes!" to these questions, then read this!
    Keeping your appearance above 100% will never hinder your CAP Cadet career, and having shiny shoes will make you stand out from the crowd as someone who cares about the way they look in uniform.
    Spit and Polishing (aka. "Bulling","Polishing" etc.) has been around for many a moon, and there are about fifty different methods handed down from airman to airman over the years. The ones you are most likely to hear about are:
    1. Cheating - using paints, varnish's etc. Basically quick fixes that any good inspecting Officer will pick up on in 2 seconds flat. Top Tip: Don't do these!
    2. Cotton Wool method - using a wad of cotton balls, water and polish. This method does work, but will not give a very good results for reasons I will not bore you with.
    3. Bizarre stories of using a spoons, irons and other household implements to get big layers of polish onto the shoe quickly. Top Tip: Don't do these, of if you do, don't say I said that you could when your mother goes nuts because you have used her best iron to polish with!

    The method I am going to be describing will use the following implements:
    • You
    • Your finger
    • Kiwi Shoe Polish (Black) - must be Kiwi (its the best). If you want to use Kiwi Parade Gloss, then be warned that it contains paraffin which will have a detrimental effect on the quality of shine you achieve. I would suggest you use the good old, standard black Kiwi polish.
    • A duster or soft rag (you can get them from your local supermarket) (Editor's note: Marines will tell you to use a white cloth diaper that's been washed a few times.)
    • The shoe or boot you wish to polish (dur!)
    • Some water in a bowl if you are a wussy (more on that later)

    [​IMG]
    OK, here we go. This is not a quick fix, it will take you hours (literally) to do this properly, so the first thing to do is to find a comfortable location. I would heartily suggest an old chair (with appropriate protective coverings to ensure that polish doesn't get on the furniture - you have been warned! Parents don't appreciate black sofas!) in front of the TV. Take a seat. Comfortable? Right then we will begin:
    Preparation


    • Take the top off your newly acquired tin of Kiwi Black shoe polish and observe the shiny surface. Also note the smell. Kiwi is a mix of oils, waxes and colourings, it has a pungent odour. Become one with your tin of polish, do not be put off by the smell, it will not hurt you!
    • Pick up your boot (if you are doing a shoe, then pick up the shoe...for these purpose we are doing a boot). The toe cap should be free of mud, dirt and dust. Give it a wipe with your nice new shiny duster. If it is covered in filth, wash it all off and leave them to dry and come back to them later.
    • Are there any large scratches or holes in the boots? If yes, then the job will take longer: more scratches = more time.
    • Pick up your duster and wrap it around your index finger. You are aiming for something like:

    [​IMG]
    Points to note:
    • The pad of your finger (where your finger print is) is smooth. That is, there are no wrinkles in the duster. This is vital, you will polish with the pad of your finger.
    • The tin of polish is open, cocked, locked and ready to rock.

    • Take the pad of your finger (the one with the cloth wrapped around it) and apply some polish to it from your Kiwi. When starting for the first time take on a big load of polish. You will use less and less as you go on, but you need to build a layer of polish to polish upon first, if you see what I mean! When starting off, aim for about this much:

    [​IMG]
    Layers and Applying the Polish


    In order to get the "black mirror" effect i.e. when you look into the toe cap you can see your own reflection, we firstly need to talk about layers. Bulling (spit and polishing) is about layers. You need to have good base layers to polish upon further to obtain the desired "black mirror" effect. When you first start, you will need to apply thick layers, once you have got enough thick layers onto the leather, you will have a surface you can turn into glass!
    OK, here we go.
    • Take your duster with the polish on it and apply it to the toe cap of your boot in a circular motion. Do not press hard, you only need to have a slight pressure on the pad of your finger.

    [​IMG]
    The first thing you will notice is that whilst polishing, it feels "rough" and is almost putting pressure back onto the duster, making the process harder. This is because you need to lubricate the polish being applied. This is where your small amount of water comes in (if you are a wussy). Personally, I do not use water, I use spit, hence "spit and polish". If you use water, you run the risk of having too much, which is bad, as it dulls the polish. The perfect amount of liquid required for this process can be found on your tongue. Now before we go on:
    I hereby absolve myself from blame of anyone who is daft enough to swallow polish, the duster or the boot itself and consequently damage themselves in any way. Just so I don't get sued.
    If you wish to use the water, then fine, but for this demonstration, I will use my tongue. Dab the pad of your finger (with the duster with the polish on it) onto your tongue. Start applying the polish again in a circular motion. Whenever you feel the pressure or roughness coming back, apply more liquid to the cloth not to the boot itself. Spitting on the boot puts too much liquid on.
    Top Tip: The circular motion is vital. Aim for a motion of about an inch in diameter. Too small, and you will be there all day, too big and you don't really achieve anything.
    Swirls and moving on with the process


    OK, when you are applying the polish (in a circular motion), you will see polish "swirls". Do not be afraid, this is quite normal and healthy.
    "Phew" I hear you say! Swirls are good, they show that you are doing it right. As you keep polishing, the swirls will start to go away. This too, is very normal, it indicates that it is time for the next layer.
    I stated that you will need big layers at first, depending on the state of the toe cap. More scrapes and scratches = more layers required. Your next layer should be as thick as the first one.
    Start your next layer, when it feels "rough", apply more liquid, when the swirls start to go away, apply your next layer!
    You are now "Bulling"!! Congratulations....you have half a brain! Now it gets interesting.....
    Recognizing the Signs


    When you have been applying thick layers for some time, you will notice that you are beginning to build up a thick layer of polish over the toe cap, the scratches and scrapes will start to disappear the more layers you apply. A good indication of when enough is enough is when the surface of the toe cap is smooth: there are no scratches, potholes or anything else to be seen apart from a smooth surface.
    Many people ask me how long it takes to get to to this stage. My standard answer is that it depends on the state of the boot, how long you have been "bulling" for overall and how much time and effort you have put into the process. I said it takes hours and I wasn't kidding.
    For an inexperienced Cadet (first timer, newbie etc), to get to the "smooth" state:
    One boot will take around (ish) 1.5 hours
    therefore
    Two boots will take around three hours,
    For an experienced "Buller", to get to the "smooth" state:
    One boot will take around 3/4 to an hour
    therefore
    Two boots will take around two hours.
    It is totally dependant on the state of the boot and skill level.
    Finishing Off


    Once you have reached the "smooth" state, you can now turn the shoes into "black mirrors" or "glass". To do this, start to reduce the amount of polish you use on each layer. As you carry on, reducing the amount of polish with each layer, you will start to see the boot start to gleam. They are getting really shiny. Don't think you are finished yet!
    Keep going with the layers until you are only having to use a spot of polish:
    [​IMG]
    You should be able to see your own reflection in the toe cap now, if you can then WELL DONE! If you can't, here's some more top tips:
    Top Tip: You will know if you are using too much liquid because the surface becomes "duller" quickly, to fix this, use more polish to soak up the liquid.
    To finish the process, simply polish away the last of the swirls from the last layer. And there you are, some highly polished shoes or boots any Warrant Officer would be proud of! Good effort!

    [​IMG]


    ([​IMG] http://www.cadetstuff.org/archives/000200.html)

    (I DO NOT OWN THIS MATERIAL)​
     
  15. nbernie

    nbernie Senior member

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    I believe that generally it is not advised to use as much polish as mentioned here, no?
     
  16. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    Location:
    Bend, Oregon
    

    DAASL states that the body of the message he posted is not his own material, but rather sourced from cadetstuff.org, so I hope he does not take offence when I state that there are a number of things that are incorrect within the comments.

    >“…must be Kiwi (its the best)”.

    Hopefully people that have been following this thread are fully aware that this is not true, as there are much higher quality polishes available.

    >“If you want to use Kiwi Parade Gloss, then be warned that it contains paraffin which will have a detrimental effect on the quality of shine you achieve.”

    Actually Kiwi designed Parade Gloss to produce a better shine by including silicone in the mix to allow for a smoother wax finish. Unfortunately silicone has a drying effect on leather and could damage the shoe over time.

    >“…take on a big load of polish”

    Please don’t do this. All polish should be applied (even in the context of loading the applicator) in moderation.

    >“Cotton Wool method - using a wad of cotton balls, water and polish. This method does work, but will not give a very good results for reasons I will not bore you with.”

    This is simply not true. A cotton ball will work just as well as a finger wrapped in cotton.

    Rather than go on about what is incorrect within that post, let me cover some basics about shoe polish and shoe polishing in general:

    There are 3 basic types of shoe polish:
    Liquid – Not recommended for long term shoe care (with some exceptions).
    Cream – Base coat and brush shine.
    Paste – Final coats and spit shine.

    There are only 3 types of wax, all of which are used in shoe polish, either individually or in some combination:
    Petroleum based wax – Paraffin
    Plant based wax – Carnauba wax
    Insect based wax – Beeswax

    Shoe polish also contains oils for keeping the leather fiber of the shoe supple and slow down the leather oxidation process. The most common are:
    Lanolin – Produced by sheep skin oil glands
    Mink Oil – Extracted from fat cells of mink pelts
    Neatsfoot Oil – Extracted from the shin or foot (not hoof) of cattle.

    Other oils such as tallow (animal fat in general) and Collagen (a group of proteins) are also used to some degree, however plant oils like Olive oil, Peanut oil, etc… are not used.

    The oils listed above (not plant oils) are also what makes up most leather conditioners, to one degree or another.

    Shoe leather usually comes from the tannery with around 17% oil content. It is important to try to keep the oil content around this ratio if possible. This is done by using leather conditioner periodically and keeping the shoes polished.

    Shoe polish also contains solvents. The solvents are used to soften the wax and make it easier to apply. Shortly after the wax is applied the solvents evaporate. When a tin of shoe paste dries up and cracks it is because the solvents have evaporated, not because the oil has dried up. The most common solvents are:
    Naphtha – Petroleum distillate
    Turpentine - Pine Tree resin distillate
    Stoddard Solution – Mineral Spirits

    Shoe polish can also contain Gum Arabic as a viscosity stabilizer, and of course dyes for coloring.

    The quality of a shoe polish is determined by which of each of these elements are used and in what ratios. Unfortunately, makers of shoe polish rarely publish the composition of their polish.

    As for the difference in shoe cream and shoe paste (both are shoe polish): Shoe cream has a higher oil content and a lower wax content, and shoe paste is just the opposite with a lower oil content and a higher wax content. Because of this a spit shine is not possible with shoe cream. But, shoe cream does a better job of conditioning the shoe leather than shoe paste that is why some people use both to polish a shoe.

    If you are not trying to put a spit shine on a shoe then shoe cream is best to use, as it will condition the shoe better and still produce a good brush shine.

    If you are trying to spit shine a shoe, shoe cream is not needed as long as the shoe is well conditioned, the wax ratio in the shoe paste will allow for a hard wax shell to be created.

    When thinking about actually producing a shine on a shoe it helps to think microscopically. The surface of the wax is what creates the shine. If you were to apply wax to a shoe (with whatever method –shoe dauber, cotton cloth, etc…) and then look at it with a microscope it would be very rough and inconsistent.

    Running the bristles of a shoe brush over the wax repeatedly would smooth out the wax a great deal, leaving just microscopic valleys where the bristles had been drawn back and forth. To the naked eye the wax would be smooth enough to reflect enough light to make the shoes look shiny. This would be a brush shine.

    To produce a spit shine the wax has to be much smoother. This is done by rubbing the wax with a smooth object with extremely little drag (this is where just a little water comes in handy) that contours to the surface of the shoe (cotton ball, or cotton wrapped finger). Multiple coats may also be necessary to fill in any imperfections in the surface.

    Note that very little polish should be used to produce each coat, and that you are not actually adding coats, but rather blending coats because the wax being applied each time still contains some solvent.

    Once the wax is smooth enough you will begin to feel a slighty oily tactile feedback as you polish, this is due to the oil that is inherent in the wax itself becoming the molecular barrier (along with a few molecules of water) between two very smooth wax covered surfaces (the shoe and the applicator). This is when the best spit shine will occur.

    I hope this was useful.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
    5 people like this.
  17. Gerry Nelson

    Gerry Nelson Senior member

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  18. SHS

    SHS Senior member

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    edit
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2011
  19. SHS

    SHS Senior member

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    "let me cover some basics about shoe polish and shoe polishing in general:"

    Great advice, thank you.
     
  20. swiego

    swiego Senior member

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    Glenjay, that was an excellent post.
     

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