1. And... we're back. You'll notice that all of your images are back as well, as are our beloved emoticons, including the infamous :foo: We have also worked with our server folks and developers to fix the issues that were slowing down the site.

    There is still work to be done - the images in existing sigs are not yet linked, for example, and we are working on a way to get the images to load faster - which will improve the performance of the site, especially on the pages with a ton of images, and we will continue to work diligently on that and keep you updated.

    Cheers,

    Fok on behalf of the entire Styleforum team
    Dismiss Notice

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

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

  1. sleepyinsanfran

    sleepyinsanfran Senior member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    +1
    Would be hard to make a more reasoned, well-meaning, appeal.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  2. OzzyJones

    OzzyJones Senior member

    Messages:
    3,006
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Location:
    Here
    
    Do you besmirch mah honah sah? Ah demand satisfaction!!
    (Joke, before you go all Copeland again)
     
  3. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

    Messages:
    330
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    DW,

    I certainly believe that people have been using bones for tools long before we learned to make things of metal. But you use bone today because?? It is traditional? It is actually better than any performance you could get out of a metal tool?

    I remember your explanation of why you prefer a boar's bristle to a steel needle for stitching insoles. Is this a similar case?

    I tried my first spooning of shell a couple of days ago. It worked far better than I had imagined. So now questions

    Is there any technique beyond rubbing the surface? I used a little Venetian cream to reduce the friction.
    How hard does one press?

    Is a bone actually better? If so, why?
    You indicated that the bone must be smooth and polished. Do you do this with fine sandpaper, or something even finer? What?

    The idea of handling an old bone containing fats is kind of gross. Doesn't the fat rot, smell, and the whole thing become a petri dish of microbial infestation?
     
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,238
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    The short answer is that yes, bone is better than metal for some/most things. I think that for leather it is nearly the ideal medium for smoothing and burnishing and polishing...or would be if it could be heated--that's the only advantage metal has over bone.

    I don't use bones that are impregnated with oils. That said, sometimes I use a light conditioner such as Bick4 or even RM Williams...depending on the delicacy of the leather... as a lubricant to chase pipes and wrinkles especially in wet leather.

    Here are some posts on this subject you may have missed --I think they answer most of your question:





     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  5. PCK1

    PCK1 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,064
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    True or False (for those who actually have experience in this matter):

    Wood-pegged waist was useful in past times for shoes/boots that were often exposed to water as brass/steel/iron nails would rust and fail...and also that when wet the wood pegs would expand preventing water damage to the sole/welt.

    Nowadays, under much less water exposure, wood pegged waists are actually not good for shoes and the pegs shrink and expand very frequently due to climate changes (such as walking in the rain then entering a heated building) and can actually lead to water seaping into the welt and permanently damaging the shoe.
     
  6. sleepyinsanfran

    sleepyinsanfran Senior member

    Messages:
    1,054
    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Two things you might be missing in your thought experiment are (1) that the slight expansion/shrinkage from getting wet/drying happens to both the leather and the wood pegs, and (2) changes in temperature lead to greater expansion and contraction in metal (such as nails) compared to leather or wood
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

    Messages:
    6,564
    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    I would worry about pegs falling off the sole way more than water sipping into the welt. I actually had a few pegs came loose in my Saint Crispins and one of which fell out.

    Water aint gonna sip into the welt around the waist area as shoe waists do not have contact with the ground.

    Welted shoes are not waterproof. Goodyear or handsewn.
     
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,238
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    


    Half of your answer is in your question--it depends on the climate. Sydney Brinkerhof wrote a monologue about post civil war experiments by the US military with regard to the various means of attachments. Rivets (another name of a type of nail, in earlier times) and nails were considered the worst--they worked their way up into the boot and caused injury. . Pegs were shown to dry out and fall out in esp. arid conditions. Makers using pegs took to using a peg wax...I'm not sure what it consisted of or how it was used...to ensure that that didn't happen. Despite, or maybe because, of that, in the wake of the Civil War, pegs became the most common means of outsole attachment in the West.

    But pegs have no impact on the welt. Where there are pegs, there is no welt ...if there are, they are there for show. And pegged outsoles are probably as water resistant as any other approach.

    The big drawback of pegs--and I probably have more direct experience with pegs than all other members of this forum put together--is that it limits the number of resoles that can be done. Pegs chew up the leather they are driven into. They also make the shoe stiffer.


    Welted shoes are not waterproof because the inseam is, or is not allowing water to seep into the shoe...although there is ample evidence that a handwelted shoe using good wax will not leak around the inseam. Welted shoes are not waterproof because leather itself is not inherently waterproof and components such as welting, outsoles and upper leathers are not waterproof.

    A handwelted inseam is as tight and waterproof a seam as can be had with virtually any method or any materials.

    PS...(and I'll put it in a spoiler) I wrote a poem about pegs and nails, back when I was getting paid for some of them and doing the occasional on-stage recital:


    For Want of a...Nail?

    My story’s one that goes back a ways, bout an Oregon buckaroo.
    Back when we was still runnin’ ‘em to market in Elko and Winnemucca too.

    Now Oxbow Bob craved a new pair of boots when he come off the trail
    For three long months he’d favored the left on account of a wayward nail.

    He’d pointed the herd from the old "P" Ranch to where the Humbolt river flows.
    There’s a bootshop down on mainstreet and that’s where Oxbow goes.

    So he eases into the settee and wrenches off a boot
    His socks are black from a winter back when he cleaned the lantern soot.

    Now a smell like ancient mummies arose from the tattered wraps
    And it makes the master stagger and a customer collapse.

    Bob, he never notices the gentlefolk streamin’ out the door,
    But braces his back for the other boot and leans into the chore.

    His muscles knot, his face turns red and his eyes begin to swell.
    He curses the damned old stinker in words I dare not tell.

    But it’s the left boot boys, that won’t come off and when all is said and done,
    That nail is deep in Oxbow’s flesh - he and the boot are one.

    Now the master knows his duty and approaches with a sigh,
    He’s seen this problem many times and he knows the reason why.

    "That boot will have to be cut off," he says, "and maybe a part of yore heel,
    Yer lucky you didn’t loose the leg to that chunk of rusty steel!"

    Now Bob, he’s got a new nickname, the hands all call him Tilt.
    And Francine, down at Mona’s, thinks he oughta have a bootheel built

    That will straighten up his stature and allow old Bob to hold her,
    As they waltz around the dance floor, without his chin hooked on her shoulder.

    So beware of a boot that’s made with nails, what you want is the hardwood peg,
    At least if it lodges itself in your heel, you’ll have the start of a wooden leg.

    Mona's is a bordello that has been in operation in Elko, Nevada since the last quarter of the 19th century. Still there (last I heard), still legal.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
    4 people like this.
  9. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

    Messages:
    330
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Limit the number of resoles... Because the pegs wear down? Can they be replaced by a maker? By a cobbler?

    Making a polishing bone sounds both gross and way too much work. Fine for a bespoke artisan who routinely makes his own tools, but quite a productiin for an amateur.

    How much better is this than a ready-made spoon?

    You mentioned water. Is that just for burnishing, or do you wet the leather for polishing as well? For boning uppers, use the bone dry, a little conditioner or water?
     
  10. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

    Messages:
    330
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    If you want waterproof footwear, traditional welted leather is a challenge. It is possible to make leather waterproof. I don't whether one would want dress shoes made of it. The seams will always be a problem. Seamless rubber bottoms work great, but hardly look like leather. Goretex sounds like a great idea, but I have heard complaints that such boots dry slowly and one failure of the membrane ruins the waterproof property.
     
  11. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,238
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    Because the pegging awl makes a relatively large hole (as compared to a nail) and the hardwood peg is larger than the hole that the awl makes. So every time the outsoles are replaced, and a new hole is made, the chances increase that the holes will be enlarged or even fragmented. The upper, where it turns over the insole gets shredded.

    Outsoles on welted work can be replaced and even the welt replaced using the same holes for inseaming, provided we are talking about handsewn inseams. But pegging is done blind, so to speak, and there is virtually no possibility of using the same holes.

    Now, in most cases pegged work, even with resoling, will last years and years...no names, no pack drill...but eventually the damage is so extensive that the boot or shoe is a loss. Even if the customer is OK with that, for the maker it is, objectively, a weakness.

    [​IMG]

    No tickee, no dancing girls.


    For you...WADR...probably not enough for you to worry about.

    Burnishing can be, often is, polishing. Burnishing happens on damp vegetable tanned leather. For dry leather (of any tannage), a little Bick4 as a lubricant (more to protect the finish than the leather itself).

    Don't take that to mean that any conditioner or product is acceptable. Depends on the leather.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,238
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    I don't think any leather is waterproof. I used to buy a very high tech Ox from Norway that was touted as the most waterproof leather in the world. I soaked it in warm water and after 4-6 hours it was wet enough to stretch and shape...and hold that shape.

    Beyond that, Traditionally if a maker of leather bottles, for instance, wanted to make his creations waterproof he would paint the insides with pine tar as well as coat the seams with tar. It worked brilliantly.

    Now, what people don't seem to be able to grasp, despite my repeating it, is that a handwelted inseam is sewn with thread which is coated with a wax that is comprised of pine pitch and pine rosin and maybe some small amount of beeswax or oil. As the thread runs through the holes in the insole, the wax/pitch/rosin heats up and melts--effectively sealing the holes. The seam is sealed in the same way as seams coated with pine tar---because it is essentially the same product and application.

    No other method can duplicate this result.

    As a bonus, the rosin and pitch then harden and bond the thread to the fibers of the leather so that it takes great effort to remove them if that should become necessary.

    Outsoles that are hand stitched are sewn with a similar wax coating on the threads, and again the stitches lock to each other and to the fibers of the leather.

    So...the assertion that "traditional welted leather is a challenge" with regard to waterproofing is simply dead wrong. It might be a challenge for those unwilling to work for a "desired" result, but it is the leather, not the welt work, that is the weak link.

    Contemporary, expedient, machine effected, welted work is another matter...but you did say "traditional welted..."

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  13. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

    Messages:
    1,437
    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    Well, for any kind of welt, I still have to brush care product into them to protect that area, so, yah.

    However, tanned leather, historically, are fairly water resistance, don't you think? Apart from shell cordovan and waxed calf, nowadays I think leathers were may be well tanned, but poorly treated, therefore weakened water resistance.
     
  14. PCK1

    PCK1 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,064
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    Go take your shell AE's through a swamp and see how water resistant they are...

    Walking in the rain a couple of minutes a day is not a test of water resistance.
     
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    8,238
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    Location:
    The Highlands of Central Oregon
    

    No...

    I think you must have missed it the first time I answered this question...

    Leather is tanned in a wet environment--in pits filled with water and bark or with chromium salts. It has to be hydrophillic/ porous enough to absorb the tanning agents or it's going to be rawhide forever..
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  16. OzzyJones

    OzzyJones Senior member

    Messages:
    3,006
    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2012
    Location:
    Here
  17. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

    Messages:
    1,437
    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    Quote: I get ya alright, but the thing is, I read books about tannage in the 1900s and 1910s - 20s, where, after tanned, leather was carefully and meticulously stuffed, curried, and finished. I think most leathers nowadays, in terms of "different", lies heaviest in those parts, don't you think?
     
  18. PCK1

    PCK1 Senior member

    Messages:
    3,064
    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Location:
    NY
    [​IMG]

    books > real life
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  19. dbhdnhdbh

    dbhdnhdbh Senior member

    Messages:
    330
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    I suppose it depends on what one means by "waterproof". Standing in water above the ankles for several hours? Walking several blocks in heavy rain? Somewhere in between?

    For the former, it is still hard for me to buy that the weak point will be somewhere other than the seams. If it took hours of soaking (both sides exposed, I assume) to get "waterproof" leather wet, that is probably waterproof enough for nearly all purposes. Beyond that, back to rubber.

    For the latter, which is the most to which one might want to subject a pair of dress shoes, we are really talking about whether the water damages the shoes, not whether your feet will get wet. In heavy enough rain, or puddles, water will come in over the top of the shoe anyway. It will not matter how tight the shoe may be.

    DW,

    For your custom handmade work, of course, I will take your word for it. But have you used traditional methods to make shoes or boots that were to be used where they really needed to be waterproof? Standing or walking for hours in water above the ankle, for example? If the leather wets, swells, and flexes, it still seems that the seams should be the weak points. The sole itself should get floppy when wet, doesn't it? It would appear the whole method of seaming the shoes depends on a tight contact between leather pieces between the stitches. If this loosens up, due to wetting and walking, then the stitches themselves could remain dry while the seam would not longer be waterproof.

    But of course, I have never tried bespoke footwear of any kind and I would never take such a pair and abuse them in water for hours on end.
     
  20. traverscao

    traverscao Senior member

    Messages:
    1,437
    Joined:
    May 22, 2013
    Location:
    United States
    Water doesn not exactly damage the leather. However, leather prolonged in water without care can bring horrible results.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by