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

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

  1. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Oddly, women that I work with are very good workers and smart people. I can point to more women i'd like to work with than men on projects. I don't know what the deal is, but they seem to be great achievers in the workplace. Maybe subliminally they put in more effort because they aren't looked with as much regard as men?
     
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  2. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    All this sounds horribly like: 'women are such good little people but not on par with men'.
     
  3. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    I don't want to derail this thread too much further, but I'll say that I've had good experiences and bad experiences with coworkers of either gender. Dickishness, despite the allusions in the name, does not limit itself to one gender. That being said, on average, I find women to be better colleagues. They seem more socially competent, and less prone to territoriality and other forms of aggressive-political bullshit. (That's not to say that women are incapable of being political; many of them are phenomenally adept office politicians.) A woman seems more likely to grasp the concept that a rising tide lifts all boats. A man seems more likely to believe in zero-sum outcomes, and to act primarily in self interest.

    Of course, men are also more prone to making sweeping generalizations, as I am demonstrating right now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  4. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Women aren't only great workers they are also cheaper. Win win!
     
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  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    :lurk:
     
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  6. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    The show's over, DW. Time to get back to shoes! [​IMG]
     
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  7. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm curious about the stiffness of leather shoes, particularly the linings vs. the uppers. This pair that I am wearing had all new linings put in and they are noticeably stiffer than pre-resole. Is the stiffness of shoes more due to linings or uppers? I would think linings because they get a veg tan.
     
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Who knows? If the uppers were not replaced it has to come down to the lining and / or the insole. Wasn't the insole replaced, as well?

    Worst thing about being a shoemaker...and this applies to workshops and manufacturers as well, albeit to a lesser degree...is that dye lots change (from the same tannery), tannages change, substances change, and sources go out of business from lack of demand. They might have ordered the same leather as the originals and it could very well be stiffer. It's out of the maker's control, really.
     
  9. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm not sure that the insole was replaced. I'm curious though. These linings are noticeably thicker to the eye and the stiffness I feel is more in the ball of my foot. The shoe is creasing in the same spots though.

    I came across these articles that I was curious of your take on them. The first is parts of the leather hide. This confirms what you have said about the prime area of the hide being around the kidney area, but this seems to mention that it is somewhat brittle. Any thoughts?
    http://www.lewissaddleshop.com/articles/leather_facts.htm

    Also, this article on how to select good leather from bad. I remember you saying in the past that more pores could indicate the age of the animal, this says it could have something to do with the time of slaughter which is interesting. Also, the diction on female hides being thinner, but stronger was interesting as well. I wonder if one can request a certain gender from a tannery, if they even know themselves?

    http://www.lewissaddleshop.com/articles/the_good,_the_bad,_and_the_ugly.htm
     
  10. ldibiasio

    ldibiasio Member

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    Hi all,

    First post here been lurking for a few months. Thank you all very much for your contributions.

    I just received a brand new pair of Merlot Nathan's. I took them to my local cobbler to get them shined for my first wear on New Year's Eve. I've used this guy for years. Anyways he started by stripping off the outer coat applied at the factory and start building with kiwi. The polish really started to cake up ALOT. He kept trying to strip down and refinish. I spent two hours with him. I wasn't happy when I left because the polish was flaking like crazy. He tried with two different colors the last being kiwi cordovan. I went to Allen Edmonds and picked up some cleaner conditioner to try to strip them myself. I removed ALOT of dark gunk. Then I applied Allen Edmonds merlot polish. I mostly corrected them. However, the left captoe has a very dark discoloration that I can't correct. I don't think it's built up wax. I think it somehow got stained by one of his polishes or the factory finish was removed. I supplied the best picture I could take. I am extremely frustrated that this happened with a brand new pair of shoes. My cobbler said he would strip them down and re-stain them (whatever that means), but I suspect he's just going to strip them down and rebuild with a darker polish which I really don't want. I think it would be a temporary solution. I contact recrafting and they told me their re-finishing package would not correct them.

    Does anyone have any suggestions other than killing my cobbler? I though maybe I can try to burnish both toe caps to make it look more even? Thank you all in advance for your help.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Kahuna75

    Kahuna75 Senior member

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    @ldibiasio I am no pro at polishing and not sure if you are looking for a mirror shine or not however the only thing I have found with AE leather is that a lot of it needs time to dry out between stripping stuff off and applying more treatment. Personally I wait 24 hours between any treatments I do.

    I would just leave those for a week and see what happens...I think a lot of the strippers, cleaners, conditionors will evaporate and then asses your next step.
     
  12. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, #1 your shoes need not be polished for their first wear. I think what you have there is the finish applied at the factory was removed and then the polish he was using penetrated the leather and darkened them in that spot. That's my best guess.
     
  13. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    There's a rumor going around that AE puts some sort of finishing layer on its shoes these days. How long they've been doing it, and precisely what it is, is anyone's guess. I've heard it contains silicone, or some other form of semipermeable sealant. Anyhow, whether this finishing layer does or does not exist, AE shoes can sometimes present difficulties in shining.

    I'll let a more seasoned expert like David address your question on a prescriptive level: i.e., what the f- you can actually do about that dark spot. I'll limit my commentary to generalized advice. First, I would not trust your local cobbler to do a proper stripping and re-dye job. Redying a shoe involves a lot more than just applying successive layers of polish onto the leather, which is what I suspect a local cobbler would do.

    There was a day, sadly long ago, when many (most?) local cobblers were highly adept at what they did. They weren't master shoemakers, per se, but they were competent at most steps of the process, or at the very least, they were good reverse engineers. Today, welted shoes are increasingly rare, and many cobblers are limited to competence in a small range of repair functions. These mostly involve the replacement of outsoles and heels, and to varying degrees, the refurbishment of insoles and midsoles.

    I'd say you have two options available to you. The first option is to accept the dark spot as patina, and to live with it. Personally speaking, I don't find the odd dark spot on a merlot-colored shoe to be too big of a problem. Merlot benefits from depth, IMO. This may not be the kind of depth you want, nor in the pattern you want it. But I've seen and lived with a lot worse.

    The second option is to send the shoes off to a slightly higher-end repair shop, like B. Nelson. Ordinarily I'd suggest sending them back to AE for a factory refurbishment, but if you've had any noticeable work done by a third party, that may not be an option anymore. Provided the local cobbler didn't replace any factory-installed parts, you might want to try this out.
     
  14. ldibiasio

    ldibiasio Member

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    Thank you everyone for your responses so far. My concern with accepting the mark as patina is that it is much more visible outside in the sun than in daylight.
     
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  15. Big Texas

    Big Texas Senior member

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    Did your cobbler touch the soles or heels at all? I'm assuming no, since there was no need. But just wondering. If he didn't, you might want to try sending them back to AE. Of course, be prepared to be a little bit liberal with the truth of your narrative when you do. :) Just say you tried to polish them and must have messed something up, or better yet, say as little as possible.

    If you're feeling more ethically constrained, then just send them off to someone like B. Nelson, explain the sitch in its full, gory detail, and discuss the options available.
     
  16. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    E does have some sort of weird spray coating. There's a video of inside their factory applying it. It does make it difficult to get a shine. I polish a friend's AE's sometimes and it is excruciating.

    I'd say that using Renomat on that toe might be your best bet, but that might take some color off as well, if that happens id say you would have to do the cap completely in order to recolor, the cap to make it look even, but who knows the reno might do the trick followed by cordovan shoe cream applied sparingly in small layers with buffing in-between followed by a few layers of wax polish.
     
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    If the shoe feels stiffer in the ball of the foot...meaning it is harder to bend the joint area of the shoe...it is unlikely (but not impossible) that the lining is the culprit. Maybe they added a side liner that was not there originally...or...the insole is stiffer for some reason.

    My biggest problem with both of these articles is that they are aimed at 'civilians" as who should say. So details and qualifiers and so forth are missing. For instance, a bend doesn't go all the way to the neck...at least not from any of the tanneries I've been buying from. The shoulder is not part of the bend. And all my sources...outsoles, not harness leather...include a good section of what they are calling the "middle" as part of the bend. Also the prime area is over the kidneys which is less than half the area of a bend. Granted the rest of the bend may be good to middlin', it is not prime. And the good stuff doesn't just drop off when you get to the neck or the belly, it is getting "flankier" and looser the further you get from the prime areas.

    As for brittleness, I'm sure there is some truth to that but if you don't want a stiff grain you use other leathers or others parts of the hide. It's not significant on outsole leather, IOW. A bag maker, saddlemaker, beltmakers, etc., is not looking for the same thing as a shoemaker. Additionally, rolling the leather makes it much, much stiffer and brittle than if it were not rolled. It also makes it wear better and longer.

    The second article is pretty good but again mostly generalizations. I think you have to read really authoritative texts on leather chemistry and / or work with leather for decades before you can really distinguish fact from fiction and even then it's the actual hands-on experience that confers wisdom, not the book learnin'.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
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  18. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I was curious about it because the guy who writes it claims to be a bootmaker or something.
     
  19. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The dark spot on the toe is evidence that the finish and perhaps even the leather (is it shell? if not then the grain surface of the leather) itself has been damaged. The leather in that area is absorbing wax, oils, dyes,etc., at a different / greater rate than the more impermeable leather surrounding it. It is like a very, very, superficial scuff.

    If that analysis proves correct, there's not much that can be done to bring it back. Sorry. I hope I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
  20. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I know him... I've known him since before 1997 (when that was written) He's a great guy and very knowledgeable and a good shoemaker. And he has read the texts.

    That said, we all said and wrote things 20 years ago that we would revise if we could. Or maybe we didn't...maybe it was just me.

    In any case, I still think hands-on experience will teach you a lot that you can't get in books...nevermind the internet.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2015
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