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

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

  1. mymil

    mymil Senior member

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    If anybody's interested, here's how I care for my shell cordovan boots (Carmina 80184s in saddle shell) that I've regularly worn in the rain for the past two months, with photos of what they look like after each stage (cross-posted from http://www.styleforum.net/t/277505/epaulet-x-carmina-mto-group-buy-for-spring-2012 with some edits).

    Caveat: I'm not an expert by any means. This is just what I do. I've both read and watched many resources, however, and it seems to have been working well at least in the short-term.

    The materials I use are: a soft cloth, a deer polishing bone, a soft horsehair brush, and Renovateur. I wear nitrile gloves both when using the deer bone because it makes my hand smell weird and when applying the Renovateur because I don't want to absorb it through my skin.

    1) Clean! I start by gently wiping them off with a dry, soft cloth to remove any dust or other particulate. Then with moderate pressure I wipe them down with a slightly damp cloth to clean them off. I find that this removes nearly all of the spotting from being in the rain (which is relatively minor to begin with). I give them a very quick brush at this point, too, just for kicks. Here's a photo of my boots just after cleaning and brushing with all of my supplies except the soft cloth:

    [​IMG]

    2) After cleaning, I bone the entire boot. Some people suggest moving the bone in small circles, and I've seen others move it perpendicular to its long edge. But because of my particular bone's shape and a few rough spots that can (and have!) left minor scuffs, I mostly move it back and forth like a bow, using moderate pressure. It leaves behind a fatty, oily residue that conditions the leather.

    Speaking of scuffs, here's proof that they can be smoothed like magic out by doing the above, before and after:

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    The boot on the right (below) has had the deer polishing bone applied to it. It's somewhat hard to tell from the photograph, but it has a waxier appearance at this point.

    [​IMG]

    3) After boning, I brush the boots with a horsehair brush to flatten the oils left behind on the leather from the deer polishing bone. I imagine that the friction from the brushing warms up the leather and oils, helping the leather incorporate its nourishment---but I don't know whether this is accurate. The boot on the right has been brushed, the left has only been boned.

    [​IMG]

    4) Next I apply Renovateur with a soft cloth over my index and middle fingers (too impatient to use just my index finger) in small circular movements. It soaks right in and darkens the leather. At this point any remaining water spots are gone. The right boot has Renovateur applied to it, so the leather is much duller than the boot on the left, which was just brushed.

    [​IMG]

    5) Then I brush them again! I don't spend too much time on this, because I find buffing with a soft cloth has a much greater effect. Brushed on the right, Renovateur on the left.

    [​IMG]

    6) After brushing, the final step is buffing with a soft cloth. If I had an even finer cloth (or nylon stockings or a lambswool shine mitt, neither of which I've yet tried), I think I could bring out an even greater shine with not much more effort. The right boot has been buffed, the left just brushed.

    [​IMG]

    And the finished boots, radiating in diffuse outdoor light.

    [​IMG]
     


  2. Gerry Nelson

    Gerry Nelson Senior member

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    Very nicely done! Thanks for taking the time to put all that together [​IMG]
     


  3. SHS

    SHS Senior member

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    Great post.

    :slayer:
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012


  4. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    That has to be the best post on this thread for 2012 - Well done mymil.
     


  5. gyasih

    gyasih Senior member

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    How do people care for their C&J Northcote? Do you use regular wax and cream or is something else needed because of the waxed leather?
     


  6. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    From what I understand the Northcote is basically corrected grain leather - if this is the case, a damp cloth & wipe should suffice.

    Polishes aren't really going to get absorbed very much through the artificial veneer - they'll shine, but just sit on top.
     


  7. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    :uhoh:

    How sure are you about this?

    I know that most makers use some leathers that have had some corrective work done to the surface finish. But I'd hate to think that C&J uses any finishes that are 'veneered' or 'plasticized'.

    Could you say more about what you know in this regard?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012


  8. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    This is a quote from the C&J website concerning care of their waxed leathers:

    Waxed-finished or waterproof leather uppers should be treated with dubbin or a ‘waxed leather cream’ to condition, soften and protect the leather. Usually there is no need to use a coloured polish on this type of leather as it is not supposed to have a high shine.
     


  9. gyasih

    gyasih Senior member

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    +1


    Thanks, shows you how important SF is. I come here for info instead of shoe maker's website.
     


  10. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    Firstly as long as Gyasih is happy with the advice then nothing else really matters.

    I don't have any direct experience with the Northcote, hence my 'from what I understand..'

    But I can confidently tell you and Gyasih that 1) C&J do produce a small number of styles in Corrected Grain leather

    2) Applying dubbin to corrected grain is only going to dull it's hi-shine aesthetic and I certainly wouldn't recommend it - it's quite pointless.

    Now whether the Northcote is Corrected Grain I would imagine Gyasih would be able to tell/post pic or at least tell us whether it has a shiny finish?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012


  11. gyasih

    gyasih Senior member

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    Here's a picture, I have brown

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012


  12. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    I can't tell if it's corrected grain from the photo, but obviously they have a high shine so I'm not sure about the dubbin suggestion Gdot made either.

    C&J usually term their corrected grain offerings Cavalry Calf
     


  13. gyasih

    gyasih Senior member

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    No, they call it waxed calf
     


  14. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Seeing those pictures I would agree that dubbin seems an odd suggestion for boots with that high a shine. My information is based solely on what I found on the website - the boots are said to be 'waxed calf' and the directions I quoted were their recommendations for waxed calf. I have no experience with this leather from C&J so I can't claim to know anything more.


    Now that you mention it I do recall some mention of Cavalry Calf in other threads. I had forgotten about that. As best I recall this was a corrected grain in that it had been sanded and heavily dyed? But it was not a split? Not really sure I completely remember. It's a big difference in quality between the two types. Surely C&J doesn't use a split leather.
     


  15. Northampton Novice

    Northampton Novice Senior member

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    C&J are considered by many as a benchmark for quality but that doesn't mean they don't use corrected grain leather or even split leather.

    After all suede is typically produced from the under layer of a hide that has been split.

    It would seem clear that Cavalry calf = corrected grain.

    Whereas waxed calf is likely to be box calf that has been waxed after manufacture. In which case any beeswax based polish like Saphir will keep them looking good Gyasih.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012


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