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friendlygoz

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In the interest of closing the loop... I completed the dye project on the AE Rutledge pair that I showed a few days ago. These are ehhhhh --- 6 years old, I think, so not quite vintage but a relatively vintage pair compared to my own rotation of welted shoes that I bought new (does that qualify my post as topical? no? I agree, sorry).

They ended up a bit differently than I'd planned. Ironically, these turned out to be more of a learning experience for me than the British Walkers that I did a few weeks ago. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that. I learned equally from both but perhaps was a little over confident after the first pair. I wouldn't say that I am unhappy with how they turned out --- actually they fit a nice slot in my rotation now (which was the plan) and they may be a little easier to wear than what I was initially targeting, although more dressy.

So, before pics... lessons learned:

1. Be patient with the dye. Everyone always says this but really... patience is a virtue. I layed down about 6 or so coats of heavily diluted navy dye and it just seemed like it was way too transparent and I was still seeing brown undertones from the base leather. So said to myself, hmmm... I think I need to go stronger and see what happens. So I layed down a single coat of 100% strength navy blue dye. Ah hah! Progress! And with that... I layed down several more. I think I may have been deceived by that irridescent/bronzy look that you get with the dye sometimes. I will admit that I was shooting for a true navy blue tilting towards a midnight blue on the toes but I ended up with midnight blue throughout. I did lay down several coats of black along the brogue trim but it isn't that obvious.

2. Take your taping seriously! I did actually tape off the welt pretty carefully, I thought. But I must have had some run off that got onto the welt, which blew up my plans for either a natural or chili colored edge. I tried to clean up the mistake but just made it worse and decided to go with a black welt and edge instead. This is not the end of the world. In fact, I was debating going with black from the get-go but the error forced my hand.

Finally, I know that there are some who will say that I took a good pair and made them worse. There may be a kernel of truth to that! However, these were not getting worn anymore since I have other walnut colored pairs that I prefered. The airbrushed trim was flaking off and looked like crap and the toes were looking very splotchy. To this day, I am not sure what caused the splotchyness since I know that i did not stain them --- they just kind of evolved that way with wear and polishing. All of that aside, as I mentioned earlier, this fit a hole in my rotation so I am very pleased to have them and I know that they'll get worn now, which is what really matters most.

Anyway... too much text. Pics below.

View attachment 1207954

View attachment 1207955
those came out nicely. congrats. I had the same experience of going from diluted to full strength on the coats I laid down on my first and only shoe dying venture. I wasn't happy with how dark they were, so I rubbed the heck out of them with VSC, which accomplished the dual task of taking off some dye (and thus lightening the brown color) and moisturizing the leather. At at any rate, cheers to you on a great job.
 

stook1

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My ears are plugged and my eyes covered. I was on BAT religiously back in the early days before it turned into an auction site. I am a bit of a vintage car nut and I can not afford to get sucked back in with all of these expensive shoes I have been buying.

PS - that's a cool Merc, although truth be told I prefer a 500e myself.

^ well done, @stook1 ! I have never dyed a pair so I am in awe. I love how they turned out. Remind me of this 904U Dunkelblau MB I was looking at on Bringatrailer. Almost black in some photos, but in the right lighting the blue stands out.

View attachment 1207977
 

stook1

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I think for this kind of project the thing to do, perhaps, is to do a spot conditioning or wipe down midway through the dye effort so that it's possible to visualize the progress. Or maybe it's just an experience thing... I didn't realize how dark I'd made them. I am going to wear them around a couple times and see how they do. I think it might be a good way to dip my toes into the navy footwear thing. This is my first pair and I have been contemplating navy shell but was apprehensive about making such an expensive purchase without know if they'd see a lot of foot action.

those came out nicely. congrats. I had the same experience of going from diluted to full strength on the coats I laid down on my first and only shoe dying venture. I wasn't happy with how dark they were, so I rubbed the heck out of them with VSC, which accomplished the dual task of taking off some dye (and thus lightening the brown color) and moisturizing the leather. At at any rate, cheers to you on a great job.
 

wasmisterfu

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In the interest of closing the loop... I completed the dye project on the AE Rutledge pair that I showed a few days ago. These are ehhhhh --- 6 years old, I think, so not quite vintage but a relatively vintage pair compared to my own rotation of welted shoes that I bought new (does that qualify my post as topical? no? I agree, sorry).

They ended up a bit differently than I'd planned. Ironically, these turned out to be more of a learning experience for me than the British Walkers that I did a few weeks ago. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that. I learned equally from both but perhaps was a little over confident after the first pair. I wouldn't say that I am unhappy with how they turned out --- actually they fit a nice slot in my rotation now (which was the plan) and they may be a little easier to wear than what I was initially targeting, although more dressy.

So, before pics... lessons learned:

1. Be patient with the dye. Everyone always says this but really... patience is a virtue. I layed down about 6 or so coats of heavily diluted navy dye and it just seemed like it was way too transparent and I was still seeing brown undertones from the base leather. So said to myself, hmmm... I think I need to go stronger and see what happens. So I layed down a single coat of 100% strength navy blue dye. Ah hah! Progress! And with that... I layed down several more. I think I may have been deceived by that irridescent/bronzy look that you get with the dye sometimes. I will admit that I was shooting for a true navy blue tilting towards a midnight blue on the toes but I ended up with midnight blue throughout. I did lay down several coats of black along the brogue trim but it isn't that obvious.

2. Take your taping seriously! I did actually tape off the welt pretty carefully, I thought. But I must have had some run off that got onto the welt, which blew up my plans for either a natural or chili colored edge. I tried to clean up the mistake but just made it worse and decided to go with a black welt and edge instead. This is not the end of the world. In fact, I was debating going with black from the get-go but the error forced my hand.

Finally, I know that there are some who will say that I took a good pair and made them worse. There may be a kernel of truth to that! However, these were not getting worn anymore since I have other walnut colored pairs that I prefered. The airbrushed trim was flaking off and looked like crap and the toes were looking very splotchy. To this day, I am not sure what caused the splotchyness since I know that i did not stain them --- they just kind of evolved that way with wear and polishing. All of that aside, as I mentioned earlier, this fit a hole in my rotation so I am very pleased to have them and I know that they'll get worn now, which is what really matters most.

Anyway... too much text. Pics below.

View attachment 1207954

View attachment 1207955
I think you did an outstanding job with those. The midnight looks fantastic and, while subtle, the black brogued trim detail is very nice. Those are now some very nice AE’s indeed. Though I can’t speak for everyone, I’m willing to give them an honorary vintage title.

As for your guidance, virtually everything in shoe modification, restoration, etc., is about patience. Hell, slow methodical projects is kinda why I think a lot of us do this stuff. Your notes on switching from diluted to full strength dye is interesting and helpful, along with the other details.

As for the flaking/splotch finish issues with the original Walnut trim on those Rutledge’s, that puts them right around 2013-14, as AE had a couple of lighter colors that had that problem (I recall a lot of hulking&raging about the issue). AE has since changed the process. You were right to strip them, because they were going to need it anyway, and the result speaks for itself.

Anyone who thinks they look worse, and not excellent, is either: A. tripping on acid; B. endowed with poor taste or C. actually blind.
 

Numbernine

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Anyone ever put "too much" bick4 on a pair of shoes?
In the interest of closing the loop... I completed the dye project on the AE Rutledge pair that I showed a few days ago. These are ehhhhh --- 6 years old, I think, so not quite vintage but a relatively vintage pair compared to my own rotation of welted shoes that I bought new (does that qualify my post as topical? no? I agree, sorry).

They ended up a bit differently than I'd planned. Ironically, these turned out to be more of a learning experience for me than the British Walkers that I did a few weeks ago. Well, maybe I shouldn't say that. I learned equally from both but perhaps was a little over confident after the first pair. I wouldn't say that I am unhappy with how they turned out --- actually they fit a nice slot in my rotation now (which was the plan) and they may be a little easier to wear than what I was initially targeting, although more dressy.

So, before pics... lessons learned:

1. Be patient with the dye. Everyone always says this but really... patience is a virtue. I layed down about 6 or so coats of heavily diluted navy dye and it just seemed like it was way too transparent and I was still seeing brown undertones from the base leather. So said to myself, hmmm... I think I need to go stronger and see what happens. So I layed down a single coat of 100% strength navy blue dye. Ah hah! Progress! And with that... I layed down several more. I think I may have been deceived by that irridescent/bronzy look that you get with the dye sometimes. I will admit that I was shooting for a true navy blue tilting towards a midnight blue on the toes but I ended up with midnight blue throughout. I did lay down several coats of black along the brogue trim but it isn't that obvious.

2. Take your taping seriously! I did actually tape off the welt pretty carefully, I thought. But I must have had some run off that got onto the welt, which blew up my plans for either a natural or chili colored edge. I tried to clean up the mistake but just made it worse and decided to go with a black welt and edge instead. This is not the end of the world. In fact, I was debating going with black from the get-go but the error forced my hand.

Finally, I know that there are some who will say that I took a good pair and made them worse. There may be a kernel of truth to that! However, these were not getting worn anymore since I have other walnut colored pairs that I prefered. The airbrushed trim was flaking off and looked like crap and the toes were looking very splotchy. To this day, I am not sure what caused the splotchyness since I know that i did not stain them --- they just kind of evolved that way with wear and polishing. All of that aside, as I mentioned earlier, this fit a hole in my rotation so I am very pleased to have them and I know that they'll get worn now, which is what really matters most.

Anyway... too much text. Pics below.

View attachment 1207954

View attachment 1207955
I think they look great . That before shot looks almost like something solvent like got on the cap edge and carried the stain.
 

Oshare

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Anyone ever put "too much" bick4 on a pair of shoes?
Yes, and it's not nice.

At least on shell... Not sure if calf would fare better.

On shell at least, it's important to go slowly and let the previous coat completely absorb before applying any more Bick 4. If you are overzealous and do too much, too quickly, you end up with a tacky mess.
 

stook1

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Since I seem to have gotten away with posting those AEs, I am going to really press my luck. I actually was tag teaming a 2nd pair at the same time I was working on the AEs.

First a quick back story. So I kinda like boat shoes during the summer and have for a while. What can I say, I live in New England. So a couple years ago I got what I thought was an amazing score. There was one small catch (isnt there always). They were final sale. But they were MiUSA RL boat shoes and they were something like $80, if recollection serves.

Anyway, they landed at my front door. Excited, I unpacked them to get my first fitting and low and behold they were unwearable. Like, just rediculous. They were marked as green so I figured OK must be olive or something. Nope! More like Kermit green. So, back in the box they went where they sat for 2 or 3 years.

Fast forward to the early spring and I said to myself...self - something needs to be done with those RLs. I was/am about 85% sure that they're rancourts and it seemed crazy not to do something with them.

So before I got into this whole dye nonsense I used various saphir creams to really tone them down. Mostly brown and black, if recollection serves. One quick personal side note. I am red/green color blind. So I wrapped up the polish job and I'll be damned they look half way decent. Certainly wearable. However, my dear wife came along and gave her raised eyebrow plus snarky comment thing suggesting that they might not be so great afterall.

Still I persisted and wore them several times. Let me tell you, they are comfortable as all hell. They might be best fitting hand sewns net-net. But still every time I wore them a took a bunch of crap from my wife about how terrible they look.

So, these became project #3. Stripped them and dyed with red, orange, brown, and oxblood dye. The goal was to turn these into a more boring conventional brown. Let me tell yah, this was not nearly as easy as I expected. Green leather seems to be way more persistent than you'd imagine.

You can see the original green on the inside of the shoes. They've toned down a little from wearing them barefoot.

Finally, worry not. I am officially on sabbatical from dye work at least until the restoration challenge!

20190716_164248.jpg
 
Last edited:

wasmisterfu

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Yes, and it's not nice.

At least on shell... Not sure if calf would fare better.

On shell at least, it's important to go slowly and let the previous coat completely absorb before applying any more Bick 4. If you are overzealous and do too much, too quickly, you end up with a tacky mess.
Can’t speak for Bick 4, but if you use too much AE Leather Lotion, you end up with a soggy shoe. Good news is, just let them dry for a day and they’ll be fine.
 

wasmisterfu

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Since I seem to have gotten away with posting those AEs, I am going to really press my luck. I actually was tag teaming a 2nd pair at the same time I was working on the AEs.

First a quick back story. So I kinda like boat shoes during the summer and have for a while. What can I say, I live in New England. So a couple years ago I got what I thought was an amazing score. There was one small catch (isnt there always). They were final sale. But they were MiUSA RL boat shoes and they were something like $80, if recollection serves.

Anyway, they landed at my front door. Excited, I unpacked them to get my first fitting and low and behold they were unwearable. Like, just rediculous. They were marked as green so I figured OK must be olive or something. Nope! More like Kermit green. So, back in the box they went where they sat for 2 or 3 years.

Fast forward to the early spring and I said to myself...self - something needs to be done with those RLs. I was/am about 85% sure that they're rancourts and it seemed crazy not to do something with them.

So before I got into this whole dye nonsense I used various saphir creams to really tone them down. Mostly brown and black, if recollection serves. One quick personal side note. I am red/green color blind. So I wrapped up the polish job and I'll be damned they look half way decent. Certainly wearable. However, my dear wife came along and gave her raised eyebrow plus snarky comment thing suggesting that they might not be so great afterall.

Still I persisted and wore them several times. Let me tell you, they are comfortable as all hell. They might be best fitting hand sewns net-net. But still every time I wore them a took a bunch of crap from my wife about how terrible they look.

So, these became project #3. Stripped them and dyed with red, orange, brown, and oxblood dye. The goal was to turn these into a more boring conventional brown. Let me tell yah, this was not nearly as easy as I expected. Green leather seems to be way more persistent than you'd imagine.

You can see the original green on the inside of the shoes. They've toned down a little from wearing them barefoot.

View attachment 1207988
Lol... Kermit green. That said, they look pretty nice (I’m not a boat shoe person). They’re from the Lewiston factory, now spun back out as Rancourt.
 

Paul902

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My ears are plugged and my eyes covered. I was on BAT religiously back in the early days before it turned into an auction site. I am a bit of a vintage car nut and I can not afford to get sucked back in with all of these expensive shoes I have been buying.

PS - that's a cool Merc, although truth be told I prefer a 500e myself.
I'm with you on that! 500Es are very rare on the ground here in Canada. I failed to pull the trigger fast enough on one last fall. Might not get another chance.
 

stook1

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I'm with you on that! 500Es are very rare on the ground here in Canada. I failed to pull the trigger fast enough on one last fall. Might not get another chance.
They come up from time to time, although I say that having not looked in a number of years. I want to say the first year or two of production there were some problematic electrical issues. I mean, it can't be as bad as lucas electrics in old british cars but knowing the Germans they're almost certainly needlessly overcomplicated in the interest of simplicity or engineering perfection or something like that.
 
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stook1

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Yah, I'm not sure what happened. Wasmisterfu seemed to know about the issue from back in the day. If you really want to know, I think it happened just from polishing them with saphir creams and polishes. At the time, I was newer to shoe care and prone to needless polishing. It wasn't helpful, as most of us know. With that said, I really dont think it's anything I did. I take impeccable care of my shoes and they were not stained or exposed to any solvents other than what's in the saphir products.

As an aside, other than this issue, independence line shoes from that time are an incredible value used these days. I find them to be a significant step up in quality from mainline AE. The upper leather and lining are much higher quality. I have a pair of walnut v1 jeffersons from the same time that are terrific shoes. Will post a pic when I have a chance.

I think they look great . That before shot looks almost like something solvent like got on the cap edge and carried the stain.
 

mreams99

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I found what appears to be unworn Wright Nomads in my size. I wore them for a couple of hours last night and they seem to fit well, but could use some conditioner.

I think this is bison. What do you think?

E624FF1D-1605-466F-A872-B671AD7AE435.jpeg
5D002B14-2F98-4CD0-ABAF-D384E34BA0E2.jpeg
 

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