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wasmisterfu

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We need an update. Pronto.
1716131202472.gif
 

suitforcourt

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wasmisterfu

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On a serious note: while I’ve done a fair amount of restoration work over the years, but I’ve not dealt with buckskin (which the Empires in question are tan calf and white buckskin). Given the timeframe these were made, these are likely legit buckskin, not nubuck or the like.

Besides being a tad dingy in the photos, what are the maintenance options and procedures for 70 year old buckskin?

Calling @davidVC , if you’re around, along with anyone else with advice.
 

wasmisterfu

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Here’s an interesting (to me) pair I wore for dinner yesterday (but didn’t think to photograph on my feet). These are a pin-grain AE Lloyd (circa 1983). I’ve only ever seen two examples of these (this being one of them); the pin-grain was a short-lived textured grain option AE offered for a few years in the early 80’s. It’s like a finer version of a pebble grain.

IMG_0913.jpeg


What you’ll notice is the 7 eyelets: they took the MacGregor pattern, entirely unmodified (same medallion, same cotton drill + leather lining) and pulled it over a MacNeil (7) last - a full five years after ending the MacGregor.

Given it’s the same pattern, it’s remarkable how much the last changes the look of the shoe.

And yes, I put those silly laces on, and yes they’re really that red.
 

sam67

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On a serious note: while I’ve done a fair amount of restoration work over the years, but I’ve not dealt with buckskin (which the Empires in question are tan calf and white buckskin). Given the timeframe these were made, these are likely legit buckskin, not nubuck or the like.

Besides being a tad dingy in the photos, what are the maintenance options and procedures for 70 year old buckskin?

Calling @davidVC , if you’re around, along with anyone else with advice.
I don't think it's exactly the same material but I used the Saphir Omni'nettoyont on these Nunn Bush (122), mid 1950s , I believe. It worked well. Then sprayed with Renovateur

71423047702__E417BC6D-4BC4-41DA-B10C-A9D94D7A2BA9.jpeg
Screenshot 2024-05-19 at 21.43.06.png


tempImagevLF00c.png
 

wasmisterfu

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Here's another unworn pair. These are 1970 Florsheim Model 30736, the Varsity in Bookbinder. That's the name of the color, it doesn't related to what we think of as modern bookbinder leather. View attachment 2187217 View attachment 2187219 View attachment 2187221 View attachment 2187223 View attachment 2187225
Have you ever been subjected to my detailed analysis and grandiose prose on the subject of Bookbinder, versus CG, versus split grain, etc.?

Even I marvel at my own insanity. Let me know if you want the run down. Hell there’s a non-zero chance I might just repost it all because: madness.

(Also, those LWD Florsheim’s are very nice.)
 

wasmisterfu

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actionjbone

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Have you ever been subjected to my detailed analysis and grandiose prose on the subject of Bookbinder, versus CG, versus split grain, etc.?

Even I marvel at my own insanity. Let me know if you want the run down. Hell there’s a non-zero chance I might just repost it all because: madness.

(Also, those LWD Florsheim’s are very nice.)
I would enjoy learning what you know about your insanity.

Specifically, the stuff related to leather.
 

wasmisterfu

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I would enjoy learning what you know about your insanity.

Specifically, the stuff related to leather.
IMG_3811.jpeg


In the beginning, there was calf, and it was good:

IMG_0365.jpeg


But tanneries and shoe companies figured out they could take leather with a few minor issues, emboss a nice pattern, and it would still be good… this is/was called many things: cashmere, pebble grain, and so on:

IMG_0380.jpeg


Meanwhile, fanhncy people decided (a while earlier) that they needed extra shiny shoes, so (several) processes were invented, at least one patented, leading to the name patent leather. Current-era (last 60 years or so) Patent leather involves taking regular full-grain calf, buffing down grain and applying layers of dye and polyurethane finish. They are very shiny and oh so fahncy:

IMG_0059.jpeg


Awhile later, the British realized it rains a lot on their island and decided that the soggy “squish” noise of soaked leather was unbecoming in places such as White’s, Brook’s and Boodle’s (especially given the tendency of these clubs to be essentially unheated). To resolve this issue, Polished Cobbler (AKA Binder, CG, whatever) was invented by essentially applying a permashine PU finish to buffed down full-grain leather. It was decidedly “questionable”. Sometimes the results aren’t terrible (if the underlying leather is high quality):

IMG_2978.jpeg

IMG_1825.jpeg

1716177690402.jpeg

But even good quality PC, after many years, becomes catastrophic:

s-l1600.jpeg


And the only way to “restore” such a pair is the arduous, chemically challenging (for your brain) process of stripping off the finish:

IMG_0092.jpeg


And then refinishing them:

IMG_0199.jpeg


But it can be done, and they can be made good, and some might argue better.

However, not all PC / CG is made from good quality leather, often on “lesser” brands, the finish is used to hide serious leather defects “in plain sight”:

IMG_2538.jpeg

This close up of a pair of MI-India Florsheim saddles, illustrates the truly “corrected grain” end of the PC spectrum: lots of tick bites, scars, etc., which would become very obvious if you stripped the finish. These cheaper CG PC leathers tend to be much stiffer than their higher quality counterparts.

But there are things much, much, much worse than Polished Cobbler, that are often confused for such. First up we have (courtesy of VCleat) an example of split grain leather. This abomination, invented by the furniture industry, basically involves taking the bottom split of the hide, glueing on a thick PU layer and either stamping an embossed grain or just calling it a day. It’s very strange, was popular during the early death-throes of the big American shoe companies:

1716176158903.jpeg


Here you can see split cross section where DavidVC cut the leather:

1716176280131.jpeg

To quote DavidVC: “You can see the upper layer is bonded to the suede like leather.”. This stuff barely qualifies as “leather”. It’s something more akin to Corfam sitting on top of a bottom layer of leather leftover.

So that’s pretty terrible… but there’s something a billion times worse: Actual bookbinder leather, AKA Bonded Leather. This is the stuff of the end-days of MiUSA Florsheim and Dexters. This stuff is literally made by taking leather particulates, smushing them into an epoxy paste, smearing it on a fabric backing and stamping a “grain” on to it. This was used heavily in the early 90’s on dying and cheap brands and the results are horrifying:

1716178028231.jpeg

1716178057511.jpeg


These are examples of terminal stage Dexters I tore down about five years ago. What’s truly awful is bonded leather can look and feel very convincing (there’s a good chance your wife’s handbag is made from this stuff):

1716178253239.jpeg


But once this “leather” starts separating from the backing (which will happen in all cases), this is what the actual leather content looks like:

1716178381623.jpeg


And for reference, flaking off the same boot:

1716178431036.jpeg


Worst of all, it can legally (still) be called leather and marked as such (from the insole of these GYW, “Leather Uppers”, MiUSA abominations):

1716178531703.jpeg


Now, I’ve left out Horse Butt because that only really comes in the “real” category, and it’s generally awesome. But do watch out for high quality PC, as it can look in (purposefully) fuzzy eBay seller photos much like Shell Cordovan.

So now you know and…

1716178882822.jpeg
 

suitforcourt

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View attachment 2187323

In the beginning, there was calf, and it was good:

View attachment 2187325

But tanneries and shoe companies figured out they could take leather with a few minor issues, emboss a nice pattern, and it would still be good… this is/was called many things: cashmere, pebble grain, and so on:

View attachment 2187327

Meanwhile, fanhncy people decided (a while earlier) that they needed extra shiny shoes, so (several) processes were invented, at least one patented, leading to the name patent leather. Current-era (last 60 years or so) Patent leather involves taking regular full-grain calf, buffing down grain and applying layers of dye and polyurethane finish. They are very shiny and oh so fahncy:

View attachment 2187329

Awhile later, the British realized it rains a lot on their island and decided that the soggy “squish” noise of soaked leather was unbecoming in places such as White’s, Brook’s and Boodle’s (especially given the tendency of these clubs to be essentially unheated). To resolve this issue, Polished Cobbler (AKA Binder, CG, whatever) was invented by essentially applying a permashine PU finish to buffed down full-grain leather. It was decidedly “questionable”. Sometimes the results aren’t terrible (if the underlying leather is high quality):

View attachment 2187339
View attachment 2187341
View attachment 2187361
But even good quality PC, after many years, becomes catastrophic:

View attachment 2187345

And the only way to “restore” such a pair is the arduous, chemically challenging (for your brain) process of stripping off the finish:

View attachment 2187347

And then refinishing them:

View attachment 2187349

But it can be done, and they can be made good, and some might argue better.

However, not all PC / CG is made from good quality leather, often on “lesser” brands, the finish is used to hide serious leather defects “in plain sight”:

View attachment 2187351
This close up of a pair of MI-India Florsheim saddles, illustrates the truly “corrected grain” end of the PC spectrum: lots of tick bites, scars, etc., which would become very obvious if you stripped the finish. These cheaper CG PC leathers tend to be much stiffer than their higher quality counterparts.

But there are things much, much, much worse than Polished Cobbler, that are often confused for such. First up we have (courtesy of VCleat) an example of split grain leather. This abomination, invented by the furniture industry, basically involves taking the bottom split of the hide, glueing on a thick PU layer and either stamping an embossed grain or just calling it a day. It’s very strange, was popular during the early death-throes of the big American shoe companies:

View attachment 2187353

Here you can see split cross section where DavidVC cut the leather:

View attachment 2187355
To quote DavidVC: “You can see the upper layer is bonded to the suede like leather.”. This stuff barely qualifies as “leather”. It’s something more akin to Corfam sitting on top of a bottom layer of leather leftover.

So that’s pretty terrible… but there’s something a billion times worse: Actual bookbinder leather, AKA Bonded Leather. This is the stuff of the end-days of MiUSA Florsheim and Dexters. This stuff is literally made by taking leather particulates, smushing them into an epoxy paste, smearing it on a fabric backing and stamping a “grain” on to it. This was used heavily in the early 90’s on dying and cheap brands and the results are horrifying:

View attachment 2187363
View attachment 2187365

These are examples of terminal stage Dexters I tore down about five years ago. What’s truly awful is bonded leather can look and feel very convincing (there’s a good chance your wife’s handbag is made from this stuff):

View attachment 2187367

But once this “leather” starts separating from the backing (which will happen in all cases), this is what the actual leather content looks like:

View attachment 2187369

And for reference, flaking off the same boot:

View attachment 2187371

Worst of all, it can legally (still) be called leather and marked as such (from the insole of these GYW, “Leather Uppers”, MiUSA abominations):

View attachment 2187373

Now, I’ve left out Horse Butt because that only really comes in the “real” category, and it’s generally awesome. But do watch out for high quality PC, as it can look in (purposefully) fuzzy eBay seller photos much like Shell Cordovan.

So now you know and…

View attachment 2187375

You're a consistent source of knowledge and humour. Your absences are always felt.
 

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