Shoe shining

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TheCytochromeC
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Shoe shining

#1

Post by TheCytochromeC » Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:39 am

Does anyone here shine their own shoes/boots? Mine are in dire need and I thought I'd check here for tips before I go out on this venture myself. I was thinking of dropping by local antique shops to find a shine box that's made in the US. I'm not sure if it'll cost more of less than a new one made in America, but I'll find out shortly.

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MoJo
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Re: Shoe shining

#2

Post by MoJo » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:00 am

Shine shoes/boots????? I used to be able to put a great spit shine on my boots and shoes when I was in the Army. The secret is to get a good base coat of polish worked into clean leather. For new or badly scuffed shoes I would scrub them down with saddle soap, let them dry for at least 24 hours, apply a generous coat of boot die and allow that 24 hours to dry. Now for the fun part - - - hand rub Kiwi polish into the leather until all the pores are sealed. Brush shine them and repeat, once all the pores are sealed brush shine and rag polish the footwear and start the spit shine process. Using an old soft Tee shirt or better a cloth diaper, stretch the cloth tightly over two or three fingers, wet the cloth and begin to shine the shoe with the damp cloth and a small amount of polish lightly rubbing in small circles. After about a week they will look like they were dipped in glass and will repel water like a duck's back.

You can take them to your local shoe shine stand or, put the self shining liquid polish instead.
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gigag04
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Re: Shoe shining

#3

Post by gigag04 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:28 am

If you are going to put in the work to make a glass toe shine, then lincoln shoe polish is the best IMO. I have about 5 different varieties. I use an old, super soft undershirt - wrap it tightly around my middle and ring fingers, dab a tiny bit of polish on, vigorously, but softly, work it into the leather. A few coats like that, and a coat of neutral on top lasts a could of weeks.

If you don't want the glassy look, but want them to look fresh, clean, and in good repair, I like the Meltonian shoe creams. Use more or less the same process, but you can also stuff an old pantyhose leg with some cotton or fleece material about the size of a fist or two, tie it tightly, and use that to buff them after applying the cream.

Oil tanned boots, I like Redwing's boot oil, Lexol saddle soap and conditioner (separate items).



I also use(d) all of these items when I was into making holsters.
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The Annoyed Man
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Re: Shoe shining

#4

Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:49 am

A good friend of mine owns this company: http://www.leather-milk.com/. His brother owns this company: http://www.saddlebackleather.com/. Leather Milk is what Saddleback Leather recommends and uses for all of its products. My friend gave me a bottle of it the other day to use on my Lucchese ostrich boots. I haven't had occasion to use it yet, but I'm going to use it the next time I clean up the boots.

It won't give leather a spit polish if that's what you're after; but it will allow "natural" leather to show off it's inherent "leatherishness" (for lack of a better word), while also protecting it and keeping it supple. I personally tend to prefer leather with a natural finish over leather that is so polished that it no longer looks like leather, but that's just a matter of personal taste, and also, I've never had to wear spit polished shoes for a uniform, so I don't have any real experience in that paradigm.

I'm fortunate in that I've been invited to Saddleback's warehouse to pick out the briefcase of my choice, and my friend will get it for me at cost. I already have a briefcase, a relatively inexpensive but well made synthetic one. In fact, the OP saw it yesterday when we had lunch together. But it isn't an heirloom. But the one that I want will be handed down to my son, and to his son probably.
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Re: Shoe shining

#5

Post by StewNTexas » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:06 pm

Do NOT attempt a 'spit shine', which is not really spit, but COLD water. You must have a heavy base of polish put on the old fashioned way. Rub it in, let it dry, brush thoroughly. This works best if you add a coating of shoe dye before starting the polish process.

After a couple of years in the Presidential Honor Guard, I could produce shoes that would blind you on a sunny day. For one pair of shoes, one pair of boots and one or two leather belts, it takes just over an hour a day to keep them looking right. That is each and every day. You life becomes dedicated to leather. Any you cannot forget the brass. That is usually an hour a day. Don't get me started on ironing.

We had to 'spit shine' our bayonets. Start with two coats of shoe dye, start piling on the polish. Don't get it too thick or it will crack. This takes about a half hour a day.

Pray the big guy flying on AF1 lands at night. Once you pass the two hour mark standing in the sun on the tarmac, shoe polish begins to run down and collect around the welting of the sole. This is a difficult fix, and could take up to an hour a shoe. And you have two pairs of these shoes. One normal looking pair with standard heals and toes, one pair of parade cleats. The heal is made where it tapers out from the top to the bottom, being about 1/16" wider at the bottom. A 'horseshoe' shaped steel tap is fastened on the bottom of the heel, one steel tap on each side even with the ball of the foot, and a additional tap placed just under the front. Think of tap dancing shoes from hell. But they do sound good when you 'click' your heels.

Then try to march down the DC streets, where in the old days they had lots of streetcars. There were large cast iron plates in the street connecting each section of track, and very large plates in and around every turn. Imagine trying to march, in steel bottom shoes, on large steel plates that were large enough to need to take two full steps to clear them and return to cobblestones. If any part of your body gets the least out of balance, it looks like you are trying to ice skate.

P.S. I had 84 pair of white gloves. You could easily use 10 pair when getting 'dressed'. Ya can't touch anything with your bare hand that is brass, leather or worn on the outside of your uniform.
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Re: Shoe shining

#6

Post by Warhorse545 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:37 pm

MOJO used the same method I did and still do at times. Baby diaper, Kiwi and elbow grease. Many times I spent part of the evening getting them shinny and then get an alert at 2 am and sent to NTC for 3 weeks with nice shinny boots you just thought you were going to use for road duty the next morning. Royally trash them out, and then get back to garrison and take the same pair of boots and start again. Fun times. :)
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JALLEN
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Re: Shoe shining

#7

Post by JALLEN » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:18 pm

When I enlisted in the Naval Reserve, 50 years ago in June, I was issued a pair of black shoes. I wore them to drills, weekly, and to boot camp, and on a couple of 2 week cruises. Somewhere before I went to OCS, I got hold of a can of Amway shoe spray. Kowabunga! It was like patent leather!

I went to Navy OCS in Newport for ten weeks in June, 1966. I was in the OCS Band (no name tags in the Band!), and every week at Captain's Inspection, Captain Lemon came by, looked at my shoes and told the yeoman, "Give Mr. Allen 3 blue gigs!" The shoes were THAT good. I wore those shoes only for weekly Captain's Inspection.

I went back to another year of college and when I returned the following summer, once more in the OCS Band, the Captain went by and said, "Give Mr. Allen 2 Blue Gigs! He remembered those shoes, enough to even remember my name!

I wish I could come up with that shoe spray, aerosol, clear, turns a pair of Navy issued shoe into patent leather-like perfectly shined shoes. I haven't seen that product for 45 years now, probably banned by EPA or something.
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Re: Shoe shining

#8

Post by jocat54 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:30 pm

JALLEN, I also had a can of Amway shoe spray back in 1966, made boot camp and tech school easy for shined boots. It was some good stuff...haven't seen any since though, your probably right about being banned.
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Re: Shoe shining

#9

Post by A-R » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:33 pm

How to get the high gloss military shine (with heat cheat):

Boot shining steps

Pre-polish: scrub entire boot with saddle soap and stiff nylon brush. Wipe thoroughly clean, removing all soap residue, with damp cloth and/or rubbing alcohol. Apply leather softener/conditioner. Let dry 30 minutes.

1. Apply first coat of wax using slightly damp soft cloth, T shirt, cotton ball etc. Apply in tight circular motion.

2. Heat wax with heat gun, hair dryer, etc until just glistening, wet, and shiny. Let cool ~ 30 seconds.

3. Buff with horse hair brush using light pressure, fast strokes.

3. Repeat 1 thru 3 for second and third coats

4. For fourth coat, apply wax as in 1, and apply heat as in 2.

5. Buff with slightly damp cotton ball in small, very tight circles. Imagine buffing wax on a car. Work small areas, continuing until shine begins to show and streaks fade.

6. Repeat 4 and 5 as necessary to achieve desired results.

Note: on non-leather vinyl areas or areas subject to heavy bending that are not fully broken in, a horse hair brush buff instead of cotton ball buff after heat applied may provide more lasting results and less chance of wax prematurely cracking and flaking off.

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Re: Shoe shining

#10

Post by DocV » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:42 pm

A-R wrote:How to get the high gloss military shine (with heat cheat):

Boot shining steps

Pre-polish: scrub entire boot with saddle soap and stiff nylon brush. Wipe thoroughly clean, removing all soap residue, with damp cloth and/or rubbing alcohol. Apply leather softener/conditioner. Let dry 30 minutes.

1. Apply first coat of wax using slightly damp soft cloth, T shirt, cotton ball etc. Apply in tight circular motion.

2. Heat wax with heat gun, hair dryer, etc until just glistening, wet, and shiny. Let cool ~ 30 seconds.

3. Buff with horse hair brush using light pressure, fast strokes.

3. Repeat 1 thru 3 for second and third coats

4. For fourth coat, apply wax as in 1, and apply heat as in 2.

5. Buff with slightly damp cotton ball in small, very tight circles. Imagine buffing wax on a car. Work small areas, continuing until shine begins to show and streaks fade.

6. Repeat 4 and 5 as necessary to achieve desired results.

Note: on non-leather vinyl areas or areas subject to heavy bending that are not fully broken in, a horse hair brush buff instead of cotton ball buff after heat applied may provide more lasting results and less chance of wax prematurely cracking and flaking off.
Close. Real close. The late 60's version was
2.
a) Light wax with zippo.
b) Be careful not to catch hair on fire.
c) ignore 2b if you just had your head shaved.
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jimlongley
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Re: Shoe shining

#11

Post by jimlongley » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:01 pm

DocV wrote:
A-R wrote:How to get the high gloss military shine (with heat cheat):

Boot shining steps

Pre-polish: scrub entire boot with saddle soap and stiff nylon brush. Wipe thoroughly clean, removing all soap residue, with damp cloth and/or rubbing alcohol. Apply leather softener/conditioner. Let dry 30 minutes.

1. Apply first coat of wax using slightly damp soft cloth, T shirt, cotton ball etc. Apply in tight circular motion.

2. Heat wax with heat gun, hair dryer, etc until just glistening, wet, and shiny. Let cool ~ 30 seconds.

3. Buff with horse hair brush using light pressure, fast strokes.

3. Repeat 1 thru 3 for second and third coats

4. For fourth coat, apply wax as in 1, and apply heat as in 2.

5. Buff with slightly damp cotton ball in small, very tight circles. Imagine buffing wax on a car. Work small areas, continuing until shine begins to show and streaks fade.

6. Repeat 4 and 5 as necessary to achieve desired results.

Note: on non-leather vinyl areas or areas subject to heavy bending that are not fully broken in, a horse hair brush buff instead of cotton ball buff after heat applied may provide more lasting results and less chance of wax prematurely cracking and flaking off.
Close. Real close. The late 60's version was
2.
a) Light wax with zippo.
b) Be careful not to catch hair on fire.
c) ignore 2b if you just had your head shaved.
ROFL!!!

So we were at sea, where the ship moves kind of unpredictably, when one of the boots aboard proved that he was worse than a boot, he was a Dilbert, when he lit a can of Kiwi, and set it on the deck , just about the time the ship took a pretty sharp roll, yaw, and pitch, and the burning shoe polish flowed merrily across the deck. That stuff is hard to put out.

I gave up on lighting my polish even before I went in the service, but I did use, sparingly, alcohol while applying a base coat. I am a Kiwi fan, tried the others and found that my technique worked best with Kiwi, and still use it today.

BTW, when I worked at TSA, I always had a very highly shined set of shoes on as part of my uniform, and I spent less that 10 minutes a day on them.

And speaking of the polish melting on a hot hard stand, you should see what melted shoe polish can do to a set of whites as it wicks up the cloth. Really makes for a bad inspection when the Admiral decides to inspect the Honor Guard last, instead of the traditional first, and they stand at Parade Rest for an unconscionable length of time in the hot sun, on the hot deck.
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Warhorse545
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Re: Shoe shining

#12

Post by Warhorse545 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:42 pm

Interesting, Everyone looking for a cheat to make it easy and not willing to do it right and horror stories and fires. I have spit shined many boots with just kiwi, water and elbow grease. Never had a set of boots have wax melt off in the sun. Never set housing units on fire. ( First Cav late 80's and too many retirement and promotion duties squads at ceremonies to even want to think about. ) Boots spotless and gleamed.
Hot sun and all.


Now if your talking polishing floors with Johnson paste wax and only caught the duty about every three months, yes I have came close to burning up the place. looking for the hot melt and toss and hope it works. :)
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Re: Shoe shining

#13

Post by AFAmmo » Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:20 pm

Kiwi shoe polish does in fact turn purple and melt off your boots when you are standing for 3 or more hours waiting on POTUS in 100+ degree heat.
Been there.

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