Hand Wax / Coad

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Hand Wax / Coad

#1 Post by admin » Mon May 06, 2002 7:01 am

All messages posted prior to 25 February 2002 have been moved to the first Crispin Colloquy CD Archive.

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tcnitt

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#2 Post by tcnitt » Thu Jun 13, 2002 7:53 am

First of all, I would like to apologize if I am posting this question in the wrong place, and also for the "amateur" nature of this question. I am not in the trade, but am a devoted fan of beautiful handmade (or mostly handmade) shoes... especially English ones.

My question concerns what is the best way to care for my various shoes that are worn (rotated) on a daily basis. I have been told that wax, and especially wax polishes containing silicone, will not allow the leather to breathe, and that the leather will subsequently dry and crack. I have therefore stuck with shoe creams (Church's and Meltonian) which I apply about every two or three wearings. I have also been told that lexol is too oily for regular application to shoes; and despite the warnings about using wax, I have continued to use J.M. Weston shoe wax on a limited basis (because it is supposedly high in beeswax and moisturizers??).

I am also confused about when to insert shoe trees; I have read that it is best to insert them immediately after removing your foot; however, I have also read that the shoes should be allowed to air out a bit before insertion.

Sorry to ramble, but if anyone could give me a good shoe care routine, and suggested products, I would be most grateful; I'm in my 20's, and while I haven't taken the leap to bespoke shoes yet, I do buy the best that I can afford, and would therefore like to make my shoes last, and keep them looking their best.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#3 Post by dw » Sat Aug 31, 2002 8:48 am

As I was inseaming a pair of boots the other day, I was put in mind of our recent discussion regarding bristling the waxed end. One of the issues that was kind of lost in the midst of everything else was how important a good handwax, or coad, is.

Especially if we're using poly thread which stretches (not nearly as much as nylon but still...) a good handwax will make the difference between a solidly locked stitch and one that slips.

I use Vesta Pech...a German made handwax that is rosin based and, unfortunately, no longer made. I might have a lifetime supply as I bought all I could get my hands on when I heard that they were out of business. But not all handwax is created equal. the Vesta Pech has terrific "tack" but is not brittle. It will not flake off the thread. And making your own can be a bit problematic. Too much softener--beeswax or tallow or oil--and the tack is compromised.Not enough and the wax gets brittle.

So, as I was inseaming I devised this little "test of temper," so to speak. I inseam into a damp insole but this should work wet or dry . Feed your bristles into a stitch and draw it up about half way.

Stop. Walk away. Go get a drink of water. Stretch. Just leave the stitch, undisturbed, for 60 seconds or so.

Now go back and tighten the stitch all the rest of the way down.

Whoa!!! If your handwax is "right" you'll have a hellgramite's time breaking the lock that develops as the wax cools and sets. If you can get the threads moving again easily--by any standard--the final stitch itself will slip.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#4 Post by jake » Sat Aug 31, 2002 1:25 pm

D.W.,

I "hear" ya! That's a sign of a tight stitch.

Another way to tell if your coade and stitch is just "right", is when you go to "re-welt" a pair of boots. If you're having a "hellgramite's" time pulling your old stitches out of the holdfast, everything is "right".

Personally, since I've moved from linen to dacron, I've never really gotten the "tightness" I achieved with linen. But then again, I never could get my old thread out of the holdfast either. Had to "re-hole" through the old thread.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#5 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Sat Aug 31, 2002 3:11 pm

DW,

Good test. Better yet, if while sewing full bore you pause to get a new grip on the threads and let them go momentarily slack, especially if long, before the stitch is drawn in tight, and they stick fast after even a moment's respite... Anyhoo, who ever thought that waxing your threads makes it *easier* to get things sewed was nuts, not a shoemaker, using bad wax--or using beeswax. You can't sew slow with good wax, or else each stitch will glue itself before you ever get it drawn in tightly. If your wax works fine while sewing methodically slow, it isn't very good wax Image

Another good test is to watch the holes where the thread's passing through. If there's any accumulation of wax "crumbs", or build-up, your wax has too little pitch in it to adhere to the thread properly. Don't forget the pitch, the other constituent ingredient. The "sticky" part if you will. If making your own--and since Vesta Pech is out, there is no other option is there?--when pulling the wax to bleach and further mix the ingredients, the wax should support itself in a long filament as the pieces are pulled apart like taffy. If it gets but only so thin, then snaps off, it's too brittle for the ambient temperature. IOW, you can know if the wax is wrong before you get so far as making threads and sewing.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#6 Post by jake » Sat Aug 31, 2002 3:20 pm

Al,
Better yet, if while sewing full bore you pause to get a new grip on the threads and let them go momentarily slack, especially if long, before the stitch is drawn in tight, and they stick fast after even a moment's respite...


Ah yeah...back when I was using linen.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#7 Post by dw » Sat Aug 31, 2002 3:30 pm

Jake,

Yeah, the trade off with the poly vs. the linen, though, is that the poly is much stronger and won't rot.

I don't know what exactly was going on with the linen, although I know from conversations here that none of us 60 and younger have ever seen really good linen, but when I went to pull stitches to re-welt, it would break before I could prise it out of the holdfast.

But that "tightness" you speak of is the very reason I won't use the paraffined tapers, anymore. If I had to use them, I'd strip every speck of the paraffin off by soaking it, for at least an hour, in kerosene (or wax thinner). When I did it this way, I'd then leave the threads to dry overnight. The kerosene *will* evaporate...mostly. But since the kerosene is a good solvent for the handwax, too, it's not a good idea, in my mind, to leave any more of it on the threads than you have to. Best yet, lobby Maine Thread to make up 12 foot tapers unwaxed. They just sent me an email saying that they want to do a few more "custom" things with their thread.

Al,

Yeah, that's the problem I see with a lot of "home brewed" handwax. But I have to say, I don't really see much difference in the pitch I have and the rosin I have. I have some Swedish pitch (thanks to a friend) and some Rausch pitch and I have 25 pounds of fine amber rosin. Both are brittle to some extent although the rosin is much moreso than the pitch. But frankly, I can't see the pitch (in either form) tempering the rosin all that much. I wonder if there just isn't enough residual turp in the pitch...or at least the grade of pitch I have. Truth to tell, I've made up many batches of handwax, and although I won't claim to be an expert, I've "taffy pulled" the stuff out to twelve inches and ultimately, still seen that "coad dandruff" when I was inseaming. the Vest Pech never did that to me.

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crispinian

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#8 Post by crispinian » Sat Aug 31, 2002 3:54 pm

Since our last round of talks about resins I have run across another source for pitch. Gugolz (brand) pitch is from Switzerland and is available in five different grades of softness with melting points ranging from about 52 to 84 degrees Celsius. I haven't used it yet but it would be good if someone could get a sample of each grade to see which works best for handwax. Gugolz is carried in America by:

Meller Optics, Inc.
P.O. Box 6001
Providence, RI 02940
Phone: 800-821-0180 or 401-331-3717
Fax: 401-331-0519
e-mail: sales@melleroptics.com


Rusty Moore

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#9 Post by dw » Wed Sep 04, 2002 4:27 pm

All,

Say, you've just got to make the jump over to this website and check out this article. Veddy interestink!

http://www.physics.uq.edu.au/pitchdrop/pitchdrop.shtml

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D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#10 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Tue Sep 10, 2002 10:54 am

DW,

Veeerrry interesting experiment, but it all depends on your pitch. Some of ours will drip 8 drops on one hot Tidewater day I'll bet.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#11 Post by dw » Sat Jan 18, 2003 6:33 am

Jim Bultsma,

Hey Jim...could you post your recipe for white hand wax again? The one that uses Hot Wax as the foundation? I've been fooling with the chunk you sent me (a year or better ago, now...and thanks, BTW) and I like it more and more. Especially on synthetic thread. I used it when I hand stitched the outsoles on that pair of filigreed alligator boots I posted. And I use it when I finish closing the side seam and I use it on occasion for inseaming threads, too.

It's definitely worth archiving the recipe and might be easier to make up for novices...as well as procure the ingredients...than the pine pitch based recipes.

Thanks again...

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bultsad

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#12 Post by bultsad » Sat Jan 18, 2003 1:52 pm

All,
I do not remember where or how I came up with this recipe. It is not an exact recipe....meaning that it is easily adjusted to your personal preferences for softness, etc.
I use 4 ingredients:
•Yellow Rosin- You can buy this from any rodeo equipment supplier (the stuff bullriders rub into their rope to make it tacky)

•Beeswax

•Atomic Wax- I buy mine from Southern Leather (formerly Dunn Leather) in Denver.

•Olive Oil

The quantities I use are:
•4 Parts Rosin

•2 Parts Atomic Wax

•2 Parts Beeswax

•2 Tbls Olive Oil

I use an old aluminium stock pot and 3# coffee can to fabricate something that resemble a double boiler. Fill the stock pot about 1/4 full and drop in the coffee with the rosin inside. You will have to boil the rosin for what seems like forever before it starts to liqueify. Once the rosin is completely turned to liquid, you add the beeswax and atomic wax a little at a time until it too is melted.Finally after everything is in liquid form I had the olive oil.
Stir it all up for a few minutes. Then fill a 5 gallon bucket 3/4 full of water. Pour enough of the mixture directly into the water in the bucket to make a baseball size wax ball. Give it 15 to 20 seconds and reach in the water and form the glob of wax into a ball.Repeat the last steps until you have a tidy little pile of balls.
One caution- I made my first batch in my wifes kitchen- large mistake. This stuff stinks when you cook it and if you spill any it takes hours to clean up (personal experience). A hotplate outdoors is the way to get the job done with a minimum of mess.
I think that is everything. This recipe makes a fairly soft wax that adheres very well. If you want a little harder wax cut back on the beeswax and add a little more rosin.
Jim

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#13 Post by dw » Sat Jan 18, 2003 4:33 pm

Jim,

Thanks for posting your recipe. I'm a little confused so I hope you won't mind if I ask a question or two. You say four "parts" this and two "parts" that...but then you say two tablespoons of olive oil. The olive oil is not in "parts." I understand "part" but parts can be any thing from an ounce to a pound. Since I would be experimenting in small quantities, I'd probably start off with a 2"x2" chunk of Atomic wax and adjust the rosin and beeswax accordingly.

But how much olive oil would I use if I were making up such a small quantity?

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bultsad

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#14 Post by bultsad » Sat Jan 18, 2003 5:03 pm

DW,
I used tablespoons because I could'nt figure out how many parts = two tablespoons. That is about the correct measure for that particular amount. I am not sure exactly what the oil does except that the wax has in my opinion a better feel and it seems to blend better.
I guess if I was using the smaller amount you are going to start with, I would try one teaspoon and go from there. As I said this is not an exacting recipe. I hope that is clear enough, I didn't even think about the olive oil not being in parts. It's like alot of things I do with boot and saddle making, I just do it and I do not think about the measurements or why I do it that way. I had to sit down and think about the recipe when you asked. When I get ready to make the wax, I usually just throw everything into a bag and take it home and fire up the stove. Then I throw ingredients in the pot until I think there is enough. You made me use my brain on a Saturday.
Jim

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#15 Post by CASETRADEBOOTS » Sat Jan 18, 2003 7:54 pm

D.W., Jim,

Thanks for the recipe. I spent some time down in the great state of Texas with Tex Robin recently and got a very different recipe which I will not try to even paraphrase. However I do think that the basic differences in "recipes" reflects on the different climates. I do believe that Jim's blend is more suitable for the somewhat severe winters we experience in the upper midwest and Pacific Northwest. It seems that Tex's blend is more suitable to warmer climates. I could be completely wrong about this observation, so some imput from Tex may be in order.

Tex Robin

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#16 Post by Tex Robin » Sat Jan 18, 2003 8:11 pm

Floyd, All,

Nice to hear from you Floyd. Do you have the Elephant Trunk boots broken in yet? Hey, I wore my Italian Kangaroo ones in Stockholm a couple of nights. The snow was frozen and crunchy and no problem.

Actually I trashed the hot wax years ago because of it's brittle nature with it's high rosen content. The black handwax with beeswax can't be beat in any weather as far as I am concerned.....TR

D.A. Saguto--HCC

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#17 Post by D.A. Saguto--HCC » Sun Jan 19, 2003 5:36 am

Just jogged my memory with all of this. The old geezer who first taught me some shoemaking used to tell how they'd sneak down to the waterfront at night, and scrape pitch off the decks [wooden?] of ships, take it home wrapped in their aprons, and add olive oil, and so forth to make their wax. So, olive oil is "authentic" I guess, unless it was just an old guy's "story"; but if it was apocryphal, I think he'd have added garlic to the olive oil Image He immigrated here from Italy in 1912, to NY, and worked for years as a hand-laster in a shoe factory.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#18 Post by dw » Fri Jan 31, 2003 7:36 am

Jim,

Finally got around to trying your recipe (had to order in the hot wax). I'm sure I didn't get it quite right. It doesn't look quite like yours does. I'm still puzzled by the proportions. If I knew what quantity a "part" was, ie. an ounce, a 1"x1" chunk,it would all come clearer, I think.

But no matter, this is all experimantation anyway. And since I don't have a scale, I'd always be guessing no matter what a "part" is.

My version came out pretty brittle first time around. So I re-heated it and added a little more beeswax and a little more oil--cod oil, in this case. The wax came out silky smooth and very workable. Not quite as much "tack" as the traditional recipes but enough to lock the stitch securely.

The great thing about it is that it sticks to dacron thread so well. Doesn't flake off in mounds of messy black dandruff.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for sharing the recipe. I've got a source for chunks of pure amber rosin (they call it Burgundy pitch...but it's rosin), if I can dig it up I'll pass it along. It might be cheaper than buying it made up for bull riders.

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#19 Post by shane » Fri Jan 31, 2003 10:23 am

To all,

I had a question about pitch and rosin. Where I live we have an over abundance of pinion trees. They are very pitchy critters. On many of the branches there is hand fulls of pitch, also on others there is alot of hard rosin. My question is, has anyone ever used these raw materials to make wax? Is there a proccess in rendering the pitch or rosin? If anyone can answer these questions I may have a good supply of the sticky stuff.
Thanks
Shane

bultsad

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#20 Post by bultsad » Sat Feb 01, 2003 10:47 pm

DW
I am glad you are experimenting with the recipe. It is by no means exact. The nice thing is if it is too hard or soft for your tastes you can melt it back down and add the proper ingredients to your prefrences. Sorry about the lack of exactness in the measurements, but I just kind of make it by feel.
Jim

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#21 Post by dw » Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:43 am

All,

Has anyone seen a recipe for handwax that contains lanolin?

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danfreeman

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#22 Post by danfreeman » Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:46 pm

DW
No, I never have, & I read a lot. But I've recently found a conditioner I like, & I grilled the chemist in Louisiana who makes it. He says the main difference between his Leather Life and Lexol is he uses lanolin where Lexol uses tallow, (I'm oversimplifying--the man seems very knowledgable) and since tallow is often mentioned in handwax formulas, you could be onto something. Tallow makes handwax nicer to work with, but isn't stable, & contributes nothing to the wax's function

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#23 Post by dw » Thu Feb 06, 2003 6:55 pm

Dan,

Thanks for the input. (Great to see you posting here, too, BTW) I know about tallow being mentioned in the "elder scrolls," but it hard to believe that lanolin was not also tried. Technically, lanolin is considered a "wax," which is why I thought perhaps it would not be so fugitive or unstable as oil or tallow.

It lasts all day on my moustache. Image

By the way where do you get Leather Life?

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Tex Robin

Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#24 Post by Tex Robin » Thu Feb 06, 2003 7:05 pm

DW,
Have you ever tried Glycerin Saddle Soap on your moustache? Almost as good as the wax....TR

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Re: Hand Wax / Coad

#25 Post by dw » Thu Feb 06, 2003 8:34 pm

Tex,

I don't know whether to take you seriously, Tex, but having a moustache like this one is a tremendous responsibility. And I take it very seriously. I use the lanolin to soften it up, make it manageable. However, nothing but Pinaud's Clubman Neutral is good enough to put the "thorn" in it. Image

If'n I was gonna use saddle soap, I'd be tempted to work in a little Meltonian Dusky Brown to cover the grey. Next thing you know I'd be spraying it with Spit Shine!!

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