Finishing techniques

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dw
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Finishing techniques

#1 Post by dw » Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:00 pm

This is probably a little OT...or maybe not...but I thought I would outline a simple set of procedures for obtaining a spit shine. My credentials for doing this are three years in the Army Paratroops where Corcoran boots absolutely had to have a spit shine clear enough to shave in.

For those interested in using crust and obtaining some of the looks that top money European makers are getting this may be a critical finishing technique.

[Caveat: there may be other methods in the larger sense or simply in detail but this is the way I did it in the service 40 some years ago and I never got gigged. ]

Materials needed: a soft cotton rag; a tin of Lincoln, Kiwi, Saphir or similar polish(cream will not work); an old nylon (lady's hosiery); a dead watch and a small tin of elbow grease.

First, find a soft rag. I like a flannel, maybe from an old pair of pajamas. Twist the rag around your finger tip so that you have a flat section of the flannel over the tip of the finger...any fold here is a problem.

Second, swirl, rub, dip the flannel fingertip over the surface of your wax to get a thin layer for application.

Third, using a small circular motion, apply the wax swiftly to the area to be shined. (Usually this is the toe and/or the counter area, spit shines in areas where flex is present are a waste of time. ) Use a light pressure.

Fourth, When the flannel starts to drag even the slightest bit, breathe heavily, with an open mouth, on the waxed area. Using a small circular motion, lightly rub the wax again. The moisture from the breath both softens the wax, lubricates it slightly and causes the waxes to harden slightly as it evaporates.

Fifth, repeat step two, three and four...only this time actually spit a tiny amount of moisture from your mouth onto the wax.

Sixth, repeat steps two, three, and four or five over and over again until the wax begins to build up and a very high shine begins to emerge. there is no particular pattern or indication to tell you when to breath and when to spit. But too much moisture can be a problem so I do not spit everytime nor in great quantity.

There are those who advocate water or water and alcohol instead of spit or breath, I don't think it makes a difference but it is, again, very important that moisture be kept to a minimum and that...this is important!...the flannel fingertip never be allowed to get wet.

When the spit shine is done, allow it to harden for a few minutes (half an hour?) and then it may be finished off with a brief, light, and rapid polishing using the nylon stocking just like a shoe shine rag in the movies...except no snapping. Don't overdo this--friction and heat are not required.

Again...the keys are small circular motions, not too much water and not too much pressure.

I spit shined a pair of shoes this morning in less than 30 minutes. Renewing the spit shine on a shoe should take less than ten minutes and with each subsequent application the shine gets deeper and deeper and shinier and shinier. Eventually, especially if allowed to wander off into flex areas, the spit shine may need to be stripped to the bare leather and begun again.

The dead watch? Like so many things that approach the superlative if not the sublime, you cannot count the moments and expect good results. As with good whiskey, some part of life must be set aside as the "angels' share."

Hope that helps and is not something everyone already knew....

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elstoof

Re: Finishing techniques

#2 Post by elstoof » Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:14 pm

I think it's perhaps time a part of this forum was set aside for the discussion and appreciation of good whisky.. Image

Monkey Shoulder anyone?

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Re: Finishing techniques

#3 Post by joey » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:31 pm

HI everyone,

I'm trying to figure out how to create the same finish as Berlutti leather shoes. I don't know how they treat their leather, but I'm a big fan of the glossy look. Help anyone? Thanks!

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Re: Finishing techniques

#4 Post by joey » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:34 pm

HI everyone,

I'm trying to figure out how to create the same finish as Berlutti leather shoes. I don't know how they treat their leather, but I'm a big fan of the glossy look. Help anyone? Thanks!

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Re: Finishing techniques

#5 Post by dearbone » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:13 pm

Joelle,

I for one do not know who the Berlutti is,let alone comment on his finsh, if you have a picture,it will help,i also think this topic was better posted in different thead than the one on the subject of Lasts.
Nasser.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#6 Post by joey » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:34 am

Oh I apologize I mispelled Berluti! Its a french house. Their leather almost looks like wood...

Here are a few images:



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Re: Finishing techniques

#7 Post by dearbone » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:14 am

Joelle,

That leather appears to be crust finish, which seems to be the new look in eu,Marcell worked with it and maybe he will tell you more.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#8 Post by lancepryor » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:12 am

Joelle:

Not sure what you like about the finish, the mirror shine or the varied/antiqued color.

Berluti are famous for their colors -- when you buy a pair, they will strip the finish off of them and refinish them to the color you like -- so obviously they have extensive experience and knowledge being brought to bear on the subject. (BTW, Berluti are also famous for their Swan club, who meet on occasion to polish their Berluti shoes with Champagne!)

As Nasser says, this leather may be crust leather, which is tanned and dyed but does not have a top finish, so it is up to the maker to apply waxes/creams/polish to attain the desired appearance. This is quite a time-consuming and challenging task. The English shoe company Edward Green are famous for their antiqued brown tones, which they achieve through the use of crust leather and extensive polishing and burnishing. You can see all sorts of examples of the E Green shoes and their colors here:

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=33612


Also, if you are interested in achieving a very high shine, instructions are here:

http://styleforum.pbwiki.com/MirrorShine

Lance

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Re: Finishing techniques

#9 Post by joey » Thu Apr 03, 2008 8:25 am

Wow, thanks a lot! This is much more time consuming that I thought haha.

What I like about the Berluti shoes is the glaze look(I'm not sure how to translate) the fact that it almost looks like wood or varnish...

Joëy

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Re: Finishing techniques

#10 Post by romango » Sun Nov 22, 2009 10:35 pm

A friend gave me this pair of boots. Looks like python and calf or cow. The leather is dried out and stiff but not cracked. Seems the should be redeemable.

I assume they need oil added back or re-infused to regain suppleness. What would folks out there use to recondition this leather?
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Re: Finishing techniques

#11 Post by jkrichard » Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:03 pm

Rick,
For the vamps and counter covers I'd recommend cleaning with just a soft cloth and water or cottonballs --- you'll find snake scales are v.v. resistant to soap. I also recommend a reptile leather conditioner...probably several applications worth. A google of 'reptile leather conditioner' should bring up several choices. If you choose to wax the scales (if they're thaaat bad) then a neutral carnuba creme (I believe Fiebing's has some...) and a single coat of that at most.

I'd probably use a conditioner for the vamp lining as well--- just make sure the product you're using isn't petroleum based (it eats at the stitches). Emu oil is a good way to go IMO.

For the tops, probably a bit of emu oil and a neutral beeswax based or carnuba based application for sealing and waterproofing.

I like Oakwood products a lot (Oakwood ), but anything similar will do the trick.

-Jeff

marcell

Re: Finishing techniques

#12 Post by marcell » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:11 pm

The third tutorial about the Norwegian technique (and the 1st-2nd also) is on my blog:

http://handmadeshoes.wordpress.com/

(don't ask why I post here - maybe because we still don't have a "TUTORIALS" topic. Enjoy!)

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Re: Finishing techniques

#13 Post by admin » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:49 pm

Marcel,

We don't have a TUTORIALS topic because, philosophically, the whole forum is a tutorial. A quick read of the mission goals of the Guild and by extension this forum, would reveal our aim is to "preserve and protect." Implied in that concept is the idea that the forum exists to archive material from shoemakers and bootmakers from every country and every persuasion.

Using that as a starting point, it makes far more sense that tutorials are archived with other material that relates to the same subject. In an organizational sense it is more rational that a tutorial on finishing the shoe should be in a topic that is dedicated to finishing the shoe.

Of course this depends on the good will of members--those posting tutorials--and, perhaps just as importantly, their willingness to cooperate and post their contributions in relevant topics.

It might not be the way some would do it but the forum is what it is...what it has been for the last 12(?) years, if truth be known.

Admin hopes this policy doesn't inconvenience anyone too much.

Yr. Hmb. Svt.

(Message edited by admin on January 15, 2010)

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Re: Finishing techniques

#14 Post by dearbone » Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:08 am

Marcell,

Interesting technique,I like it,but if i am not mistaken,it is a bottoming technique rather than finishing technique,also if you can post the photos or some on the colloquy,we might be able to make comments or ask a question or two and that will make your tutorial a little more useful.Just a thoughtImage

Nasser

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Re: Finishing techniques

#15 Post by producthaus » Fri May 21, 2010 11:45 am

Can someone comment on this semi-gloss (?) finish? It feels like the finish is saturated within the leather rather then sitting on top like a more glossy option. I have a little experience in woodworking, so I would liken it to a rubbed in oil finish rather then a varnish that sits on top?

Also, whats the technique and vocabulary for smoothing the grain in the toe area, while the ankle area shoes full grain.
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Re: Finishing techniques

#16 Post by lancepryor » Fri May 21, 2010 1:42 pm

Nick:

Can't really comment on the finish, except to say that good leather is often dyed all the way through the leather ('struck through'), so the color is not just on the surface. After the dying, other treatments are done which will affect the shininess/'matte-ness' of the finished leather.

Regarding the grain and the toe, the reality is that the lasting of the shoe over the toe pulls the leather very tight, which in essence removes the appearance/flattens out the grain in that area. In other words, it is not really intentional, but rather a result of the way that shoes are made. The grain pattern on the leather is sort of 'embossed' onto/into the leather with big rollers, and the pressure of the leather on the last at the toe reduces the visibility of the embossing.

Lance

jtandon200

Re: Finishing techniques

#17 Post by jtandon200 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:09 am

hello

jtandon200

Re: Finishing techniques

#18 Post by jtandon200 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:12 am

Hi, Can anyone help me with the finishing of COW CRUST leathers. I want to achiev high gloss shine with burnt out effect/2 tone effect.

Please help.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#19 Post by jon_g » Sat Oct 16, 2010 4:49 am

Does anyone have experience with the different burnishing inks available in North America? I've used Sellaris and Fiebings, and liked the Sellaris more. My supplier also carries Goetz and Lincoln. Is anyone out there passionate about their ink? Anyone familiar with these other brands?

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Re: Finishing techniques

#20 Post by dw » Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:52 pm

Jon,
I generally use Fiebings...sometimes Reliable...but the best I ever used was LCI. I think it's still available although they may have a minimum. They also produce finsihes...as in acrylic wax top coats for shoes or boots that ar done but need that extra bit.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#21 Post by john_ralston » Tue Oct 19, 2010 7:53 pm

Not sure where to post this question, so I hope it is appropriate here.

What would you recommend for keeping exotic leathers looking nice (shark, elephant, ostrich, etc.)?

Thanks,

John

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Re: Finishing techniques

#22 Post by jon_g » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:40 am

Thanks DW, I was hoping someone out there might have some strong feelings about their burnishing ink.

I do really like your bottom finishing technique. What do you use on the natural part of your soles? Polish,wax? I was wondering if anyone has tried the Fiebings bottom stain.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#23 Post by dw » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:06 am

Jon,

I have used Fiebings bottom stain but find it too brown/black and too prone to streaking.

Thornton has recipes for making your own that involve gum tragicanth and dyestuff. I like it. That's what I am currently using to get that yellow/amber bottom.

Of more importance, I think, is Thornton's admonition that you do not "polish" the leather of the outsole before staining. I sand to about 2000 using Abralon. As fine as that is, it still leaves the leather with a very fine nap. According to Thornton, the nap is critical to an even finish.

After the bottom finish is applied, I polish with neutral or tan shoe polish, although a common paste wax floor polish will work nearly as well.

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Re: Finishing techniques

#24 Post by gshoes » Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:22 am

DW,

The abralon 2000 that you are using. Is that the foam backed sand paper? And if so are sanding that by hand or using a machine?

Geri

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Re: Finishing techniques

#25 Post by dw » Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:13 am

Yes, foam backed, by hand.

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