Some people will say "it's not for me to judge" but really what they are saying is "I am judging it but I am not voicing my opinion". Others believe that the idea of non judgement as some kind of higher seated impartiality in a particular matter is the noblest pursuit. I beg to differ. I think our brains are taught to make value judgements for a reason which is why I like to feel nervous next to the edge of a cliff or why I like to remove my hand when I am too close to a fire.
On that note I wish to add that I really don't like cheap shoes and I am placing a value judgement on the numbers below because it was not only less pleasant an experience in making a patina for these shoes but I could feel as we went along that the shoe just was nowhere near the quality of shoes I have worked with in the past. What astounded me was the quality of the patina that came out the other side which I don't know whether I should take credit for on the workmanship side or whether it could be deduced that poor quality leather makes for a better patina. Time will tell as I need to gather more data.
Here is what we did with the brogue shoes below which came from an Australian menswear brand as their house label.
1. Brushing the shoes to remove any grit.
2. Acetone to strip the shoes using cotton balls.
3. Brush the shoes again to remove any lint from the cotton balls.
4. Saphir Renovateur for 24 hours to soak the shoes in natural oils.
5. Brush the shoes again.
6. Begin dyeing the shoes using brushes. For the brogue details I used a light blue painted on with a brush. Rubbed off with cotton wool.
7. Using cotton wool and brushes I painted liberally a layer of purple.
8. Using black I created deeper tones along the edge of the upper and sole and then around the toe cap and heel.
This ends the dyeing. Now I went on the finish the shoes.
1. Apply La Cordonnerie Anglais pommade to the shoe in burgundy.
2. Rub into the shoe liberally and allow to dry.
3. Remove the pomade.
4. Apply wax by Saphir with stiff small brush including colours cognac and tobacco.
5. Brush shoes.
6. Begin glacage using neutral wax with a fine cloth and water dispenser.
7. After each layer of glacage allow to dry.
8. Keep repeating until you find yourself getting the beginnings of a mirror shine.
In the end, this was received very well by my cousin who asked for me to perform a patina on these shoes which he considered throwing away. The result was that although I could not remove some indents in the toe cap from significant wearing of the shoe, we were able to create something rather unique and to bring back some life to the shoes, enough so that he will begin using them again.
In a world where we throw so much away because it looks slightly off colour or perhaps scuffed in a few areas, rejuvenating your shoes in this manner can not only be rewarding in terms of giving your own unique and personal look to a shoe, but it can also keep some money in your back pocket so that you can afford to buy a proper pair of shoes the next time around.
The materials used in this blog post have been sourced from Exquisite Trimmings in London , Double Monk in Melbourne and A Suitable Wardrobe in San Francisco .
PS: Next week I will show you what I did to a pair of RM Williams boots that were 20 years old and on Friday, after receiving a ruby, brown and black patina, found a brand new home with a stockbroker in Sydney.