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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaidd View Post
    Along with Nomad and others, I still prefer the military bulled finish, at varying degrees depending on the use of the shoe. However, (again, I think like most military), I avoid the Parade Gloss variant of Kiwi, sticking to the older 'standard' polish. I find the spirit in the gloss version can leave a misty finish. Personal preference I guess.
    I'm quoting your reply again because I gave it some more thought over the last few days and decided to "go back to basics", as it were. I've been using the Parade Gloss variant for the last few years, and it seems to give a very crisp-looking sheen without quite so much work in the bulling process, but you had me curious as to whether I've been making the right choice. So I picked up a couple of tins of regular old Kiwi polish (brown and black).

    Over the week-end I had to take my Bulldogge and drop her off for a month's stay at a K9 training camp where it was rainy and muddy. I was wearing my brown Corcoran jump boots, so they needed some cleaning up last night. I washed them off and let them dry, then used a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol to take down the Parade Gloss wax from the heel cup and toe cap, with the intent of re-building the wax on them with regular brown Kiwi.

    Side note: my wife is not a fan of polished boots, and thinks they look better when they're scuffed and worn. I compromise for her sake, and only polish/bull the heel cup and toe cap, leaving the rest of the boot just clean and brush-waxed without necessarily polishing or bulling it.

    I try to keep it simple, using just an old t-shirt for building up the wax layers, then brushing with my horse-hair brushes, then bulling with another t-shirt rag. Here are the boots after cleaning, during the wax-building steps on the heels/toes:



    I must say, I noticed a marked difference in the way the regular polish builds, as compared to the Parade Gloss variant. And in the bulling process, it took a bit more elbow grease, but the end result was a deeper shine with a better and more pure colour, if that makes sense. It didn't have the slight irridescence that I get from the Parade Gloss, and I could really feel the friction changing a lot more noticeably as it reached a mirror-like finish. I like it! I think you've convinced me to stick to regular old Kiwi polish.

    Not a perfect job by military standards, I'm sure, but I'm happy with it.


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  3. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    Will the Dawn strip all the wax polish off down to the base leather finish, requiring a complete do-over of building up wax layers? That may be further than I'd care to go.
    Yes, might have to go over it a few times, but should take it down.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  4. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    I'm quoting your reply again because I gave it some more thought over the last few days and decided to "go back to basics", as it were.

    Glad you liked the results! Looking good. You are probably aware of the technique of leaving the layer to dry after applying (ie not bulled) and then coming back and working that one in with the next layer. Builds up depth quicker. You can get a deeper looking shine by mixing I one layer of black polish between the brown. Almost gives an oxblood finish I suppose, but does gives a really deep looking shine.
    Dduw Bendithia pob Celtiaid

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  6. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaidd View Post
    Glad you liked the results! Looking good. You are probably aware of the technique of leaving the layer to dry after applying (ie not bulled) and then coming back and working that one in with the next layer. Builds up depth quicker. You can get a deeper looking shine by mixing I one layer of black polish between the brown. Almost gives an oxblood finish I suppose, but does gives a really deep looking shine.
    Yes, I just put on a smeared layer at a time - enough to cover the surface somewhat uniformly, then let the layer dry before coming back over it. I've noticed that if I come back over it too quickly, it just pushes the first layer around and can cause bumps or clots, so to speak.

    I have read about people putting a brown layer in when polishing a black boot for depth, but I wasn't sure if a black layer when doing a brown boot would be a good idea. It makes sense that it would affect the colour, but I'm betting it would have to be very carefully done so as to avoid blackish streaks or irregularities. Are you saying to do this black layer in between the browns during the buildup of layers, or after an initial bulling of the brown followed by a layer of black and then another brown bulling?

  7. #45
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    It's really personal preference. If you put a layer or 2 on early on, then build up the brown, it gives a real depth to the brown. That's my personal choice.
    Dduw Bendithia pob Celtiaid

  8. #46
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    OK, next question...

    I have a pair of Rockport brogues that I bought somewhere around 10 years ago. They're probably the most comfortable pair of dress shoes I own, due to the softness and pliability of the leather. But they've always been a real challenge to polish. I can get a decent shine on the toe and heel, but the rest of the upper just seems to reject polish. I've tried building up layers of wax over the years, but within an hour of wearing them, they just seem to shed all of it off. So I've sort of given up on trying to keep them polished, except for the wingtip area and heel. And even then, the lower sides (wings?) bend and flake all the polish off.

    As you can see below, the leather looks pretty bad on the non-bulled areas like the vamp (some of which is old residual wax that probably just needs to be stripped off). I'm kind of at my wit's end with trying to make the entire shoe look polished and tidy. Does anyone have suggestions on what to do with this?

    I've read about shell cordovan needing a different procedure for polishing, but I honestly don't know if this is shell cordovan or not. These are not high-end shoes by any stretch of the imagination, so I doubt they have shell cordovan on them, but I just can't explain why they won't take a polish like my other shoes.


  9. #47
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    Regrettably, that area is notorious for 'rejecting' polish, due to ghd creasing. You could try adding an additional sole to the shoe to reduce the creasing (but may be cost prohibitive). Alternatively, try bees wax as a base. A little more flexible as a base, but again, not perfect.
    I suffer the same problem with my mil issue brogues.
    Dduw Bendithia pob Celtiaid

  10. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post

    I have read about people putting a brown layer in when polishing a black boot for depth, but I wasn't sure if a black layer when doing a brown boot would be a good idea. It makes sense that it would affect the colour, but I'm betting it would have to be very carefully done so as to avoid blackish streaks or irregularities. Are you saying to do this black layer in between the browns during the buildup of layers, or after an initial bulling of the brown followed by a layer of black and then another brown bulling?
    Have done this whilst serving the general rule was one layer of brown to five of black, allegedly better because the brown contained more wax. These are thin layers applied before the buffing stage, although I have tried during the shining stage and it seemed successful. The advent of parade gloss shoe polish killed this practice off as it seemed to contain more wax.

  11. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaidd View Post
    Regrettably, that area is notorious for 'rejecting' polish, due to ghd creasing. You could try adding an additional sole to the shoe to reduce the creasing (but may be cost prohibitive). Alternatively, try bees wax as a base. A little more flexible as a base, but again, not perfect.
    I suffer the same problem with my mil issue brogues.
    Keeping polish in the crease area is a problem on all shoes, sure, but those brown brogues seem to have an extra polish-rejecting quality. They don't just crease in one line. The vamp area is very thin, soft, and supple, so the whole thing flexes and just pushes the wax right off. There may also be something about the finish on the leather that's causing the polish not to adhere. I like the suggestion of stepping back to a softer beeswax there, or possibly a cream polish. I guess I just need to keep that area looking soft and satiny and clean, since it will never be able to take a hard glossy bulled shine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
    Have done this whilst serving the general rule was one layer of brown to five of black, allegedly better because the brown contained more wax. These are thin layers applied before the buffing stage, although I have tried during the shining stage and it seemed successful. The advent of parade gloss shoe polish killed this practice off as it seemed to contain more wax.
    Interesting! I'd like to try that. Will I need to take the existing black polish off first and start over, or can I do this over what's already on there?

    On the subject of mixing wax colours in different layers, I'm seriously considering taking my brown Corcoran jump boots down to the original finish and starting over with a black cream polish first, then layers of brown over it. There's a YouTube video that shows how a black cream polish can really add some visual interest to brown boots. He's trying to make cheap boots look more expensive, and maybe he did, but to me it comes across more like an "antiqued" look, very similar to the leather antiquing products I've used before. In the video, he just did black polish over the brown boot and that was it. I'm wanting to do the black first, then layers of brown for a deep, dark character to the leather.

    Back on the subject of challenges to achieving a nice mirror-like bulled finish, this is my other problem child: pebble-grain brogues. These are my Sanders uniform brogues that I cleaned up last night to wear to work today. I like the pebble-grain texture and don't want to smooth it down, but it does make it tough to get a glossy finish. Bulling takes forever, since it keeps pulling wax out of the texture (and stitching, and broguing). So I've gone to using a softer cream wax on most of the shoe, with bulling only done at the heel and toe.


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  13. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    On the subject of mixing wax colours in different layers, I'm seriously considering taking my brown Corcoran jump boots down to the original finish and starting over with a black cream polish first, then layers of brown over it. There's a YouTube video that shows how a black cream polish can really add some visual interest to brown boots. He's trying to make cheap boots look more expensive, and maybe he did, but to me it comes across more like an "antiqued" look, very similar to the leather antiquing products I've used before. In the video, he just did black polish over the brown boot and that was it. I'm wanting to do the black first, then layers of brown for a deep, dark character to the leather.
    We had a rainy weekend here, and my wife was at work today, so I took a couple of hours and worked on my boots among other things. I didn't take all the old wax off; I just cleaned them with warm soapy water first. Then I applied a black cream polish, rubbing it in thoroughly to all the nooks and crannies. I probably shouldn't have let it completely dry, because I ended up with some black streaks that wouldn't buff completely out. We'll call it "character". But I opted for cream polish because I wanted to work it into the stitching to turn it nice and black, without having a lot of wax to scrub out. Then I put a couple of layers of brown Kiwi paste wax over it, brushed it vigorously, and re-bulled the toes and heels. I also took the opportunity to rub some mink oil into the laces, which they sorely needed, as they were starting to become stiff.

    Thanks for the pointers on this, Blaidd. I do like the deeper colour that it turned out, with more of the oxblood look. You can see below on the inside of the boot (at the top) what the original colour was, compared to the darker finish on the outside that it has now.

    After brushing, but before bulling toes/heels:



    After bulling:

    Last edited by Tobus; 16th September 18 at 03:21 PM.

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