Bespoke Shoes Unlaced – a shoemaker's blog

Friday, 8 February 2019

Welcoming in February with a good old Shoe Shine & Moon Shine

Pictured left to right: Will with his bespoke boots, Ian with his Half-Cuts, Kwai with his Cheaney shoes and Alan with his Tricker's boots. 

Welcome back good shoe enthusiasts and here is a lovely group of smiling faces from last night! 

It's not called a Shoe Shine and Moon Shine class for nothing, so we did enjoy a few glasses of wine, whiskey and beer to jolly things along!

and the result was a relaxed evening and, as you can see, some great glacage! 

There's quite a lot to remember, especially which order to do things in, so the card below is a handy reminder and, on the reverse, we dish out some fun facts about feet and shoes.

Working on our shoes isn't very challenging because the leather is so good, so for this class we bought some old leather shoes on ebay. They're a great way of illustrating some of the dos and don'ts, different types of leather and the techniques you can use to improve the look of your shoes. Two of the pairs were worn, but great quality leather, but the third pair was beyond recovery made from undyed through leather that was cracked, brittle and split.  

But still we gave it a go and the leather responded really well to the cleaning, nourishing and polishing process. Keep an eye for the one in the middle later on.


Kwai and Alan were a little bemused and slightly surreal to find themselves in rainy Shoreditch on a Thursday evening, but they were great company and seemed to have a good time; so hopefully felt it was worth the trip in from Essex and that their colleagues don't give them too much stick today!.

It was lovely to see these old favourites back in our care. They're 8 years old now and, thanks to Ian's good care, they are wearing remarkably well. The whisky coloured calf and lilac kid stripe was one of the more subtle colour combinations that we made as a Half-Cut shoe with Trickers...and yes, they are on the list of styles to re-visit.

It's all in the technique and I loved this series of images (above) that James took during the evening...

This is me getting to work on that middle brown you can see the blemishes and scratches remain, but in the photo below you can see the leather is now nourished and lustrous. Not bad, on an undyed-through leather shoe.

And here we're working on how best to hold the cloth so it sits flat on your finger ...essentially dangle a strip of cloth on your forefinger, fold the excess at the tip down and twist the length of cloth towards you, tight up against your finger.

These ebay shoes are quite a find. A vintage pair of Oral shoes made by C. W. Horrell of Rushden in the 1950s. They're my new favourites and I'm hoping to re-sole and wear them!

After a leisurely two and a half hours all the shoes and boots had been thoroughly cleaned, nurtured and polished and the glacage toes were finished.

Alan's got a nice gleam on those daisy roots.

and Will too!

The thing we've learned with these shoe shine classes is just how much fun they are, that a glass or two enhances the buffing capabilities and that it's a great way for a group of friends to have a fun evening out doing something entirely different from their every day!

That's it from us; a lovely end to a busy week. Until next week, happy shoemaking!