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  • Boot Shine

    There have been a number of Threads on here regarding duty boots lately (I wear HiTech Magnum Stealth IIs) but I was wondering if anyone would want to share their method of shining their boots. I use regular Kiwi, and use a lighter every 2 or 3 coats, then buff. They look good enough to keep my strict sarge happy, but I notice that some peoples certainly look better- any suggestions?
    "Fi, fy, fo, fum, I smell the fingerprints of scum."

    "The urine stain on your pants signifies that you are a single-shake man, far too busy for the follow-up jiggle."
    Ace Ventura

  • #2
    Perfect Shoe Shine Edited

    I like Lincoln Wax for my boots...here is a pretty good article about getting the perfect spit shine. I have added a few of my own suggestions in bold print.

    THE PERFECT SPIT SHINE

    Tips from Stompers Boots
    http://www.stompersboots.com

    Getting a pair of boots to shine is a fairly straightforward procedure
    that most of us learned when we were children. Doing a spit shine is a
    step above that. There are various ways to accomplish it, and much
    military lore ranging from cotton balls and hot spoons (both of which work)
    to pyrotechnics (not recommended!). Here are the guidelines we follow:

    Wash your hands. Your skin contains natural oils in addition to whatever
    dirt you may have picked up. You cannot polish a boot that has oil on it,
    nor can you polish a boot with oil on your skin.

    Step 1:
    Clean the boots. For a new or relatively clean pair, all you will need to
    do is put a small amount of saddle soap on a soft shoe polish dauber, dip
    it in water, and lightly scrub the boots. The saddle soap will foam a bit.
    Then wipe off the soapy water and dry the boots with a clean towel. If the
    boots are really dirty, more drastic measures, such as a scrubbing brush
    and water, may be required. Don't forget the dust in the tongue of the boot!

    Step 2:
    If the boots already have old layers of polish on them, strip the old polish
    off using mineral spirits on a clean rag. Lighter fluid will also work, but
    is more expensive. You will find mineral spirits in the paint thinner section
    of your hardware store. If you are buying something labeled "paint thinner",
    read the label to make sure it is indeed mineral spirits. Provided it is
    mineral spirits, the cheap stuff works just as well as the major brand names.
    Fingernail Polish Remover works also, be sure to wash it off your hands as it is extremely hard on your skin.

    Step 3:
    Apply a thin layer (or two) of black shoe dye to the boots after stripping the old wax off.
    Using your bare hands, (I like to use an old cotton T-shirt) rub a layer of soft shoe polish onto one boot. We use Angelus Polish, but find that regular Kiwi shoe polish works just as well. (I like Lincoln Wax or the Kiwi Parade Gloss) Buy the big tins, as you will use more of this than any other supply. Remember to apply polish to the tongue of the boot, and also to the edge of the sole and heel. (I finish up with Edge Dressing)Use a toothbrush to apply polish to the "catwalk" where the sole meets the upper shoe leather.

    Step 4:
    Now here comes the technology: After you have applied the polish to the boot, take a hair dryer using the hot setting, and slowly blast hot air over the boot.
    You will see the polish melt briefly as the hot air does its thing. This melts
    the polish into the leather. I like to use the electric burners on my stove for this, it's quicker...don't let your mom or your wife see you doing this as it may disturb them unnecessarily. I am female, and my hubby could care less what I do to the stove so long as the occasional meal is fixed as well.

    Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other boot.

    Repeat steps 3 through 4 three more times, so that you have melted four layers of soft polish into the leather. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU REPEAT THIS PROCESS AT LEAST FOUR TIMES TO ATTAIN OPTIMUM SHINE! I know it takes forever, if you don't have the time go back to using a hershey bar to shine your shoes!

    Now comes the spit shine. To do this you need the following 3 items:

    --- A very high quality polish such as Kiwi Parade Gloss or Lincoln Stain Wax.
    (The latter is marked USMC approved.)

    --- A damp 100% cotton cloth, cut into a square the size of a handkerchief.
    This should be old - an old T-shirt is ideal. If it is not old, run it through
    the laundry a few times till it is nice and soft before using it. It must be
    100% cotton. Polyester will strip off the polish, which is the last thing
    you want at this stage.

    --- Clean water to keep the cloth damp. A spray bottle works really well.

    Step 5:
    Wet the cloth and wring it out - you want it damp but not dripping wet. Wrap
    it round the first two fingers of your hand and grip the excess cloth so that
    you have a nice taut surface at your fingertips. Put a small amount of polish
    on the cloth at your fingertips and begin lightly stroking the surface of the
    leather in little circles, working a section at a time. You have to be patient.
    At first you will think a shine will never appear, but keep doing those little
    circles on the section you are working on. Eventually you will see a mirror
    shine begin to appear through the haze of polish. (Don't forget to do this
    to the edges of the soles and heels too.) Since I use the edge dressing I skip the edges of the soles and heels.

    This process takes a bit of practice. In time you will develop the technique
    that works best for you. You will also find by experimenting that variations
    on the little circles, such as back and forth buffing with the damp cloth,
    work better on certain areas of the particular boot you are shining. Turn the
    cloth to get a clean surface occasionally.

    On some boots, a single layer of spit shine is all that is needed. On others,
    such as Canadian Garrison boots which come with a slightly pebbled surface
    when new, you may need to build up many layers. Use polish sparingly - the
    layers must be thin, or else the polish you just applied will strip off and
    form little bits of grit in the cloth, ruining the shine you have so far.
    Keep the cloth damp using your spray bottle or whatever. The purpose of the
    water is to make the polish stick to the leather not to the cloth. It is the
    thin layers of polish that gradually fill the tiny holes and bumps in the leather,
    thereby producing the smooth surface that shines like a mirror.

    When you have finished the spit shine, make sure you rub all traces of polish
    off the soles with an old towel or something. I like those sheep wool buffer things, can't recall the actual name of it due to my Altzheimers This is especially important with boots that have heavy treads such as Vibram soles.


    Ongoing Maintenance

    Maintaining the shine is much easier than the procedure just outlined. Provided you have no major scuffs, all you really need to do is add another layer or two of spit shine polish with your damp cotton cloth.

    If you have a large scratch, you can dip your finger in mineral spirits and melt
    the polish in the scratched area., then rebuild the layers. Personally, we find
    it easier to strip the polish off a somewhat larger area (typically the toe cap),
    and then redo the entire process described above on that area (giving new meaning to starting from scratch).

    There usually comes a time, when the old polish is chipped, flaking off in places, and/or has major scratches, that your only option is to strip the polish off the entire pair of boots and start afresh. US military tradition requires the old polish to be stripped on a regular basis. Canadian and British tradition is to build up layers of polish over the years. Choose your tradition!

    My advice is to start with a relatively new pair of boots, it saves the initial stripping. Toss your boots when they get too many wrinkles and gouges in them. Be prepared to spend a few hours doing this.
    Rated PG-13

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for the article and tips, I am going to try the parade gloss, as I always use regular kiwi. I am also going to try the hairdryer and see if it works better than than the lighter to melt in the wax- I want to look down and see my ugly mug staring back at me...
      "Fi, fy, fo, fum, I smell the fingerprints of scum."

      "The urine stain on your pants signifies that you are a single-shake man, far too busy for the follow-up jiggle."
      Ace Ventura

      Comment


      • #4
        Just Kiwi regular and a bit of water.

        The key is having layers of wax that fill in the tiny cracks in the leather. After your shoes are clean, apply a couple thick coats. After they have dried take a clean cotton cloth. Dip it into a bit of water, then a little bit of polish. When you feel a bit of friction you have the right combination. Start making little circles. Keep goining until you can see yourself. Takes about one hour per shoe the first time. Pretty easy to maintain.
        "In my life I have met many people who were quick to point a finger, and but a few that cared enough lift one"

        ME

        Comment


        • #5
          Well this is the one thing that I consider myself a expert at. After 6 years in the 82nd Airborne then 3 years as a Drill Instructor I have had plenty of practice. I have even spit shine the guys on my shift boots for a small fee.
          Here are a cople of my tricks.
          Supplies
          Cloths: Cotton Diapers
          I have seen and tried many different types of rubbing materials rags, cotton balls, old tee shirts but I have found the best to be cloth diapers, you can get a 12 pack from Wal-Mart for 10 bucks.
          Sponge paint brush if polishing for the first time, see below

          Wax: Kiwi
          I have tried Lincoln and Kiwi and I think Kiwi is better. Depending on wear you live Lincoln wax is also hard to find. I have also use parade gloss, neutral and cordovan. Those three work best as a final coat to your boots a real high gloss, I think cordovan works the best out of the three.

          Lighter: Any will do
          You need to watch out because if you get to close to the boot you will set your Kiwi on fire (burns blue by the way).

          Technique:
          If the boots are new and have never been polished I do this to build the base coat. Dig a good clump out of you can with your finger and place it in the can lid. Take a lighter and heat the bottom of the lid and melt the kiwi into a liquid. You always want to try to not set the polish on fire. When the kiwi ignites it will burn off some of the carbuna wax in the polish and it will not work as well. Dip you sponge brush into the liquid and paint the kiwi on your boots. Let the kiwi dry a good 10 minutes and than run a brush over it and buff it until you get a shine. It is very important to let it set up and get hard on your boot before trying to buff it. Repeat these steps until you can see the pores filling up with wax. You will not be able to get them totally filled with the brush method but you can come close.

          Spit Shine:
          When you have a good base coat going you can start using your diaper. I take the diaper and completely submerge it into water, this keeps the cloth from absorbing the wax. I use my pointer and middle finger and get a VERY little bit of wax on the cloth and then I rub it in. If you use to much you will see little balls of wax appear when you are rubbing, this is BAD it will take off the wax that is on there now. Keep the diaper wet by dipping it in water, I don't use spit. I was told by a old timer in the 82nd that your spit will break down the wax, hey it sounds good to me. The purpose of rubbing so much is to get the kiwi to melt by friction and fill in the pores. Just repeat the steps until it looks like a mirror.
          Tip:
          When you get your boots spit shine it is very easy to keep them that way. I never use a brush on them after they have been spit shined.
          Get a second pair of boots for the range or training because ounce you gouge a chunk out of you shine it is a bitch to shine them again.
          Pros:
          Spit shining looks good and it helps your boots repeal water. Your boots will be noticed!
          Cons:
          Your boots will not breath. If you stand out in the sun for a extended period of time your shoes will heat up and the kiwi will melt off.

          Comment

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