We made a trip to the local asian food store again, really just to pick up something for Master Pravus that we’d run out of. While we were there, he pointed out a basket of shoe polish to our left. I hadn’t even noticed it though, because I am more of a “let’s get in, and get out with what we came for” shopper, as opposed to Master Pravus who tends to want to look around.
Master Pravus steered me over to the little basket of shoe polish, and we began hunting for the illusive navy shoe polish that we’ve been on the hunt for. Yes, yes, we both know we can buy it online, we just haven’t yet. Still, in nearly every store we go into that happens to have shoe polish we’ve been hunting for navy. I’m told that a coat of navy polish under black polish (on black leathers) brings out a deeper shine to the leather. Still, we do have black so we have no real need to rush online and order navy. Since it was so inexpensive (most shoe polish is) we opted to pick up a tin of black korean shoe polish to see how it performs against my current “Kiwi” collection.
We went home, of course, and I decided that I was wanting to work on some bootblacking for a while. It became a recurrent theme all weekend, and it put me in a service (domestic service) headspace very quickly. There are five pairs of leather boots or shoes in the house, and I have slowly but surely been working over each pair. There’s no real rush, I tell myself. Though, I did do our two most used pairs of shoes first. This past weekend, I was particularly interested in Master’s Dr. Martens.
I admit that the main reason I was eager to get my paws on these particular beauties was that I wanted to play with my new china pencil, which I had heard was really very good at re-brightening up boot stitching. Master Pravus’ Dr. Martens aren’t new, and I really wanted to make them look soo much better. First, I cleaned the boots up, and then, before I was going to polish them, I noticed a small tin of “Dr. Martens Dubbins in my bootblack kit. I had forgotten about it, and it wasn’t something we had purchased together anyway. It was something Master had from before my recent interest in bootblacking. I asked Master if I should use the Dubbins istead of the regular shoe polish, since the tin had said it was designed for Dr. Martens. He told me yes, and just to put a thin amount on the boot, all over. I did that, and it seemed to make the boot a whole lot greasier and waxier than I had thought it would. Master told me that Dubbins is usually used to weatherproof a boot, so it isn’t really a polish, but more of an anti-weather item, and that once or twice a year was probably more than what was needed.
With the boot coated in a thin layer of Dubbins, I decided to move on to the stitching on the boots. I got down really low to the ground, and slowly, careful not to get any china marker anywhere but on the stitching of the boot, went around the base of each boot. It took me about ten minutes per shoe, although they had never had this treatment before, and I am thinking if I keep up with it periodically then it likely won’t take so long. Master Pravus was so excited to see his boots when they were all finished up because he said that the yellow stitches looked newer than new! He also said he liked how the Dubbins made them look nicer. Score one for Kitty!
The one thing I’m really unsure of (and if anyone has any info they can point me to, I’d appreciate that a lot! I have Googled and Googled and have really found nothing useful), is that the boots are still a little bit “tacky” in places, even though I gave them this treatment a couple of days ago. Master Pravus isn’t sure if that’s right either, and that maybe I just applied a bit too much, and hopefully if I just wait a couple more days it’ll dry on its own? I have tried running a conditioner on top of the leather (as I found one source online which said to do this, and Master Pravus agreed it would be worth a shot), but it still remains slightly tacky in places, though much of the boot has dried. We will see what happens. Master Pravus says he highly doubts that I ruined the boots.
I also took a bit of a risk over the weekend, with a pair of shoes of unknown material. They are a pair of my own shoes, I wouldn’t ever take a risk with Master Pravus’ shoes or anyone else’s on purpose. They seemed similar to leather, but I don’t recall paying too much for them, and I am thinking that they may actually be PVC or similar. Still, they are less than my favorite pair of shoes, so I decided to give them a shine and see if I could improve on their appearance.
The shoes themselves look radically different, and oh so shiny! If you’re looking at the above boot and shoe pictures, and you notice scuff marks and little gouges, that would be because I’m lacking in the materials to fix the issues listed above, although I definitely think that I improved both pairs a lot. I am looking forward to getting my next allowance so that I can buy more bootblacking supplies for my little kit. Though, in the meantime, I still think there’s a lot I can work on. Speed being one thing. I’m not the fastest bootblack there ever was, but I am just getting started. =^^= Practice makes perfect. I’d rather go slow and do a good job than go fast and miss something.
I really love the feel of the polish in my fingertips, the smell of the saddle soap, the scent of the polish. I have been having little fantasies of having friends over for non-sexual play, everyone ignoring me, except for the fact that I am there to shine all of their boots. Can you imagine that? A room with several people, (perhaps a party) all ignoring me, with the exception of the boots I’m working on. I love the thought of it, though I doubt it’ll happen any time soon. Still, a kitty can dream, can’t she? Well, instead I’ll just have to be content with serving at the best pair of boots imaginable:
Master Pravus’. <3
**EDITED TO ADD (Aug 10, 2012):
I got an email from a seasoned bootblack in our local community about the tackiness of Master’s Doc Martens, and as it turns out, once you condition leather, you can’t polish it. That makes a lot of sense to me, and luckily, those happened to be Master Pravus winter boots. I have a completely brand new pair of Dr. Martens of his which will be his “shiny” boots hereafter. He is not the least bit upset that his winter boots can’t be shiny anymore, and he’s totally fine with the slight tackiness. The boots are not ruined. When starting any new hobby, it seems inevitable that you’ll make small mistakes and hopefully you learn from those mistakes. Neither Master Pravus’ nor me really knew that you shouldn’t put Dubbins on if you’d like to shine the boots later. I wish I had a picture of the back of the tin (which I threw out, because the product was so old), but it did say that you should apply a thin coat, and then buff and polish as normal. Lesson learned. We now have a can of Huberd’s Boot Grease for future boot conditioning. Mew!