For some time now I have been trying to make shoe polish, which seems a ridiculous ambition really when you consider how cheap it is to buy ready made in the supermarket, and really as more and more people wear leisure shoes everyday its a declining market. With this kind of business acumen I will be making snuff next
The same arguements can be used pretty much for just about everything I make, which completely misses the point its not about price its about quality and craftsmanship. Not every product has to be a race to the lowest price, occasionally its nice to have something with quality natural ingredients, that doesn’t cost the earth. I see it like my apple pie. I can buy one from a shop or I can make one. The shop one still uses apples and pastry but there the similarity ends, its no contest especially when its made with my now famous Calvados Pastry. All I need to do is get my customer to try it, but I digress.
As some one who works a lot with leather I have made my own neutral leather polish for some time, its just one of those attention to detail things you do to enhance your product. Quality leather needs to be looked after if its to remain in tip top condition, it needs to be protected from the elements, and it needs to be fed and nourished if it is to remain supple, avoid drying out and becoming brittle. I havent found a commercial product that I liked so I started making my own. My recipe uses a combination of Beeswax and Coconut wax to protect the leather, Caster oil to give a soft sheen and sweet almond oil to penetrate and feed the leather. There’s also a little something to cut through the dirt on the leather and allow my polish to penetrate. Over the years I have fine tuned the reciepe to give a neutral colour polish with a soft sheen rather than high gloss finish.
Now I have always wanted to take this further and try adapting my basic reciepe to make shoe polish, by changing the quanties in the existing components I can increase the shine, but its the colour thats evaded me, over the years I tried all sorts of colouring agents. There are all kinds of old wives tales of mixing soot with turpentine over the fire, I did try the soot without the turpentine, I also tried ground charcoal and various other strange concoctions, but finally I have managed it, but with a secret ingredient that was so obvious I cant believe I didn’t think of it sooner. A definite case of not seeing the wood for the trees, but as you can see from the picture I have it licked and now feel an orgy of shoe cleaning coming on as I pass round samples to all and sundry to test it.
Having conquered Black its on to dark brown and even Tan, although I might be to old for brown shoes, they do seem very racy.