I’ve been despondent for some time because I haven’t had many opportunities to engage in one of my favourite hobbies: Boot blacking. But a friend of mine got married at the beginning of October, and a few days before the ceremony asked me to polish his shoes. I was thrilled!
With this pair of shoes, most of the polish was kicked off around the toe and heel. The scuff marks were a shade of light gray–by the time I was finished with leather conditioner, the scuff marks themselves had been rendered completely invisible to the black leather around them, with the toe having regained some of its shine. The groom only gave me one day to do this; if I had more time, I would’ve been able to apply several layers of polish and get the toe really shiny.
The first step is to clean the leather. I dampen a cloth and then apply a very small amount of saddle soap–about the tip of my finger–and apply the soap in a circular motion. The soap foams and wipes away the dust and dirt on the surface of the leather. I then take a dry cloth and make the same motion to wipe away the foam and water. This alone makes the leather much darker if I’m treating a brown or dyed leather.
The next step is to condition the leather. I like Huberd’s the most for this step for multiple reasons. For one, the product is non-toxic, and therefore safe to touch and breathe; two, it doesn’t stink too badly (it smells and tastes* like bacon); three, it’s inexpensive. The downside to Huberd’s brand shoe cream is that it only comes in black, as far as I know. I prefer to work Huberd’s into the leather with my bare hands, massaging it in a circular motion. Huberd’s restores some shine, but its chief purpose is to water- and winter-proof the leather.
The last step is to apply polish. For leather that has just been cleaned and conditioned, I typically apply a modest amount to the toe and leave it at that. Getting a proper shine takes one treatment a day for several days in a row. It’s not a process that can be rushed, which is why if you have your boots blacked somewhere and your boots are messy as hell, you’ll mostly get cleaning & conditioning rather than a good shine. In fairness, if you bring us boots caked with mud, then just cleaning your boots is probably enough to make them look shiny in comparison.
I figure I can be satisfied with essentially erasing the scuff marks and restoring some sheen in time for the wedding. More importantly, my kit has been restocked, and the new dungeon run by Not Dipshits in town means I might have a slough of customers with boots to service. Yesssss.
*Huberd’s non-toxicity comes in handy when you’re a kinky bootblack. That’s because: 1) if I like you; 2) and we’re flirting; 3) and you consent to it; there are–uh–alternative ways to deliver the leather conditioner besides with one’s hands or a cloth, a “special service” that I offer selectively. Hence why I know what it tastes like. Huberd’s isn’t particularly edible and I definitely don’t recommend swallowing it, but it has never made me ill when I’m going “up and beyond the call of duty” to a Dom/me who consents to receive it. It’s just beeswax and pinetar. That said, if you have any canker sores, it stings like a bitch. Depending on who you’re special servicing, that might be a feature and not a bug.