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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Shell cordovan, particularly when it is new, has a "feature" whereby it will sometimes develop a hazy white buildup (presumably remnants from the tanning process). Normally, this isn't really a problem -- just buff it off with a rag. But what do you do if it develops along a gimped seam or interspersed among the stitching on the upper? A rag doesn't allow fine enough work to get it all up. Must I resort to a Q-Tip?
 

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When faced with a similar dilemma, I used a very soft bristled toothbrush (yes, it was a new one!) and it very effectively removed the white build-up from the stitching on the eyelet throat of several pair of my shell cords. ;)
 

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I brush my shell cordovans after each wearing with a horse hair brush. Sit overnight, brush briefly next day, insert shoe trees.
I read somewhere (maybe Ager's Butling book?) that the trees should be inserted when the shoes are still warm from the wearing. Certainly that would make better use of the cedar's absorption abilities.
 

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Somewhat related:
A pair of AE seconds arrived today (the Cambridge, a B&W spectator) and to my surprise (and not mentioned in the eBay listing), shell cordovan was stamped on the sole.
This means nothing to me. Pls explain why it should. (I understand what shell cordovan is, but why is it special? I don't visually see anything different, or do I?) Help me folks.
 

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Somewhat related:
A pair of AE seconds arrived today (the Cambridge, a B&W spectator) and to my surprise (and not mentioned in the eBay listing), shell cordovan was stamped on the sole.
This means nothing to me. Pls explain why it should. (I understand what shell cordovan is, but why is it special? I don't visually see anything different, or do I?) Help me folks.
It just means that they used Rendenbach soles as a special-order feature on your spectators, not that they are made of shell cordovan. The soles are so marked only because that is the type of sole AE uses on their shell cordovan shoes and that is how the soles are supplied to them.
 

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It just means that they used Rendenbach soles as a special-order feature on your spectators, not that they are made of shell cordovan. The soles are so marked only because that is the type of sole AE uses on their shell cordovan shoes and that is how the soles are supplied to them.
It doesn't mean that the shoes themselves are made from shell cordovan? On the box, after the style name (Cambridge) it says black cordovan and the original price is marked $425 (as opposed to $295 on numerous other AE seconds I've purchased in the last year).
Or maybe you think my question is are the soles made of shell cordovan. It's not; am wondering if the shoe itself is corovan since I don't know what the hell cordovan looks or feels like or why it costs $130 more than other AE's.

Again, help please.
 

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It doesn't mean that the shoes themselves are made from shell cordovan? On the box, after the style name (Cambridge) it says black cordovan and the original price is marked $425 (as opposed to $295 on numerous other AE seconds I've purchased in the last year).
Or maybe you think my question is are the soles made of shell cordovan. It's not; am wondering if the shoe itself is corovan since I don't know what the hell cordovan looks or feels like or why it costs $130 more than other AE's.

Again, help please.
Okay. Sorry. If your shoes are marked black cordovan it means that the upper leather is a form of horse leather, rather than calf or cow. Shell cordovan is a highly-prized leather for shoes, not technically horse hide but originating in a heavy membrane beneath the skin on the horse's hindquarters. It is unusually durable and wears differently than calf. A pair of shell shoes can last for decades and still look wonderful.

Shell cordovan is most usually tanned a dark reddish brown - you will find it refered to as color #8 - but also comes in lighter tones as well as black. The increased cost of shell is the result of a long tanning process, the rarity of the material, the challenge of working with it, and its desirability.

I hope you will enjoy yours and again, I apologize for the initial misunderstanding.

P.S. What threw me was your description of a B&W spectator - I assumed them to be special order calf.
 

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That white effect is called spewing, a natural milky residue of wax, and can happen on many leathers, but will often form on new shell cordovan shoes.

This is a normal residue from the tanning of the leather. Wipe it off with a soft cloth or brushing. To remove the wax in difficult areas, such as between stitches, use a toothbrush.
 

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P.S. What threw me was your description of a B&W spectator - I assumed them to be special order calf.
Well, that, and he only mentioned the stamp on the sole, which is stamped shell cordovan on most custom-order spectators I've seen from AE. You can't be blamed because he sprung the box thing on you after you had already replied.
 

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Shell cordovan, particularly when it is new, has a "feature" whereby it will sometimes develop a hazy white buildup (presumably remnants from the tanning process). Normally, this isn't really a problem -- just buff it off with a rag. But what do you do if it develops along a gimped seam or interspersed among the stitching on the upper? A rag doesn't allow fine enough work to get it all up. Must I resort to a Q-Tip?
Here in the uk this is reffered to as "blooming" I've had hides sitting on the shelf with this condition, an old tanner told me to wipe them over with a cloth soaked in dissinfectant to keep it at bay, which it did, maybe this will work with the finished product?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here in the uk this is reffered to as "blooming" I've had hides sitting on the shelf with this condition, an old tanner told me to wipe them over with a cloth soaked in dissinfectant to keep it at bay, which it did, maybe this will work with the finished product?
Bloom was the term that I was searching for and could not think of. Thank you. I really don't mind it happening -- I think it gives the leather some character. The problem has been getting it out of tight spaces on the shoe.
 

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Shell cordovan, particularly when it is new, has a "feature" whereby it will sometimes develop a hazy white buildup (presumably remnants from the tanning process). Normally, this isn't really a problem -- just buff it off with a rag. But what do you do if it develops along a gimped seam or interspersed among the stitching on the upper? A rag doesn't allow fine enough work to get it all up. Must I resort to a Q-Tip?
Question. I have a pair of crockett and jones shell cordovan but the bloom is very much. I brush it off but after 5 steps it is back. Can i reduce this?
 

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Question. I have a pair of crockett and jones shell cordovan but the bloom is very much. I brush it off but after 5 steps it is back. Can i reduce this?
Oils and waxes are used in the tanning of shell. What you are seeing are residual amounts of the same left over from the tanning process. Different hides will experience this to differing degrees. But over time, it will dissipate, become less frequent and far less of an issue. These same substances can serve, IMHO, as the best possible elements for giving your shell a shine. Buff vigorously with a medium stiff horse hair brush (Until your are falls off! ;)) and finish with a cotton flannel buffing cloth.

As much of a bother as this can be initially, I urge you not to use any cleaners on new/newer clean shell as your hide needs these emollients which help to protect it, and assure its appearance and longevity, and such cleaners can permanently impair the finish on your shell.

Happy brushing! :LOL:
 

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Oils and waxes are used in the tanning of shell. What you are seeing are residual amounts of the same left over from the tanning process. Different hides will experience this to differing degrees. But over time, it will dissipate, become less frequent and far less of an issue. These same substances can serve, IMHO, as the best possible elements for giving your shell a shine. Buff vigorously with a medium stiff horse hair brush (Until your are falls off! ;)) and finish with a cotton flannel buffing cloth.

As much of a bother as this can be initially, I urge you not to use any cleaners on new/newer clean shell as your hide needs these emollients which help to protect it, and assure its appearance and longevity, and such cleaners can permanently impair the finish on your shell.

Happy brushing! :LOL:
Note, should read, "Until your arm falls off."
 

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Oils and waxes are used in the tanning of shell. What you are seeing are residual amounts of the same left over from the tanning process. Different hides will experience this to differing degrees. But over time, it will dissipate, become less frequent and far less of an issue. These same substances can serve, IMHO, as the best possible elements for giving your shell a shine. Buff vigorously with a medium stiff horse hair brush (Until your are falls off! ;)) and finish with a cotton flannel buffing cloth.

As much of a bother as this can be initially, I urge you not to use any cleaners on new/newer clean shell as your hide needs these emollients which help to protect it, and assure its appearance and longevity, and such cleaners can permanently impair the finish on your shell.

Happy brushing! :LOL:
Very interesting. Most of my not suede shoes are shell. All have served me very well, some for 30 years. However, I have one pair that, no matter what, always bloom after even a short walk. After 10 years of use. You'd think those oils would eventually run out. I'm all over the Saphir/Wipe down/brushing/hair dryer methods. Any thoughts for these chronically bloomed shoes that are resistant to other methods?
 

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I have some pairs of shell cordovan shoes that were purchased brand new from Alden (now almost ten years old) and also several wonderful vintage Florsheim (and other) shells that I have had refurbished/resoled by a local cobbler and maintained well. I wear them relatively infrequently, that is, not as much as my calfskin shoes. I have never seen the bloom, although I have been reading about it in these and other fora for close to two decades! So this phenomenon is puzzling to me. I wonder if the bloom has to do with the climate in which the shoes are kept and worn, perhaps? It is hard to tell where different AAAC members live, since that information is not always available in their profiles now, but I am wondering if living in warmer places might cause the bloom to appear more frequently.
 

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Very interesting. Most of my not suede shoes are shell. All have served me very well, some for 30 years. However, I have one pair that, no matter what, always bloom after even a short walk. After 10 years of use. You'd think those oils would eventually run out. I'm all over the Saphir/Wipe down/brushing/hair dryer methods. Any thoughts for these chronically bloomed shoes that are resistant to other methods?
I'm not a shell guy, but responded in hopes of giving the OP some response based upon my limited general knowledge of tanning and far too much time spent reading the experiences of shell-heads here and on the Trad forum.

I've only ever had one pair of shell shoes (Alden gunboats) and quickly got rid of them because I found them too warm, and felt they didn't breath well. But not before I made the mistake of using a bit of saddle soap to remove some of the paste wax I had applied. (This was 40+ years ago, pre-Saphir, etc.) At this time saddle soap was a ubiquitous gentle cleaner/conditioner used on all leather, and which I had used to good effect for a long time. But it's not something to use on shell.

Perhaps the Saphir products are different, but I'm wary of using any sort of cleaner on leather having found that wiping with a damp cloth and brushing is safer and does a fine job except for the worst of cases. The idea of a hair dryer is interesting as heat certainly will make oils/waxes run, and sounds like a good idea if used carefully and not to excess.

A long departed, but once cherished AAAC member was John Cusey. (SP?) was exceptionally knowledgeable in general, and about footwear particularly, and had many pairs of shell shoes. I have read what you reported concerning bloom only affecting some shell from him and many others. The OP noted they're C&J, I don't know where they source their hides, but I'm sure it's fine quality.

(y)
 
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