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So this leads me to several questions:

1. Is the shiney deep polished look desirable?
2. Is there a difference between calf and custom calf?
3. What does burnished mean?
4. Is there some kind of wax or coating on the AE shoes that needs to be removed to achieve the shine?
5. Are there different polishing techniques that should be used for different kinds of leather, colors, and finishes?
6. Is it true that black polish should be used on burnished shoes?
7. What terms or descriptions are out there to describe leather types and finishes, and colors (full grain, pebble grain, calf, burnished, analine, veal, soft grain, etc.) And what do these terms mean?
I'll take a shot at your questions, though I hope you also get some better-informed responses.

First let me say that I've been caring for shoes for over 50 years, including a stint in the USAF, so I have some experience with various methods and the results of each.

1. Not to me. I thought it was for many years, but came to prefer a lower luster glow. It looks richer to me, and tends not to show the inevitable mishaps encountered as much. And the way in which it's achieved is easier and IMO, better for the leather.

2. I suspect so. I'm not certain, but think custom calf may have an applied finish, perhaps also called correct grain.

3. Burnished usually means that the leather had some darker coloring added when the shoe was finished.

4. Can't say, except that I don't prefer AE shoe creme as it contains wax.

5. More than you can shake a stick at! Mine consists of a good cleaner and conditioner only (I use Meltonian saddle soap, many prefer Lexol products), plus a good shoe creme. I learned to avoid wax after 20 years of using it for the reasons stated in #1. I was surprised when others joined me in that on a recent thread.

6. If you wish to use wax, you might consider alternating the base color and black, and only using black until you achieve the desired results.

7. Wow! I betcha Andy has defined these terms. But - full grain should be whole hide as contrasted to split. Pebble grain is self-descriptive. Burnished means another color added, as explained. Calf is just that. Aniline is the type of die used. Veal can mean something older than calf, and is a nonspecific term. Soft grain can mean whatever they want it to.
 
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