Tuesday, November 23, 2010


If I had to sum up my intrigue with shell cordovan in one word, it would be patina. And I’m challenged to sum-up, posit, declare, announce, report, rebut, exclaim, disclaim, denounce or profund anything in one word. Patina. With a gleam. Translucent Patination if I'm afforded two words. I’m also reminded of Patina Johnson. A gal I could never get a date with in High School. Then again, I could rarely get a date with anyone in High School butcept Roxanne Burgess.
But that’s what it is…Patina. I told you the story about seeing a pair of Horween color 8 Weejuns when I was in college and trying to shine/buff/polish/admonish my leather Weejuns to preen shiny in the same way. It won’t happen folks. You have to swath your dogs in horsehide to get the gleam. Gleam gettin. Yep, that’s the rationale for plunking down the dough.
Tintin who fronts my other blog said that he was taught by an old Brooks guy at CasaBrethren to offer new shell cordovans a first coat of polish in black. I get that. A contrasting colour taunts the original vegetable dyed patinatinaterishness to preen conflicted with a swirl of different colouring. The trick with any polish applied to shell cordovan is to apply a stingy amount. The shells are impregnated with secret Horween sauces in which they’d been soaking for ages. Don’t over anoint them with anything.
I got an email the other day from a reader who has a storage unit adjacent to the Horween tannery in Chicago. He told me that he can smell the aroma of Horween’s broth when he’s in said storage unit. When he mentioned that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if his belongings took on a permanent smell of Horween Potpourri, it caused me to think of other options. I’d be tunneling my way in to the Horween hide-bathing locale. After a couple of midnight skinny dips in the century old secret brine, a private patina…a dermal depth might manifest. And my peeps would say… "ADG, you look shiny—and rested.”

My green-loden-vert Yuketens are en route. I keep checking the UPS tracking number every five minutes. I don’t think they’ll make it before LFG and I decamp to South Carolina for Thanksgiving but we’ll see.
Onward. In solitude for another little while. Before my girlfriend wakes.

ADG, II and LFG, the Only.


James said...

Thanksgiving in South Carolina with LFG,perfect bliss. Enjoy my friend.

Reggie Darling said...

I have a couple of pair of BB slip on cordovan loafers and they are pretty swell. My only complaint is they start out super shiny and then but fifteen minutes later have dulled down considerably and look like they need another shine. I have them cream-shined (only) at my local shoppe. Oh Zeus of these matters, I ask you: Am I doing something wrong? Reggie

ADG said...

James....thanks. I'm already fasting in prep for manifesting one of the seven deadlies. Butcept if your mama is the sponsor of the fuel for the sin...Thanksgiving dinner equals gluttony...then it ain't a sin.

ReggieDarlingtossity...I hear you. The cream is killing your vegetable dyed impregnated oily baseline in the cordovan...the very source of the lustre. It may be too late if you've had them cream shined numerous times. Too late to get back that day-long, see yourself all day shine like my two brown pairs have in the first photo. Still not a tragedy. But here's the deal...as a matter of fact...I did this an hour ago before leaving the house...just a THIN coat of waxed based polish...rubbed in with a cloth...then a quick and fast brush...all done while the shoes were on my feet...two minutes.

And finally....do NOT saddle soap them or try to "strip" the built up cream off of the shoes. But don't cream 'em no moe.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Ps...LFG and I looked at pugs the other day. We met a little baby girl...Agatha.

Silk Regimental said...

When I was in high school, my Dad would take my brother and I to Barrie Bootery Ltd, next door to J. Press in New Haven.

I always bought the same shoe - tan moccasins with leather soles and heels with a steel wedge in the heel. I loved the "click" it used to make.

Dad tought me how to "season" the color of the shoe with light brushes a darker color polish - dark brown or black - ever so lightly whisked.

Suburban Princess said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with LFG - I know you will have a great time and make many new memories!

Patsy said...

I think you may manage to have some fun, sans new green shoes.

Have a joyous Thanksgiving and a safe journey!

LPC said...

I have an entirely new appreciation of the term "patina" now. Although I still believe it means a deep shine acquired via age and experience, through which we imagine we see the Platonic object:).

ADG said...

LPC...Yes...your definition...THE true definition...still seems right for shell cordovan. The protracted brining/tanning processes are anything but expedient and there's an antiquated,protracted and smugly shabby method for getting them "just right"...so patina just keeps popping up in my noggin. I had a history professor in college...I loved his classes. He was, unequivocally patinated.

Patsy...I'm experiencing advance let down and green cordovan refractory emotions already.


SilkReggie...sorry to have missed Barrie before they gave it up.

Mal said...

I appreciate the thoughts and advice on polishing shoes. Sorry the Yuketens will not arrive for the holiday but think of it as a great present waiting on you when you return...you know, early christmas

Have a safe and happy thanksgiving-

Reggie Darling said...

Maxie: Thanks for the education. Henceforth I shall never cream cordocan, only wax it! I am much obliged. Reggie

Anonymous said...

A very amusing post.

CeceliaMc said...

You know,I've read that Cuban cigars get their patina from being rolled between the thighs of sweltering Cuban women.

Perhaps that might be the shortcut you guys have been seeking, and certainly the instructions would be less perplexing.

yoga teacher said...

Do translucent patinated cordovans really reflect up?

In The Littoral said...

God bless you and LFG. I hope that you have a wonderful time with your family and especially with LFG. Looking forward to my time time with my girls too. Family means everything, I realize that more now than ever.


PS Thanks for the tutorial on shell cords.

ilovelimegreen said...

A co-worker of mine often tells the joke about Patina and her sister Ormolu...perhaps Ormolu went to school with you as well?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more about the patina.

Have you seen the recently released 721LTD, Wolverines' limited edition, shell cordovan boots. The leather is, of course, from Horween, and I understand that production was limited to one thousand pair.

As a die-hard cordovan afficianado, I think a pair belongs in your vast shoe vault. Remember, Santa is always watching.