What color should I go with?

  • Brown

    Votes: 8 25.0%
  • Walnut

    Votes: 24 75.0%

  • Total voters
    32

YoungClayB

Super Member
1,105
United States
North Carolina
linville
Hey guys...Last week I bought a pair of AE Kingswoods off of eBay for around $30 shipped. When they arrived, they definitely needed some TLC...as I was polishing them, there was a scuff that I was having trouble with so I buffed...and I buffed...and then...whoops! I accidentally buffed through the finish....


These were obviously not wearable at this point...so I started considering my options. The easiest thing to do would be to send them to AE for their $40 refinishing service, but I wasnt sure that I wanted to do that. I had a pair of J&Ms refinished 5 years ago and they used a "spray on" finish that didnt hold up well at all. And based on what I've read, this is the same sort of finish that AE uses. So, I decided that I would attempt to refinish them myself. I went to the bathroom, got some 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol and started rubbing.



Wow, I couldnt believe what was underneath. When I first got these in the mail, I was a little disappointed because they just looked a little "plasticky" so I thought that they might have been corrected grain. These are definitely NOT corrected grain shoes. Based on how dark the original finish was and how light the leather underneath is, my best guess is that AE used some sort of "spray on" finish when these were originally produced (back in the 80's I guess). This would also explain why I was able to so easily buff right through the finish in the first place. {EDIT: for all of the same reasons, I now believe that these shoes WERE in fact corrected grain...I mean isnt that what corrected grain is? a shiney sprayed on finish that completely masks the leather underneath?}

At this point, I have finished striping the right shoe:


So, I am kind of at a crossroads here. I had originally planned to dye these with Kelly's medium brown dye and build up a finish by using dark brown meltonian shoe cream, but after seeing how the leather looks underneath, I am tempted to not dye them and just start building a finish with AE's Walnut premium polish.

What do you guys think?
 
Last edited:

Ekphrastic

Senior Member
551
United States
Virginia
Hampton
Whoa! You got a flinch out of me on that second picture! You're a brave man (although, for $30.00, I guess you can't go wrong).

I'd dye 'em, then polish. Seems it would be a little more permanent that way, but I'm hardly a cobbler. Maybe Nick V. can weigh in here? Good luck!
 

YoungClayB

Super Member
1,105
United States
North Carolina
linville
All I can say is -bizzarro. That rubbing alcohol would strip the color that easily and completely.
Yes...bizzarro is an understatement. This beats all I've ever seen. I'll bet this is a finishing technique that AE used only for a short period of time. My other AE shoes arent like this...not that I've tried to strip them, but you can just tell by looking at them that the leather is dyed and not painted.


do not try this on your cigars
:crazy: the thought alone make my stomach hurt.

How about leaving the vamp light in color and darkening the rest for a custom, one-of-a-kind spectator?
Thats a pretty cool idea, but I am not sure how it would turn out...I think I'll stick to one color on these :)

I am definitely leaning towards dying them a medium brown. Has anyone ever done this before? I'd love to hear some tips and things to look out for.