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Leather Care Newsletter Steven Ferry

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, March 2021, Care of Leather Goods

Steven Ferry Care of Leather Goods, Part 5

by Steven Ferry

Different Kinds of Polishes

Wax is the most common polish for shoes and allows a shine to be created while adding layers that increase the leather’s water resistance; it also adds a small amount of moisture that helps keep the leather supple and free from cracks to some extent.

To ensure the leather is conditioned with sufficient moisture, especially in dry climates or where leathers are used often, apply creams (i.e. Meltonian, Kelley’s, Moneysworth & Best) as the leather starts to become dry, so it is not damaged by becoming brittle but does develop character with a burnished patina of scratches and scuff marks while retaining its suppleness—as demonstrated by the author’s 25 years of wear and care of his Johnston & Murphy shoes.

As a note, creams do not provide much shine nor water resistance, so they are not substitutes for wax polish. However, as waxes only come in half-a-dozen common colors and creams come in about two dozen colors and can be combined with other colors, just like an artist combines paint hues, in order to exactly emulate unusual-colored leathers, there will be some leathers on which one can only apply creams. In this case, a shine can be approached by applying the cream and buffing, and repeating a few times.

As a further note, the less glossy leather is, the more it is liable to change color, even when applying a neutral polish, as the leather absorbs the polish and can then darken. So particularly in the case of matching items like belt and shoes or handbag, test a polish or conditioner on a small segment of the leather, preferably where it is less visible, and let it dry for a day to see if the polish changes or darkens the color. It is always possible, of course, you will prefer the new hue, but best not to commit yourself until you have made an informed decision.

The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.

Por Amer A. Vargas

Amer A. Vargas graduated with a Tourism Degree specializing in hotel management from CETT (Center for Tourism Studies) in Barcelona and spent the following decade in the service industry. Beginning as a waiter and then supervisor in high-end restaurants, he was next made responsible for raising service standards through staff training programs. After receiving further training as a butler, he worked as a butler and valet in private service as well as hotels in England and Europe.

During this time period, he translated the best-selling industry texts Butlers & Household Managers, 21st Century Professionals and Hotel Butlers, The Great Service Differentiators into Spanish and is currently creating butler training materials in the Spanish language.

As the Director of Spanish-speaking Markets, Amer is responsible for making the technology of butling available in private residences and hotels in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. He provides consultation, placement, and training services in these countries.