The difference in the wear and appearance of a boot properly cleaned and treed, and one that is neglected and badly cleaned, is considerable; the former has a bright, and clean surface, while the latter is either very dull, or caked with unevenly applied blacking.
TREES keep boots from wrinkling, preserve them in shape, greatly improve their appearance, and prolong their existence.
It is a great economy to have three or four pairs in use, wearing them in turn, as they last quite six or eight times as long as one pair worn constantly. It enables the boots to be better aired and dried between each wearing, which adds to the durability of the leather.
NEW BOOTS should be worn a few times to mould them to the feet, then smeared over with vaseline and put aside for a few weeks to enable the leather to become perfectly seasoned.
Good boots may be resoled several times by good workmen. To get the full value out of repairs the renovations should be allowed to become thoroughly dry and well seasoned before use, as in the case of new boots. They should be mended very soon after showing signs of wear.
The high heels of ladies' indoor dress shoes, which are made of wood, are frequently covered with thin kid, which becomes scratched and shabby after being worn a short time. Recently celluloid (which is unscratchable) has come into vogue for this thin coating, as it does not show signs of wear; but ladies should remember that it is highly inflammable.
BRUSHES should be of a good quality and should be of hair. The one used for removing the dirt is of least importance, and must be harder than the others. The actual blacking brush should be of longer hair; the round ones, usually sold at 4 1/2d, with a blunt excrescence for removing the mud between the sole and the upper, are the most convenient for cake blacking.
The final polishing brush is of most importance, and should have longer, softer hair, and be of a good quality, to obtain the best results.
LIQUID BLACKING is the cheapest ultimately. A hole should be made in the cork of the bottle, and a penny brush pushed through the space, to avoid wasting the contents.
PASTE OR CAKE BLACKING is liable to be insufficiently diluted, and irregularly or too thickly applied. Cheap blacking often contains an excess of acid which makes the leather crack.
If blacking is too thickly applied it (1) takes too much time and labour to obtain a polish; (2) is messy to touch; (3) is extravagant and apt to make the leather crack. It may be moistened with water, which is the safest medium; but a polish is more quickly obtained by the use of vinegar, beer, or any acid. It must be remembered, however, that an excess of acid causes the leather to crack.