1. #1
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    Stripping polish off Danner Boots

    I feel like I've searched the entire internet and not found a good method of stripping old, flaky kiwi off my danners. I've tried rubbing alcohol and saddle soap once before, and it just...didn't go well. I've heard mineral spirits and/or shaving cream, but haven't tried those methods. I'm in the academy right now, so the boots need to be spit shined. They are, but the polish is continually chipping and flaking off throughout the day. I've been using kiwi parade gloss. Anyone have ideas on how I can get this flaky junk off and start over?

  2. #2
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    I did it with a pair of Rocky boots. It's just leather and polish, so it should be the same. I used mineral spirits (Angelus brand, but any mineral spirits will do). You then need a rag (actually many rags) that you can dip in the mineral spirits and just start rubbing. You're done when there is no more polish coming off onto the rag. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you wear gloves when doing this. I didn't, and my hands were so dried up, I looked like a corpse. When that it done, you will need to get some black leather paint/dye (not sure what it's actually called), and paint a layer on your boots. Let it dry, and apply another coat. Let it dry, then apply 2-3 layers of polish.

    That's what I did. Everybody who's done it will have their own take on it. Just use google to find a few methods and pick the one that sounds best. I will tell you this, though. No matter which way you do it, stripping off the old polish is going to suck. I wasted a perfectly good day off doing it. It took the better part of the day
    Last edited by phillydog07; 01-16-2011 at 10:16 AM.


  3. #3
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    The reason your polish is flaking is because you never removed the protective sealant when you first bought the boots. That is creating a barrier to the leather when you try to shine it and that's why it is flaking off. All polish flakes on a new pair of boots... especially a good spit shine. It's going to happen, you just have to keep building the base. The choice to strip is yours but may not be necessary. If you've got the time, it's probably worth it though. Strip it using anything from mineral spirits to brilo pads and saddle soap. Heat will help a LOT. (Much better way) If you go to home depot and check the paint section, they sell heat guns for about 25 bucks. All you have to do is hold the heat gun about 3-4 inches away and move it back and forth until the polish goes liquid. Then wipe and repeat. Once you think you've gotten most of it off, go after it with the mineral water. Then take some saddle soap and go to town on the boot. Do a coat or two of mink oil to help loosen the leather up. (This will help with the flaking) Then you can use the leather dye to clean up the boot and get it ready for polish. I'll give you my personal run down on how to polish without getting too much flake. (It's going to flake in the creases of the boot until you've got them completely broken in and built up a nice base in the boot. Took me about two weeks of workin on them.)

    1. Take your freshly prepped boot and hand apply a nice thick coat of polish. Let it sit for about 5 minutes (while doing the other boot) Then brush shine the boot. Repeat this about 5 times.

    2. Add another nice thick coat of polish (Get ride of that parade gloss crap and get yourself some Linkin Wax) Take your new heat gun and run it over all of the polished areas. You only want to hover over it until the polish gets a glossy look to it. This will build up a nice base coat that fills in all of the pores in the leather and give you an excellent, smooth base for spit shining.

    3. Let the heated polish cool completely, and brush shine it. Repeat the entire process about 4 or 5 times.

    4. Now comes the spit shine. Slap on another thick coat of polish (by hand) and allow it to dry. Use a fresh clean cotton shirt or cloth and dip it in water then using small circles, start polishing the entire boot. You want to rub to the point where it is shined but you have a bit of a sheen or smear look to it. That will be enough for the cloth. Do that on the whole boot. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.

    4. Take the lid of the polish can and fill it with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol. Get a cotton ball and dip it into the mixture lightly. (Just enough to wet it.) Take the cotton ball and finish off the boots. You should have a nice mirror shine by now. Get yourself some Seal-a-Shine and apply it over the fresh shine to add an awesome luster to the boots and protect the shine from scuffs and dulling.

    Your boots will flake again after doing this but keep after them. Use the heat gun every other time. Be sure not to hold it too close or too long. It'll take a bit of time but they'll come out awesome.

    Good luck. I'll post up a pic of mine when I get a chance.
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    Thanks to both of you for your help. ArmyDiver, if you think it may not be completely necessary to strip them today, then I may not. I've got two exams tomorrow and I definitely don't have all day, or even most of the day to do this. My director has not complained about my boots, as I always have them looking reasonable in the morning, it's just a personal pride thing...I spent all this money on these boots and by noon they look so bad

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havyn08 View Post
    Thanks to both of you for your help. ArmyDiver, if you think it may not be completely necessary to strip them today, then I may not. I've got two exams tomorrow and I definitely don't have all day, or even most of the day to do this. My director has not complained about my boots, as I always have them looking reasonable in the morning, it's just a personal pride thing...I spent all this money on these boots and by noon they look so bad


    This is the thing I was talking about. Seal-a-Shine is a lifesaver. I used this while in the military. While your boots may look awesome once you're done shining them, about halfway through the day they start to look like you used a hershey bar on them. This stuff adds a barrier that keeps temperature and minor abrasions from dulling your boots. It also adds a bit more bling to an already legit shine. You can get it just about anywhere. I suggest hitting up USCav.com and picking up a bottle. Grab yourself some linkin wax while you're there.

    Good luck.
    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
    - Mark Twain

  6. #6
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    In the Marines, they taught me to scrub my boots with shaving cream to remove old polish.

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    Thanks to all who've replied. ArmyDiver, I'll order some seal a shine. I had heard of it, but feel better about it now that you've vouched for it.

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    i have heard that parade gloss will flake off like you said. For that reason everybody in my academy used regular kiwi. I think most of the guys now polish their boots with mud....at least thats what it looks like. I use leather luster as needed.

  9. #9
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    +1 for using heat and just scrubbing them. I never had any issues getting old crap polish off the boot. Although I've never really had to strip my boots very often. I also agree with getting a heat gun. Put a thick coat of polish on the boot and hit it with a heat gun (but not too long or too close) once the polish melts on the boot and looks like water, dip a cotton ball in "cold" water and lightly rub it in circles around the polish. If you do this a couple times your boots will look awesome. I was always told by the guy with the best shined boots that leather is skin, when you heat the polish it fills in the pores of the leather boot. Once you fill in the pores you will be able to easily get a smooth shiny coat on the boot. Then once you use the cotton balls with cold water it will seal the pores. It's always worked very well for me.
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  10. #10
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    I was told by an old school Deputy that the best way to remove the initial seal or old polish is a stiff toothbrush, shaving cream and running water.

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    i used the green scotch brite pads. (you some times find it attached to yellow sponges for scrubbing dishes in the kitchen) and switched between rubbing alcohol and shaving cream. The pad works great. They act like really fine grit sand paper. It removes the seal and smoothes the leather so when you do start to apply polish it goes a lot quicker. I strip boots all the way until the leather turns light grey. Make sure to let them dry before you start to apply the kiwi. I personally use luster instead of kiwi. When they need touch up i just buff off the polish with the scotch brite pads and re-apply a coat. Wait 6 hrs to dry and they look like glass. Helps if you have two sets of boots. Then you can always have a set good to go for inspection. This is not a quick process at first -approx a day- but the retouch is 5-10 min then just drying time.


    its what i do, works for me, your results may vary, best of luck

  12. #12
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    HA HA. We used lighter fluid and set them on fire for a few seconds. Of course that was back when they put cigarettes in C-rats.
    Pete Malloy, "The only thing black and white about this job is the car."

  13. #13
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    Would be nice if they just didn't put that factory finish on them in the first place. Still having the problem as I haven't had time to strip them yet, and doubt I will any time soon. Oh well. Looks like there are lots of ways to do it though - I'll let y'all know how it goes if I ever get around to it. For now it's quicker to just keep piling more polish over all the cracks!

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