Bulling Shoes

Wondering if anybody can help me, I am really struggling with getting a decent shine on my parade shoes.

I have two pairs and the right shoe from both pairs has patches on the toe cap where the smooth surface appears to have worn away (it feels rough, it looks rough).

Both pairs have been beeswaxed, one pair by a guardsman & one pair by me. The irony is the shoe done by the guardsman is worse than the one done by me.

I have tried literally everything to get rid of this - thicker layers of polish, more layers of polish, melting the polish in to the shoe, even sandpaper & nothing is helping. I have also Googled for any tips & none are forthcoming. The shoes have come so close to being hurled across the room in frustration, it has got that bad. If it was one pair, I wouldn’t have an issue, but as I say, it is one shoe from each pair.

I would appreciate any tips. I have pictures of the rough areas if required.

The way I used to do mine and show cadets is: firstly you may need to strip you shoes and start again with getting all the polish off.

But with either a cotton wool pad folded into three or whatever you use to bull, apply a large amount of kiwi black polish to the toecap going with medium circles and when rubbed in gently apply more polish building up the layers each time.

Then with a candle lighter melt the polish so it looks wet and straight away apply more polish with smaller circles around the toe cap and when the polish is rubbed in use your cloth to dip in cold water and apply in small circles again around the toe cap until the water looks soaked in.

Lastly soak a cotton wool pad folded under a cold water tap and use it to run around the toe cap under the water and when done shake the shoe and restart the process just building more layers up each time but when you get the desired shine then use less polish each time.

Also you can use parade gloss but I’d say a very tiny amount with mostly using the kiwi black polish. Hope this helps :+1:

I will offer my knowledge and experience the same I offer to our Cadets.
but in short - Thin layers of smooth polish.

It doesn’t really matter what polish you use. Kewi, Cherry Blossom, Cadet Direct’s tin, Market stall special, (or even colour) nor does it matter the application pad. Cotton wool, sylvette cloth, duster, tights, Dad’s old underpants. What is critical is a smooth thin layer, built upon smooth thin layers.

Ok so some polishes will offer a “better” finish, either by working quicker, easier to apply or offering a “fuller, deeper” shine or simply last longer. Likewise some applicators will be more successful, it does follow that to get a smooth finish a smooth applicator is required.

Think of it this way, your toe cap is like a pot hole in the road. Do you fill it up with a wheel barrow of dirt and then attempt to smooth it? or do you add a shovel at a time and when near the brim apply smaller amounts to create a smooth, flat finish on the road?
The correct method for smoothest* finish is bits at a time.

Use this approach to your shoes. Once all the polish is stripped away (use a knife blade) Apply thin layers of polish the thinner the better, as each layer builds, ensuring it is smooth, the defects on the shoe’s surface will slowly but gradually disappear.

This approach has served me well for the last 16 years. There really is no need to use heat either candles on the polish or the shoe, no need for a “hot spoon” to smooth the surface. There is no “quick fix” it just requires good old fashioned elbow grease and some time.

*for the best shine a smooth surface is required. Consider the reflection in a mirror or window verse a bathroom mirror. Consider the reflection on a lake at the still dawn verses midday when the wind has picked up creating waves. Which has the clearer reflection?
Now consider a sand beach and a pebble beach. Which of those has the smoother surface? A sand beach….why? because it is made up of smaller grains. Replace the beach with your shoe, and the sand or pebbles with polish. Small “grains” (layers) of polish will create a smoother layer….

For those interested I have used damp cotton wool balls and Parade Gloss for the best part of 16 years and have been happy with the results every time

Hi, I’ve bought my first pair of shoes, and have been polishing them alot, but I don’t get a shine. I use cherry blossom polish, and I have watched multiple videos, but none really help. I’m kind of stuck now…

Hi mate. Everyone has their own style of polishing. Most people prefer Kiwi to Cherry Blossom but that’s personal preference. At the start brush polish some really thick layers on to smooth out the layers. Once you have this nice smooth finish start to “bull” small layers - youtube should help you there. Don’t set fire to anything, melt anything or use floor polish - the only things you need are a cloth/cotton wool, water, polish, lots of time and lots of willpower! :slight_smile:

Make sure to use water, I’ve known people to go months of “constant polishing but with no results :(” and it turned out they weren’t using any water.

Exactly what he said ^^^^^^