Monday, September 22, 2014

Weekend Waxing

I've lived in San Francisco fourteen months now. In that time, all notions of seasonal apparel learned in a lifetime of living in Chicago have fallen by the wayside. This is not an entirely bad thing. While in some ways, my sartorial skills have atrophied - no one needs to wear suits anywhere, unless you work in Finance it seems. My dress shoes, long a staple of my day to day in Chicago for work in the not-for-profit space now seem only to exist to occupy a spare corner of my closet.

Days are now spent in search of the perfect fitting t-shirt, a button down that looks best un-tucked, the ideal pair of sneakers, the right pair of jeans. My sneaker game has never been stronger - multiple pairs in white, in black, from several manufacturers, abound in my wardrobe. This past week, I saw on sale a pair of Vans I have eyed for many months now. On sale. Part of the "Van Doren" Era collection, but no longer on the site, I couldn't pass them up. So I didn't.

Lovely shoes, but I am a tinkerer. Remembering that somewhere in the house was a bar of Otter Wax, I thought, well, hell, I live in San Francisco, I bet these would look great if I waxed them. Theoretically it's damp and rainy here much of the year, and waxing the canvas to help waterproof these would really help turn them into year-round shoes. So armed with a bar of wax and a heat gun re-purposed from my wife's craft bin, and a bit more patience than I normally exhibit, I'm now ready for the city - whether the drought continues or not.

The process couldn't be simpler - take out the laces, and rub the bar of wax on the whole canvas upper, working in sections. Then use the heat gun to melt the wax into the fabric, being mindful not to scorch anything. "Don't scorch anything" sounds dire in a check-that-door-for-heat-Tim Backdraft way, but it's actually really easy; apply heat to a small section of the waxed shoe, wait for the wax to shimmer, turn off the gun, and work it in with your fingers. Do this over the surface of the entire shoe. Repeat with other shoe and BOOM! Done. Break your arm patting yourself on the back.

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