Below are some recipes to waterproof boots and shoes.
FRENCH VARNISH FOR BOOTS AND SHOES. — Ingredients; 3/4 pint of spirits of wine, 5 pints of any cheap white wine, 1/2 lb. of gum-senegal powdered, 6 oz. of loaf sugar, 2 oz. of powdered galls, 4 oz. of green copperas, i pint of strong decoction of logwood.—Mode: Dissolve the sugar and gum in the white wine, and afterwards strain it into a pipkin; add the spirits of wine; set the pipkin over a slow fire; let the contents get quite hot, but be very careful that it does not boil. Put in the galls, copperas, and logwood, and continue stirring it on the fire for five minutes. When somewhat cool, pass it through a muslin strainer, and bottle it for use. Apply it to the leather with a soft brush, and leave it dry.
FOR BOOTS AND SHOES.—Ingredients: 2 pints of vinegar, 1 pint of soft water, 1/4 lb. of glue, 1/2 lb. of logwood-chips, 1/4 oz. of finely-powdered indigo, 1/4 oz. of best soft soap, 1/4 oz. of isinglass. — Mode: Mix together the vinegar and water, and stir the other ingredients well in till the whole are tolerably melted. Set the pipkin containing them over the fire, and keep it boiling ten minutes ; then strain off tho liquid, and bottle it for use. When the boots and shoes are quite clean, apply to them this polish with a piece of sponge. Should the polish become hardened in the bottle, a gentle warmth will soon make it liquid enough to use.
WATERPROOF VARNISH. —Ingredients: 1 lb. of oil of turpentine, 1/2 lb. of powdered litharge, 1 lb. of linseed-oil.—Mode: Boil these, and well mix them together; while tho varnish is warm, brush the material over with it, and dry it in the sun The dressing may be repeated if neces sary. This will be found a very cheap varnish, and useful as well for thin materials, such as cotton and alpaca, as for sail-cloths, &o. An old great-coat dressed with it will make an excellent waterproof over-coat for a poor man.
GERMAN POLISH FOR BOOTS AND SHOES.—Break into small pieces a cake of white wax, and put it into a tin or earthenware vessel; pour over it as much oil of turpentine as will cover it; closely cover the vessel, and let it stand during twenty-four hours. During this interval the wax will have dissolved, and with the turpentine have formed a paste. With this incorporate as much finely-powdered animal charcoal as will impart to the mixture an intensely black colour. When required for use, take out a little on the point of a knife, and with a brush rub it into the boots, previously cleaned from dirt. The oil of turpentine will evaporate, leaving the wax upon the leather, in tho form of a fine, rich varnish. Should the composition become too dry, it may at any time be moistened by the addition of a little oil of turpentine.
Source: Beeton's Domestic Recipe Book ©1883