Edges: Finishing and Burnishing

A small amount of extra time spent on finishing edges can make quite a lot of difference to the final product; it looks neater, more polished, and certainly more professional (for a hobbyist at least!) Even if you are going for the American, heavy rugged aesthetic, a finished edge is still more advisable for reasons of comfort.

Comparison of a finished edge (top) and unfinished edge (bottom)
Comparison of a finished edge (top) and unfinished edge (bottom)

Here’s how I finish my edges, demonstrated on a twinned pair of bracelets. It takes approximately 5 more minutes to finish the edge of the leather.

Before.
Before.

This is the edge of the leather right after cutting it from the cowhide. (for those wondering: Crazy Horse (waxed) belly leather, Italy, approx 5-6 oz). The edges are cleanly cut, but we don’t want our pieces to look like cardboard cut outs.

  1. Leather Edging Tool
Leather Edging Tools
Leather Edging Tools

Using the larger tool first, run the blade along the edge of the leather on both its sides. Repeat with the smaller blade.

Edging in process.
Edging in process.

2. Water Burnishing

Burnishing tool.
Burnishing tool.

Next, dampen the edge of the leather with water. Using a wooden burnishing tool, run the leather in between the grooves to polish it.

water and burnish

A slightly tiresome ordeal.

3. Edge Coating

Although the edge has been polished, the fibres of the leather are still prone to sticking out. To really seal the edges in, use a edge coating substance.

tokonole

Personally, I love Tokonole edge finisher. Clear and odourless, it leaves a slick sheen onto the leather without a mess.

Apply the Tokonole onto a linen rag and rub briskly onto the edge of the leather.

tokonole applicaton

And that’s it! You should be left with a polished, rounded edge that looks good and feels good.

After.
After.
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