Edge Finishing: Edge Burnishing
Burnished edges are one of the highest expressions of leathercraft: a high-shine, sealed-in edge created by polishing the edges with friction and moisture. It’s an extra step that is missing from most modern leather goods.
Oil dye (optional)
Makeup sponge (optional)
Latex gloves (optional)
1 Bevel the edges. With a sharp edge beveler appropriate to the thickness of your leather, remove the edge from both sides of the area to be burnished.
2 Dye the edges, if desired. Burnishing will darken the edge of the leather, but it will never become dark black. You may choose to dye the edges with black or dark brown oil dye to get the right color.
3 Apply the Wax. Beeswax is a traditional material used to burnish the edge of the leather, but it is a little harder to work with than paraffin wax. Apply the wax by lightly running the block of wax along the edge of the leather.
4 Rub the wax into the edges. Surface friction is what ultimately burnishes the edge of the leather. Create surface friction by rubbing the burnisher vigorously until the edge of the leather develops a uniform polished appearance.
There is more than one way to burnish leather edges. Edges can be burnished using burnishers made of resin or glass, or by using nothing but a little water and canvas cloth. In this book, we burnish with a hardwood burnisher and paraffin wax.