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Hello, I posted a similar topic a few years ago and I'm hoping to re-ignite the subject. 

I've been trying different methods over the years and I still have not found a clear-cut (or even close) method of burnishing thinner (i'm using 4/5 oz) natural leather without the edges being darkened too much and without making a mess of the face of the piece (or the flesh side, for that matter). I really like the look of completely untouched natural leather, so I don't want to put any sort of conditioner/sheen on the face as they all darken the leather at least a shade. I want to keep the natural leather as white/pink as possible with minimal water/paste mess from burnishing. I'm also having somewhat of an issue with the flesh edge of the leather folding over some with the thinner leather. I might be burnishing too quickly after wetting the edge, I don't know.

 

I am using a pro edge burnisher in my drill press which works very well.

 

Methods I've tried:

- Just water

This solves the edge darkening problem and also solves the mess problem when applied extremely carefully with a dauber or your finger. However, it doesn't give a lasting extra slick finish.

 

- Just liquid Saddle soap

This gives a slick finish, but darkens the leather edge a lot and also seems to soak into the leather more, which means messy and uneven looking edges.

 

- 50/50 liquid Saddle soap and water

This darkens the edge a bit less (still more than i'd like) and soaks in a bit less, but isn't as slick as just straight up liquid saddle soap. 

 

- 50/50 liquid Saddle soap and water, then beeswax, then canvas burnishing.

Creates a slick edge, but is very hard to keep clean, and darkens the edge quite a bit.

 

- Gum Tragacanth

Creates a good slick edge (one coat is good, two coats is better), but is really really hard to keep clean. Doesn't darken the edge as much as the straight liquid saddle soap, but still darker than I like. One thing I did discover recently is that applying gum trag to the edge with the edge of a toothpick works well for keeping it clean, but is very tedious. Should I maybe burnish the edge with just water first before burnishing with gum trag? would that help keep the trag from seeping onto the face?

 

I guess I'm just hoping that some magician out there has come up with a magical method/product that is easy to apply/won't make a mess/won't darken the edge too much. Haha.

 

I'm also having a hard time with applying beeswax as its hardness makes it difficult to apply a sufficient amount of wax to the edge. I was considering making a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, and eucalyptus oil to stave off mould. I've heard of a beeswax/neatsfoot solution, but would prefer to use olive oil in its place. Does anyone have any experience with a wax/olive oil blend? I prefer not to use any paraffin.

 

Thanks again,

 

Zayne

 

 

Edited by zaynexpetty

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nrk   

messing up with the leathercraft, I did have general question about finishing edges as you, but not only for thin leathers (btw - 4/5 is not much thin) :).
and you now what? - you're dam' right - it wears off and become ruined over the short period of time.

I did my best, tried several methods as you..

The only thing that looks good and stays much on the edge is the leather edge paints (not just dye, but flexible coat).

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1 hour ago, nrk said:

messing up with the leathercraft, I did have general question about finishing edges as you, but not only for thin leathers (btw - 4/5 is not much thin) :).
and you now what? - you're dam' right - it wears off and become ruined over the short period of time.

I did my best, tried several methods as you..

The only thing that looks good and stays much on the edge is the leather edge paints (not just dye, but flexible coat).

oh, yes. I know 4/5 oz is not very thin haha. Its just the thinnest leather I work with. ;)

Im finding that with natural, un-dyed leather, it is best to lightly and VERY carefully wet the edge, wait until it has dried up some a little, burnish it with a rotary burnisher, apply slightly soft beeswax to the edge carefully, burnish again with rotary burnisher. I'm still having an issue with the edge rolling over a little bit on the flesh side, but its not that big of a deal. Sometimes I bevel the inside edge again after burnishing if its curled over too much.

I generally don't have a problem with dyed leather (other than applying beeswax in cold weather). My process for burnishing dyed leather goes as such:

sand edge with medium grit (sometimes i will use a higher grit if i feel its too fuzzy on the edge, but i generally use grade A hermann oak with doesn't really have that problem so much

wet edge with mixture of 50/50 water and liquid saddle soap VERY carefully with wool dauber

wait until edge has dried up a little

burnish with rotary burnisher (i have the hole master tip - drill burnisher from pro edge burnishers)

rub on beeswax carefully and thoroughly

burnish again with rotary burnisher

rub edge vigorously with scrap canvas piece to smooth over and get rid of the white residue from the beeswax

sometimes i will reapply beeswax a second time if i feel i didn't get good coverage.

 

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I like tokonole. I apply it with a small angled paint brush. Let it set for 5 minutes. Burnish. Apply pariffin wax (I know you said you don't want to use it). Burnish again. Then rub with canvas.

The pariffin gives a slicker edge then the beeswax. Beeswax is grippy. 

The tokonole all by itself may be the answer you are looking for. It's pretty fool proof and you can clean up excess with a wet rag, while it's still wet anyway.

It also doesn't seem to darken the edge of you keep the heat down while burnishing (aka slow speed).

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13 hours ago, bikermutt07 said:

I like tokonole. I apply it with a small angled paint brush. Let it set for 5 minutes. Burnish. Apply pariffin wax (I know you said you don't want to use it). Burnish again. Then rub with canvas.

The pariffin gives a slicker edge then the beeswax. Beeswax is grippy. 

The tokonole all by itself may be the answer you are looking for. It's pretty fool proof and you can clean up excess with a wet rag, while it's still wet anyway.

It also doesn't seem to darken the edge of you keep the heat down while burnishing (aka slow speed).

Is tokonole as wet as gum trag? or is it more of a paste?

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I haven't tried it (and it may sound gross) but according to Valerie Michael saliva is an excellent burnishing agent. Maybe try giving an edge on a scrap of leather a spit shine hehe.

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It has the consistency of Elmer's glue. It's not so gel like as tragacanth.

If you are looking for more of a paste you can try fiebings antique in natural color. I did find it a little less forgiving on the face of the leather. A paste tries to ball up when you apply it. That was my experience anyway.

But, anything is going to need a little practice and patience to apply. We are talking thin edges.

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