Leather Edge Finishing

Hello Everyone :wave:
I am always asked about my edge finishing. How do you get your edges looking so good ? What is your technique ? Why should I finish my edges ?
My edges or always as solid and smooth as possible, given the type of leather my project is made With. If it is repurposed leather and left unfinished, that depends on the look I’m trying to achieve. For the most part if it is to last and endure ware year after year the edges need to be sealed and polished. This gives your project that 100% ware factor equal to the finish of your hide.
I will try to explain my process as simply as I can. It is not hard to do. The problem I see with other edge finishes, is they stop there edge finishing to soon. My father asked me one time, do you know the difference between an armature and a professional ? I replied no, what is the difference ? He said 10 minutes :upside_down_face: My point is, 10 minutes more makes for a nicer edge ! Edge finishing can be pretty pains taking but, the results can make you are break you (in your sales) .
Lets look at the steps;

  • Edging
  • Sanding
  • Filling
    *Burnishing
    *Polishing
    Edging your project- There are several way so make sure your edges are true, square and smooth. I let my outside piece give me my final size of the project. After gluing and applying each of the other panels on (as in a billfold). I will cut it to the final size. This makes my edges clean and square. This also removes any excess glue from the finished edge as well. After the final cut to size is made and lacing is done, edge your sides. This will ease the the sharp edges. At this point you should have an edge that is slightly rounded.
    Sanding your edges- This will take care of any loose grain that may remain on the edges. I stare with 800 grit W/D (wet or dry). and proceed with a finer grit if necessary. At this point, then I go to the next step.
    Filling-at this stage, filling simply means, applying an edge coat. I use Tokonole and apply it sparingly with my finger, making sure you let it dry completely between coats and before you go on the the next step. The goal is to apply to the edge and the edge only! Appling this and letting it dry will fill up the fibers and glue down any loos fibers that my remain. The finished edge, at this point, should be very smooth and look like your finished edge except dull in appearance.
    Burnishing-At this stag I use my burnisher, which is a cordless Dremel with a burnisher attachment (you know what this looks like) :upside_down_face: . At this point your edge should be looking good !
    Polishing- Should be your last step and you should have an excellent edge at this point, hands down ! I use a Beeswax formula that I have been working on for awhile which gives me that polished edge I’m looking for. Thanks for reading my post! Bye for now :wave:
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Hi barbedwireleatherstu - thank you for this! Particularly for detailing the actions. Yes, an evenly formed and polished edge elevates any piece. I have a beloved 2nd hand Pickett (London) briefcase which I maintain the edges on. For this, I also converged on applying Tokonole sparingly with the fingers. But never knew how to get that high shine until your clue here about beeswax. Next time the edges need refreshing, I may use Rennisance Microcrystalline wax, and if so will report back here. Thank you!

Hello Rodger! :wave: Thanks for the reply. I was hoping after writing it that I could help in some way with the issues one goes through in the craft. I apologize for not having any pics. to go along with the article. Everything is still packed for the move. I hope to write more on my experiences and share what knowledge I have. I’ve been in the craft for over fifty years for my friends and family, selling a little along the way but, now retired I plan to go at this full time and see If I can make a few bucks? I do have apothecary, white wax for sale in 1 ounce bars. I’m working on a recipe for edge coat now and when I’m finished I will and it to my inventory. I like the things you work on. I’m pretty utilitarian myself :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I am looking forward to hearing about the use of the wax. :+1:

Some really great insights here - I myself, and likely many others, sometimes move quickly through these steps, or even skip some all-together

The additional time, which as you mention, usually isn’t that much, can really make all the difference in quality and performance, a major difference

Thank you for mentioning this, it will make me think far more as I do edge work - your mention of a cordless dremel also got me excited! My corded one is great, though I often find the restrictions of the cord can be less than ideal - now I want to keep my eye out for a good deal on a cordless :slight_smile:

The sanding is something I need to especially do more - thanks for the tips!

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