Burnishing Leather - The best gum to burnish leather edges - Tokonole Burnishing Gum
Having a good looking edge on a finished leather product can make all the difference to the over all look and quality of your leather project.
It is a testament to your attention to detail, how much you really care about your craft and how you present your work.
I for one, will unstitch an entire wallet if a stitch is out of place, have always wanted to have a quality looking leather product, a professional finish, and for the longest time, I did no know about Seiwa Tokonole Burnishing Gum, and really struggled to get a smooth edge on my leather wallets.
I had researched and came across water being used to burnish the edges of leather, and had used this method for quite some time and had varying results.
If the leather was a veg tanned, natural colour, and relatively soft, then the edges would burnish nicely with the water. but if I put too much water, or let a drop fall on the leather where it could be seen, sometimes it would leave a water stain.
And the amount of effort you have to put in when using water to burnish leather edges is quite a lot, and without that glossy finish you are hoping to achieve.
I had seen Tokonole Gum used in some videos I had seen on You Tube, but I did not know what it was, and I would only usually see it being applied, and not the name or maker of the burnishing gum being used.
Eventually, I did manage to track down what was being used, and I had only just found out that there were such things as Burnishing Gums. It turned out to be something called Tokonole Burnishing gum.
After some research, I did finally purchase Tokonole, and have never used anything else since to burnish the edges of my leather projects.
Tokonole really is a game changer. You simply apply a thin layer to the area you wish to burnish, and with your Burnishing Tool, apply friction, and in no time, the edge is smooth and ready for the application of any other product you use, such as beeswax or an acrylic sealant.
You can really burnish the edges to a glassy finish with a little effort, and it makes so much difference to the finished product. It looks amazing in photographs, and displays an attention to detail giving your products more credibility, and pleasing the end user or yourself if it is a personal project.
Tokonole also doesn't stain your leather if you accidentally smear a bit, and you can simply wipe it off.
Some key things to point out before you burnish your edges.
Preparing your edges for Burnishing
- Make sure the edges are even
Once you are ready to burnish your edges, make sure that the edges are all even and in line. I always leave a little extra on the sides when cutting out my templates, so I can make one clean cut at the end, to ensure the edges are all level.
This will make a very big difference if you are wanting to get that smooth glassy finish when you burnish your leather.
- Get the edges as smooth as you can
If you do have slightly uneven or rough edges, its not a problem, you just needs to take few more steps before burnishing.
Starting from a higher grade sand paper, work your way down to a finer grade, until the edges are smooth to the touch. Always sand with the grain, and not against, and in one direction.
You want the fibers all pointing one way, and not all over the place, so go with the grain.
-Bevel the edges
If you burnish the edges of leather without beveling the edges, it will have a ´Mushrooming´ effect on the edge. The corners will roll over the sides, and although the edges will smooth, the corners will not look good
So be sure to Bevel your edges before burnishing
-Apply Tokonole Burnishing Gum
Apply a thin layer of Tokonole gum to the edges, and use a fingertip to just spread evenly. Then, with your burnishing tool, whether you are using a manual one, or a machine, possibly a drill attachment, apply friction to the edges until you get the desired finish.
The longer you spend burnishing your edges, the shinier and smoother they will become. A bit of elbow grease goes a long way here, so this really is a must to the tool box of any leatherworker.