View Full Version : Edge burnishing with a branding iron

12-04-2002, 01:12 PM
Has anyone ever tried burnishing edges with a branding iron? I have a small pocket that I am attaching to a bigger sheath/pouch. and I want to burnish the edge. it is too thin to burnish well, I tried holding it against the table (which isn't easy since the tabe is round and the leather is square!) that didn't help much. I was wondering if I damped the leather edge slightly and them stroked it slowly with a hot branding if I would get the same effect??? anyone ever try this?


12-04-2002, 06:59 PM
Well I tried it, and it seemed to work pretty decent. Mind you I wouldn't do it to a sheath that could be burnished some other way. but for the pocket no one is really going to notice anyway. It sure blackened and hardened the edge up. which is what I wanted it to do. Can't ask for much more than that. Now that is stiffened up I might beable to take some paper bag and rub the edge and shine it up nice. But I am happy with it. Give it a shot on a scrap. Does get a bit darker than normal burnishing. But I'm going for a rustic look, so it might work out to my advantage with a darker edge.


12-04-2002, 07:39 PM
gotta love it when a plan comes together!

Chuck Burrows
12-04-2002, 07:52 PM
You might also try dampening slightly and then using a piece of coarse cloth (old jeans, canvas, etc.). Pull the cloth along the ege in one direction only. Even better than water is a dab of Gum Tragacanth.

That's the traditional method any way. I'm a bit scared of heat because if you hit a little soft spot, and leather can be full of the little buggers, it will usually draw up and wrinkle - ruining your hard work. But experimentation is always worthwhile.


12-04-2002, 08:30 PM
Has anyone tried watered down carpenters glue, instead of the gum T.?

Robert Sox
12-18-2002, 04:23 PM
I have been using a method that I'm pleased with on thick sewn edges, such as the welt of a knife sheath. Perhaps it will work for you.
I use my beltgrinder (variable speed, running almost dead slow) to first grind the welt down to shape on my 8 inch contact wheel using new 50 and 80 grit belts. At this point I do the edges with an edge tool and dye the welt. Then I 'smooth' everything down with a new 220 grit belt. Touch up the dye if necessary. Finally, I rub bees wax on the welt and finish up with a worn 15 micron belt. The edge comes out being shiny, smooth, and hard. I may then rub GumT on it and use a bit of hand buff if it seems needed.

I welcome your comments. I can provide pictures, but don't have a site to host them from.

Jack OBrien
02-01-2003, 09:01 AM
just arrived and was looking for something else when I notice this query.
Here is a tip that I used to use when I was inthe army for putting a high spit polish on near new boots

First i would super charge the leather with boot polish then heat up a spoon with a cigarette lighter and rub the spoon all over the boot[ heat the spoon a few times] This burnt the bootpolish and dye into the learther and formed a very hard and deep polish.

A coup[le years back I was having a bit of a problem finishing the edges of sheaths and remembered the spit polish days. First I ground the edges down to an acceptable shape using an 80 grit belt, then without fine sanding to remove the rough finish I applied the bootpolish and the hot spoon trick #### it does a brilliant job and leaving the rough 80 grit finish before applying the polish and spoon allows the polish to be embedded into the leather. Dont know if I am a bit late with this as a helper but someone else might just be browsing and find it helpful.


dont drive faster than your guardian angel can fly

02-01-2003, 01:53 PM
I've been using my belt grinder with a belt reversed and gum tragacanth and it seems to bring a nice burnish.

02-01-2003, 04:33 PM
Jack - I'm running right over to my scrap pile to try the hot-spoon burnish. I've done some boots in my time in the Navy also -- but not my flight boots, no polish allowed on those. Melting the wax into the boots (Bic, Zippo, hot water register, hair dryer) always seemed to help, makes sense that a hot smooth metal spoon would be even better finisher. Probably not a bad idea to add the gum-targ as a final coat for a longer lasting seal.Thanks for the idea, and welcome to our little gang of leather workers

Jack OBrien
02-02-2003, 08:27 AM
Even after the hot spoon it alweays helped a bit with a bit of spit[ Especialy after a night on the direction jiuce] Seems maybe the sugar still floating around helped with the final shine.