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Finishing the Edges (Leather)

One of the last phases of creating something leather is finishing the edges to remove any roughness.

In this practice session I used a remnant of 8 oz leather.


  1. Edge beveler

  2. Tokonole

  3. Round burnisher

NOTE: Many leatherworkers also sand the edges. I did not have any sandpaper.

I've included a video at the end.

Step 1: Bevel the Edges

I use an edge beveler on thicker leather such as 8 oz.

When I try to bevel thinner leather, I usually end up digging into the leather OR sliding off the leather and stabbing my left hand.

Case the leather, angle the beveler, and gently but firmly press the beveler against the leather down the edge.

Step 2: Apply the Tokonole

Gum tragacanthe, Tokonole, water: these can be used to smooth the edges of the leather.

I prefer the Tokonole, but I recommend that you experiment to make your choice!

Before applying the Tokonole, make sure that you have dyed your piece. The Tokonole can act as a resist, leaving the dye job splotchy if you dye after burnishing the edges.

Apply the Tokonole along the edge of the piece. I layer it to make sure I don't get too much on.

Step 3: Smooth/Slick/Burnish the Edges

Multiple tools exist to burnish the edges. Again, I recommend that you experiment to find out which shape and material you want to use

I prefer the round burnisher: I feel I have a better grip on it, and I like the structure of it against the leather.

You can put your piece on the edge of a flat surface to burnish or hold it. Make sure you don't warp the edges by putting excessive pressure.

You are going to fall in love with a beautifully burnished edge!

This is one of my favorite parts of leather working and what creates a polished, high-end look.

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