Tech Tip: 3 Ways to Edge Finishing
Finishing your edges is what seals the deal on your project! It involves literally applying finishing agent, dye, wax or edge paint to create a barrier along your exposed seams and stop water from seeping in. There are various ways you can achieve beautiful edges while elevating your work. Let's look at 4 ways to finish like a pro!
Preparation:To prep your edge for any type of finishing process involves truing up edges, making sure glued leather pieces are even to receive various coating and buffing or burnishing. You can sand the edges using sanding stick manually for detailed work or use burnishing machine to help speed up the process especially working with larger pieces.
1. Burnish using Gum Tragacanth:
Gum Tragacanth and burnisher is most commonly used on vegetable tanned leather. It gives you a naturally polished edge that shows off the natural colors and beauty of your leather.
Before you start, use an edge beveler to take off sharp edge will make burnishing easier and also aesthetically looks nicer. Apply Gum Tragacanth evenly on the edge and rub the surface back and forth with burnisher while applying light even pressure. To get pretty, glossy looking edge you need to repeat the steps several times.
There are many slicker or burnishing tools to choose from. In general, you want to use just right groove size for your leather to get clean rounded edge. To speed up the burnishing process, you can also use burnishing machine to do save time and energy.
2. Dye with LeatherColor or stain:
The process for dyed edges is relatively the same as a naturally burnished edge where it all starts with sanding the edges as flat and as smooth as you possibly can. We recommend using edge dye pen, dauber or other applicators to apply the dye. Allow the dye to dry, sand the surface gently and apply leather dye again. Repeat these steps until you've achieve the results you are looking for. Once you are satisfied with your edge, apply Gum Tragacanth and buff the edge for a high gloss look.
Using leather dye to finish your edge generally looks very natural and is quite stable because the dye penetrates into the leather. On the other hand, using Edge Color is just covering the surface of the leather. Of course, you can get a relatively stable coating if you get it done right! But it does take more effort and skill.
3. Waterproof with wax:
Covering the edge with wax is another way to prevent liquid from seeping in. A properly trimmed and smoothed edge has a fiber consistency that is able to absorb the wax. Melting the wax with proper heat (not too hot, not too cold) gives you a maximum level of shine and protection. Before you start, always test temperature on a scrap piece of leather that is the same as your final piece.
Waxed edge can have a slight sticky feel. Always start with a light coating and add more layers as needed to get the desired result.
4. Edge dressing using Edge Color:
Take time to level your edge before start the finishing process. This will save you time in filling in gaps and get better end results.
Use the Edge Base Coat to fill in gaps or uneven edge. After the coating is dry, sand the surface gently with sand paper to even out the surface. You may need to apply multiple layers to get the smooth surface you're looking for. Then apply the Edge Color of your choice. Since you've already prep your edge, you will only need a light color coating.
Finally apply Edge Top Coat to give your color a gloss or matte finish. You can also use the Base Coat and Top Coat to get a natural edge look without any coloring. This is a preferred edge finishing a variety of projects like hand bags, wallets, watch band, belts, garments and more.
Watch our short video to learn how to finish your leather edge. If you're interested in finding the right material and tools, check out our Liquid category page.