4 - Burnishing



Next you'll need to following items from your box:

Your purse

Burnishing cloth

Leather finish


A glass of water


Burnishing, or slicking, is the practice of smoothing down the edge fibres, making them softer to the touch and also protecting them from water egress.  The 'art' of tidying up edges in the leather world is a time consuming, and competitive sport!  Sadly nowadays many high street stores simply add an edging paint to mimic the look.   

Here at Morgan + Wells we pride ourselves for using traditional techniques, so get ready with some elbow grease! 

What you are aiming for is a slick, shiny, smooth edge.  If the edge hasn't been sanded enough, it simply won't work as well as it could do.  

cloth and beeswax.HEIC

1 - First off,  rub some of your beeswax block onto the burnishing cloth,  about a quarter of the cloth will be fine.  You'll be working in this process with friction and lubricants.  Beeswax is a lubricant here.  

Next, decide if this purse is for you - or for a gift!  If it's a gift, use water.... for you, use some spit! 

Yup!!! You heard right!!

The traditional method is to use spit, but obviously nobody wants slobbery (non-covid friendly!!) gifts....so we use water. 


4 - Once you have got to a point where you feel happy with your edges, take your pot of leather finish.  It's good to point out here that once this is applied no amount of water or further burnishing will make any difference.  


With a TINY amount on your fingertip dab it around the edges of your purse (work in small sections at a time).  Now rub it in around the edge with your finger before using your waxed cloth to burnish it (one direction) one final time.


The fibres should now feel smoother, look shinier and if you've done a good job.... squeak! 



burnished edge.jpg

5 - Check back to the edges on your sample leather and you'll notice the difference burnishing does.  
Almost there....




2- Taking care not to wet the main face of the leather (we're just talking edges here) lightly wet your fingers in the glass of water and rub it along a section of the edge.   

3 - Now using your cloth rub along the edge, in one direction and using medium pressure.  Gradually you'll see the fibres start to lie down and darken.  Re-wet and repeat until they look smooth.  The longer you do this phase the better your edges will be.