Today we will be making a slicker for burnishing the edges of leather, you can buy these for fairly cheap. But where is the fun in that. Besides if your like me you've got so much junk you probably have what you need in raw materials anyway. So let's get to it and before you know it you'll be making the edges of all your leather projects shine like glass.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- A scrap chunk of hardwood. ( I used part of a broken axe handle, good hickory.)
- 60 grit sandpaper
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Mineral oil
- Scrap leather
- Belt sander with a rough belt
- Chisel ( I used a 1/4", but use whatever your comfortable with.)
- Carvers mallet
- Small carving gouge
- A vise, hopefully yours is not broken like mine is.
- A pencil
- Rock and Roll
- A furry carpenters assistant
These last two items are optional, but I do highly recommend them.
Step 2: Rough Out Your Shape
Sorry no pictures here, because I forgot to start taking pictures in the beginning. So just take your hardwood piece and your pencil and draw out what you want it to look like. Imagine something comfortable in your hand, burnishing can take awhile.
Step 3: Sanding
So again I don't have pictures. More soon I promise though. First I used the belt sander to round over all the edges, and make it look and feel about how you would like it. Then grab your 60 grit and get the whole thing smoothed and finish shaped. Then grab your your 220 grit and make it feel as soft as the fur on my assistant.
Step 4: Cutting the Notches
So now is the part that really matters. First clamp it in your vise so it is nice and stable. Then take a few different weights of scrap leather and mark some notches with your pencil. Then just start chiseling away at the notches. Make sure you stop and look at them every so often and hold the leather in them. You want to make sure that you get the size and shape right to get the edge to look the way you want it. There's no right way here, just try to visualize how the leather will look when your done.
Step 5: Sanding the Notches
The best way to do this is to take the 60 grit and wrap it around your pencil and start sanding the notches.This step is not to critical because the notches will get waxed anyway. So just do it until you are satisfied and it is fairly smoothed out with no uneven spots.
Step 6: Waxing and Oiling
So just grab your wax chunk, it could be a candle or really anything made of wax. Take it and work it into each notch until you can see a good wax coating on them. I find this helps to give the edge a nice finish and seals out the moisture. You will have to reapply the wax to it from time to time. I'm not sure if my camera really captured the detail of the wax in the notches, but I am confident you'll get the idea. Then when that is all done grab a rag or just use your hand and give it a good coating of the mineral oil to seal off the wood.
Step 7: Done
So that's all there is to it. It took me about an hour to complete the whole thing. I am pretty happy with the result, especially because it cost nothing at all. So now sit down throw on a movie and burnish some edges until you can see yourself. Well maybe not that much, that would be a little ridiculous. Everyone has there own recipe for burnishing edges. I prefer to just use my slicker well waxed, and some water. Just wet the edge whenever it starts to look dry, if I want a super shiny edge I will use saddle soap instead of water. And as you can see from my last picture that my assistant was a big help, and it tired her all out. So enjoy your new slicker and rock on.