A burnisher is similar the a kitchen knife honing steel. A honing steel realigns a knife blade, while a burnisher creates a burr or sharp hook on a scraping tool by deforming the metal. A good burnisher can be a little pricey, so I decided to make my own for sharpening card scrapers.
Step 1: The Steel
The most important part of the burnisher is the steel. You want something very hard. W1 or O1 tooling steel rod will work, but you will have to harden it yourself. I decided to buy a Hock burnisher steel rod without a handle. It is tooling steel with a hardness of Rc 64 on the Rockwell scale.
Step 2: The Wood
Find some wood with interesting grain and color.
Step 3: Cut the Wood
Cut the wood to length and width. I decided on two hews of wood and sandwiched them for effect.
Step 4: Glue
Glue the wood together. Notice the change in grain color.
Step 5: Drill
Drill a hole into the center of the wood to accommodate the tooling steel.
Step 6: Shape the Wood
Mount the wood on a wood lathe and shape it to fit your hand.
Step 7: Sand
Sand the wood to a smooth finish.
Step 8: Flange
Drill a hole in a copper pipe cap to use as the flange. I placed a bit on the drill press and aligned it with the handle hole. Then I put on the cap on the handle and drilled. This way the hole in the cap is perfectly aligned with the hole in the handle.
Step 9: Polish
Polish the flange with jeweler’s rouge or other compound on a buffing wheel.
Step 10: Touch Up
Touch up the handle with files and sand paper.
Step 11: Oil
Apply a wood finish. I chose Danish Oil.
Step 12: Epoxy
Epoxy the steel into the handle and the flange in place.
Step 13: Wax
Apply a coat of Briwax and buff.
Step 14: Burnish
Put the tool to use.