The Burnisher Meets Leather: Best Leather Burnishers

When leather is cut out, the internal fibers will stick out, which does not look good. So to keep your leather free from showing off threads, do the burnishing operation. Leather burnishing is an essential step in leatherworking because it makes edges become clean, slick, and smooth and adds durability to your finished leather projects in the way of keeping the fibers. The burnishing procedure is done by rubbing leather burnisher tools that are widely available in the market. 

There are many leather burnishers to help you achieve smooth edges on your leather project. For this reason, it is crucial to figure out the best leather burnisher with the help of this article. In this article, I sorted out the best burnisher that you want to add to your workbench. This is your best weapon to achieve a polished edge.

Burnishing and The Sophistication It Adds

Burnishing is not just a simple rubbing of the leather edge to produce a slicked finish. It requires preparation before the actual burnishing. This includes the pre-burnishing procedure such as getting ready with the essential tools involved to successfully burnished leather edges, sanding, coating, the actual burnishing, and buffing. 

What and Why Do Burnishing

Burnishing is the process of friction or moving the burnisher back and forth so that heat is created. When heat is generated and transferred, it can seal and smoothen leather’s fibrous edges. This is also referred to as edge finishing, which involves creating a sealed smooth edge along your exposed seams by completing a few pretty simple steps, consisting mainly of truing up edges, using various burnishing methods, applying wax, and buffing.

There are four edge finishing steps, namely sanding, coating, burnishing, and buffing. In doing sanding once you’ve finished saddle stitching, you want to make sure the edges you’ve just sewn together are as straight and even possible. To even out your edges, start with some varying grits of sandpaper, starting with the course and working your way to fine grit. Sand your edges until they’re smooth and even.

If one edge is hanging out over the other edge, you’re going to have a tough time getting a nice finish in the following steps. Make sure you complete the sanding step with a lot of care so that you don’t have to repeat it later.

For coating, once your edges are smooth and even, take your block of beeswax and rub it back and forth all along the edges until they’re coated well. Some people use water or tragacanth gum, but I find that beeswax works very well and gives a nice coat to your work.

Burnishing is the process of polishing something by rubbing.  A lot of different methods and tools exist for burnishing the edges of your leather piece. Some people make a burnishing attachment for their power drill. I’ve also seen some people use a deer antler as a burnisher.

The last part of finishing is a series of buffing steps. Once it is sufficiently burnished the edges, buff them using a cloth or rag. This is a fun and enjoyable part of burnishing.

Types of Burnishing 

Hand-held burnishers are valuable tools for producing clean, polished edges on leather. They do work, but they need a lot of arm motion to generate heat through friction over the edge. At the same time, a leather burnishing machine is a motorized burnisher that comes in handy when operating on a large leather piece or for long periods.

When to Use Leather Burnishing Tools

Leather edges require burnishing simply because they ensure that boundaries are sealed and ensures the longevity of leather. You should use leather burnishing tools when polishing leather edges and cleaning the loose fibers of the leather by generating heat through friction. You can also do burnishing to ensure a durable leather project and before doing other leather processing such as engraving or dyeing.

Wood Burnisher For The Most Common Choice

Wood leather burnishers are the most common, as the natural wood material contrasts nicely with genuine leather. This burnisher is available in various sizes, styles, and designs.

A Quick View: Its Features

It is made up of purely wood in its entire body, and it is nice because it does not heat up quickly.

The wood leaves a good finish on the leather. You can easily maneuver a wood burnisher because it is lightweight and can be held easily. The most commonly used wood for a burnisher is oak, maple, and rosewood.

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros) 

A wood burnisher is an all-purpose burnishing tool that comes with flat and rounded groves. It has six groves with different sizes for varying leather thickness- 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, and 10mm. The groves sizes are the “most popular sizes for the majority of the leather crafter”. It has a size of 7 ½ inches long that provides a greater surface area when used. 

It is maneuverable and stable during the burnishing process. The wood doesn’t get too hot because of its natural properties. The natural wood finish’s composition does an excellent job of leaving a smooth finish on the leather edges. 

The Downsides (Cons)

If you are ordering something online such as a wood burnisher, it might reach you in a broken state. Most wood burners also require good storage because it’s made of wood. You might replace your wood burnisher after signs of wear are present that are earlier than other burnishers.

Best Brands To Choose From

The best-recommended brand for a wood burnisher is Just Wood & Nigel Armitage Hand Slicker. It is a handy tool, ideal for the leather craftsmen’s leather burnisher. This brand is a high-quality leather tool where prices start at $16 to $18, which may vary. You can buy this both from online and physical stores.

Brass Burnisher For Dealing With Heat

Another leather burnishing tool is the brass burnisher. It is best for heat burnishing your edges. This smoothens the edges quickly with a gentle force.

A Quick View: Its Features

This strong leather edge slicker is made of metal- from the handle to the burnishing part. This is used in leather burnishing, especially the DIY crafter. You can use this, especially when dealing with heat burnishing along with heating irons. 

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros) 

It is a very strong burnisher that ensures no defects once purchased. It is made of high-quality brass material, making it sturdy and durable when in use. It is perfect for burnishing leather arc-shaped edges or flat edges. Aside from being a hand-held tool, it can be installed on an electric iron model. 

The Downsides (Cons) 

It retains more heat than a wood burnisher because it is a type of metal. It is not suitable for beginners in burnishing because of its ability to have more heat, and the leather edges may burn. Also heavier than the other burnisher like the wood or plastic ones.

Best Brands To Choose From

There are many recommended burnishers, but this option is generic and does well in brass burnishing (Leather Burnisher/Slicker Process, manufactured by Walfront). This tool is a “pure bass soldering iron tip for the hot leather process.”Many You can get this for $10.39 from online stores, excluding the delivery fee. 

As the name implies, this is a burnisher made of glass. This type of slicker is ideal for leather carving, making them popular to the leather crafter. Its smooth surface is simply dragged down to the grain side of the leather then a uniform surface is achieved. 

A Quick View On Its Features

A handy burnisher designed for polishing leather edges and easing creases. It is best paired with burnishing gum. You can just drag the glass across the leather since this action will compress the leather grain, resulting in better cuts and more consistent dye and finish coverage. Bookbinders use it to help shape and crease their leather.

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros)

Glass Burnishers has a very smooth surface. It would not retain heat which means your leather edges are not prone to burns, so unwanted burn marks on your leather are prevented. This tool compresses the grain side of the leather so that the crafter can make better cuts.

The Downsides (Cons) 

So far, this tool has provided satisfaction to its customers. But, there are disadvantages of other glass burnishers, such as the quality consistency of the tools. Users sometimes complain of edges that are not round but irregular and are not straight. The radius is incomplete, leaving a hard line. Others find the glass burnisher tool a “need-some-work” because “the corners will gouge and it has to be held too close to vertical to keep the edge from dragging.”

Not An Ordinary Wood: The Exotic Wood Burnisher

Some woods are favored because of their ability to burnish. The standard wood used for this exotic wood burnisher is the sturdy and robust Cocobolo. 

A Quick View On Its Features

Cocobolo is a sturdy and robust wood that is commonly used for this. Like another common wood burnisher, it heats gradually, which is suitable for the burnishing process. It is durable and handy.

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros)

Its four different grove sizes can easily be used to various leather in terms of thickness. Some customers tested the burnisher’s duration, and the result was 2 minutes of thoroughly leather slicked. The tool is aesthetically great with its simple dark natural color. 

The Downsides (Cons)

The tool is too small, which is not ideal for leather workers with big hand sizes. The device’s size makes it require more time and patience when burnishing to achieve the output you want.

Best Brands of the Wood Burnisher

For a quality cocobolo hand burnisher with sized grooves and a curved point, the Kyoshin Elle is a great one. It has a length of 15 cm or six inches. The tool’s width is 2.5 cm or 1 inch, composed of four groves, namely 0.3 mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm. You can buy this at a physical store for $37 to $40, excluding the delivery fee.

Box Slicker For A Block Burnisher

If you opt for a uniquely shaped burnisher, you can check out a box slicker. It fascinatingly does the burnishing job.

A Quick Review Of Its Features

Box slicker is a unique leather burnisher due to its “rectangular shaped” instead of the standard rounded piece of wood. This burnisher tool is made of solid blocks of wood, which also creates friction to the leather edge. It is referred to as the best choice for practiced leatherworkers.

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros) 

By using this, you can be able to produce a smooth surface on vegetable-tanned leather. It can be used in various leather operations with a rectangular shape that provides a more excellent gripping surface so that you can easily hold and use it. It is aesthetically designed and ergonomically crafted to suit the user’s preference.

The Downsides (Cons)

Since it takes a new shape from the typical wood burnisher, beginners might find it new to using in burnishing. If ordering online, a broken box slicker can be delivered. It is quite bulky and is not made in the same size.

Best Brand for Block Burnisher

Doldokki makes a very nice-looking box slicker. The shape provides a more grip surface for holding in hand. And overall, it just looks beautiful, like a piece of art. This Doldokki box slicker costs $33 to $35.

Machine Burnishing For Easy Polished Edges

The machine burnishing also works like the non-machine slicker tool. This tool also creates friction so that you can produce a smooth leather edge. 

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros) 

Since it is power-operated, it speeds up the leather burnishing process. It is made for a high-quality burnisher, and each tool is handcrafted to ensure durability and quality. Made from a cocobolo that ensures durability. Dremel burnishes comes in different size of edge burnisher tip including the numbers of groves so that customers can choose what to buy based upon the type of leather they’re currently working on 

The Downsides (Cons)

A leather burnishing machine will not work in the absence of electricity. It is bulky for a beginner without a big work area. 

Best Brand for Machine Burnisher

For just a little more, you can get a hand-crafted, high-quality burnisher from Pro Edge- Dremel burnishes. Dremel burnishes include the hole master tip and pointed master tip. It is a highly recommended burnisher since the specific sizes make it easier to get consistent edges across different thicknesses of leather.

The Dremel burnisher price ranges from $28.99 to $30.99 at online and physical stores. These are the hole master tip and pointed tip that varies from the grove’s number. The best quality burnisher that contains several numbers of groves known as the Armitage leather & Just Wood.

Power Burnisher Machine For Power Burnishing Style

If you want easier burnishing, then a power burnisher is for you. It will make burnishing an enjoyable experience. 

A Quick View On Power Burnishers

It is the power burnisher machine which is a motor having various burnishers attached to it. Since it is driven by electricity, the amount of manual effort required by the crafter is minimal, consisting primarily of gently holding the leather piece by the burnisher. Attachments on each side of a motor on dedicated tabletop burnishing machines may carry wood burnishers, sandpaper, plastic burnishing tips, or various burnishing finishers. 

The Best Side of The Tool (Pros)

Burnish leather with less effort coming from the leather crafter. It effectively speeds up the process of leather burning. The cobre MP burnisher has adjustable stands, a cocobolo wheel, a supply tray, a 40 grit sanding wheel, a 120 grit grinding wheel, and a warranty of 3 years on its motor. The dremels handles are maneuvering around the leather edge. 

The Downside (Cons) 

Since it is power-driven, it can quickly burn the leather edge if the leather crafter will not observe extra care. When in use, it needs an experienced leatherworker to get a burnished output ideally.

Best Brands For Power Burnishers

Dremels and other rotary tools may also be used as driven burnishers. Their handles make maneuvering them around the leather very easy. If you ever decide to use a Dremel, make sure it’s a 3000 model with variable speed. The variable rate will ensure that you’re not spinning too quickly or too slowly for the burnished edge.

Burnisher attachments for power drills are also a viable alternative. Any corded or cordless home drill can be quickly converted into a burnisher using this method. Keep in mind that all that strength has the potential to burn the leather tip! Burnishing should be done slowly and securely.

A dedicated burnisher, drill press, or Dremel attached to a fixed surface may be used. 

The trick is to use a robust and steady burnishing tool against which the leather can be pressed. 

It’s best to do this with two hands so you can pass it around the burnisher and apply different pressure as required for the best edge burnish.

The cobra MP burnisher cost $549 at

The Dremel variable speed rotary cost $69.99, which is available at the


Leather accessories such as bracelets are made according to traditional and time-proven methods by seasoned and beginner leather crafters. Make the most out of your scratch and craft your DIY leather bracelet to show your character. It will not just help you express yourself but also in leatherworking skills.

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