The need for finished edges on a strap
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  1. #1
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    The need for finished edges on a strap

    So I like the look of distressed leather bands, and it is good that I do since most of my bands end up distressed by the time I complete them. However i am in awe of so many of the straps I see here made by other forum members who have smooth polished edges. I have tried both the water and the wax treatment before attempting to buff the edge. Sigh... it is improved but not up to the rest of you in your output. Do I need to make a high bees wax content edge treatment? Keep in mind I live in CA so most good dies for leather are not allowed (however with the new President who knows?). We may even be able to go back to using KCN (Potasium Cyanide) for watch cleaning and dumping it down the drain!
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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap


    Have you tried something like this?

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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    What type of leather are you using? Some leathers are easier than others.
    I can get a fairly good burnish with just water on Veg Tan leather but the addition of Tragacanth gum solution helps.


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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    I've used snow sral with it

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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    Quote Originally Posted by grindaur View Post
    So I like the look of distressed leather bands, and it is good that I do since most of my bands end up distressed by the time I complete them. However i am in awe of so many of the straps I see here made by other forum members who have smooth polished edges. I have tried both the water and the wax treatment before attempting to buff the edge. Sigh... it is improved but not up to the rest of you in your output. Do I need to make a high bees wax content edge treatment? Keep in mind I live in CA so most good dies for leather are not allowed (however with the new President who knows?). We may even be able to go back to using KCN (Potasium Cyanide) for watch cleaning and dumping it down the drain!
    I have the exact same problem. My edges are rough as hell.

    I use sandpaper tho to take some of the edge off but it's nowhere near what the other strap pros achieve with that nice rounded or smooth sheen.



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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    Since I am still in learning mode and I am only doing straps for myself, I buy my leather in the 5 pound remnants boxes that Tandy has. I am told that the leather I prefer to work with is oil tanned. I tried some Veg tanned and it was too spongy (this was when I was looking for soft leather) and the dies that I tried with it were very uninspiring. Love the look of the oil tanned leather, the remnants appear to be primarily the edges of the hide (clamp marks and occasional brand). I made a buffer like Erick shows, in fact I even tried turning that with the lathe for power burnishing. The results appear better but there are still holidays in the smoothed edge, not the painted like surface I have on the few pro bands I have accumulated from my prior watch purchases.

  7. #7
    Member SHANE 1000's Avatar
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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    Personally for me it all boils down to the quality of the initial cut, the cleaner the cut the cleaner the edge (perfect cut = less work too) rougher cut leaves more work in the end and the edge quality is also depending on the leather used in the first place, for slightly firmer hides you could try Gum Tragacanth. Softer hides are trickier because what some do is use to much pressure on their edges when burnishing them with Plastic or wood thinking it'll curve off the edge quicker and that makes the leather bunch and deform, maybe not so noticeable to the naked eye but it does and can happen UGLY!!.


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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    That may be my problem in that as you know I am an impatient person. Quality of the cut.... maybe I need to look again at taking a little more time with my efforts. Good ideas to ponder. The mill is setup but alas with all of my running around I have no raw stock to work on. I was sure I had a ton of brass and bronze in the workshop, my better half reminded me I got rid of that with the boat. Oh well time to go shopping.

  9. #9
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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    One little change I did which had a MAJOR improvement on cut was going from a utility knife to a rotary cutter (kinda like a mini pizza cutter). That thing's a must have.

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  10. #10
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    Re: The need for finished edges on a strap

    Chrome tanned and oil tanned leathers are fairly difficult to burnish to a high shine polish that will stay that way. Only exception I've found are the CXLs made with horsefront, those will take a shine. But I've not had good permanent results with regular soft calfskin.

    I'm not a fan of edgekote/paints as I feel they look way too plasticy and artificial in comparison with the rest of the strap.
    BUT, I've had pretty good results with a clear acrylic product (cobacoat) from Japan. Sand the edges smooth. Lightly burnish to get everything smoothed out even more and then hit with the cobacoat. Leaves a nice gloss that's transparent so the natural finish of the leather comes through.
    Just note that even with this, the results won't be as good on super absorbent soft leathers.

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