I've got few unfinished leather sheaths for knives and axes, but they're all unfinished because of the unfinished edges. I've read forums about finishing edges, but I've read on 20 pages about 20 techniques and all I could sum up from pages is that I shouldn't be using Edge Kote, because someone told me, that "Nothing screams amateurish like Edge Kote.".

As far as I've come with the techniques is, after I sew it together (like my latest axe sheaths in the picture #1 below), I should take off edges with an edger tool (V cut on edges, picture #2) and then use the spinning wood (picture #3), but I didn't get the desired finish as I wanted.

Has anyone had any similar problems or it's own technique, which would work better?

latest axe sheaths v Cut on edges Wood on lathe to finish edges

Top view from the axe sheath: enter image description here

Desired edge finish on leather products: enter image description here

  • Looks like you've done a lot of research on this, and your stitching is beautiful! It might help if we knew the "desired" finished edge effect you are looking for.
    – user1798
    Jul 19, 2017 at 17:12
  • Thanks @abbie, but this is still a test version. The stitching isn't as near beautiful as it will be on future projects. This sheat was made quite fast and was more than anything just a testing version of many things (new rivets, new thread and also new leather). This sheat will be discarded after I try few other things on it. Well, the edge finished as itself should be as homogenic as possible.
    – Jakey
    Jul 19, 2017 at 21:08

2 Answers 2


Looking great by the way so far!

Personally when finishing any leather edges, I find the tiniest bit of Eco-flow gum tragacanth (brand not specific but it's just the one I've used) with a quick hand burnish with a cloth gives the best finish. Yes, it's a lot harder and you need elbow grease, but I think it's worth it. I don't usually bother with edge colouring as I feel it doesn't much improve the look of the end item...

I'd also recommend spending some time burnishing the leather by hand just in general, using a cloth and light pressure but very quick movements over the edge you want to finish. Then try with different cloths, and dampen them a little, and then try with the tragacanth.

Hope this helps! Any other questions I'll try to be sure to come back and check if this helped. :D

  • Thank you for Your compliments @P.Nut. I've added a top view photo of the same sheath to the original post as #4 picture in a row. Gum Tragacanth? I've heard for it sometimes before, but I'm not quite fammiliar with it, I don't even know what it is. Is it somewhat of a natural, raw rubber? Is it okay if I buy one from Fiebings? Hmm.. If I understood you right, it means I should paint the edge with dye (Fiebings PRO Dye and NOT use the Resolene) and then just rub it with wooden burnisher then use cloth over it to "smooth" the edge and use Gum Tragacanth?
    – Jakey
    Jul 20, 2017 at 14:08
  • I'm sorry for asking stupid questions, but I'm not a native English speaker and sometimes I'm having difficulties in understanding (and also, I'm only 25 years of age and quite unexperienced in leatherwork).
    – Jakey
    Jul 20, 2017 at 14:08
  • @Jakey I see what you mean about the other photo. I wasn't familiar with it either until I was looking through a very old forum of leatherworkers and they were insisting it's perfect for the job. I got mine from amazon, so I don't suppose it matters? Just check that whatever you're using you use it in a well-ventilated room just in case! Read the labels and the warnings! You can do either, you can do both, I'm saying you should definitely spend more time experimenting. Leather is such a varying material to work with! Good luck. (Also I'm only 22 years of age and very inexperienced too!)
    – P.Nut
    Jul 21, 2017 at 9:55
  • Yes, old forums and elder members really contribute a lot to the young and new in this industry. So Gum tragacanth it is. I added another photo to original post, the last one, and I am wondering, is that the finish I will reach with Gum Tragacanth?
    – Jakey
    Jul 21, 2017 at 13:31
  • You can definitely get it nice and shiny if you buff it afterwards with a softer cloth, so I'd say yeah :)
    – P.Nut
    Jul 28, 2017 at 10:21

I am not as skilled as most people here. In trimming a Latigo leather belt, I used a soldering iron to lightly sear the edges smooth, use some very fine grit sandpaper, then burnish with a smooth tool, some water and working it a lot. It's amazing what a little water and lots of rubbing will do.

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