Finishing Strategies in Leatherwork

Finishing is concerned with the improvement of the hand and appearance of a product so as to boost its common outlook and maximize its marketability potentials. It’s essential that Leatherwork articles are finished in any of the accepted finishing methods to heighten their design and aesthetic qualities. There are various appropriate techniques through which leather products may be finished. Some of these methods are burnishing, waxing, polishing, spraying, texturing, patenting. using conditioners, soaps, and cleaners.

1. Burnishing

This is a decorative process in which a smooth surface/instrument is rubbed over the surface of the leather to produce a sheen. The leather is positioned on a hard surface. Then a blunt, smooth device, for example, Stone, bottle, bulb, spoon, marble or some smooth, hard object is used to rub over the surface of the leather on the grain side to produce a shiny effect. This is completed by starting from a degree and working gradually to all parts of the leather till a uniform sheen is produced. By this process, the tough surface of the leather and any wrinkles are smoothed or polished. This is done by rigorously rubbing the surface of leather with a device corresponding to a bone folder, plastic or wooden burnishing wheel, stone, bottle, metal spoon etc. to depart a fine shiny, glossy or smooth appearance.

2. Waxing

This finishing approach entails the application of wax to improve the surface quality, hardness, and water resistant ability of the leather item. The application of the wax may be done by way of brush or foam to offer a glossy impact to the leather product.

3. Polishing

This finishing approach also goals at improving the surface quality of leather products. Polish in the form of abrasives with various colors and polishing liquors like lacquer or varnish are utilized with either hard bristle brushes or foam to improve the surface quality of leather items. Generally wax is used to reinforce the surface quality of the leather.

4. Spraying

This is the application of polishing liquors like varnish or lacquer on leather items by means of spray weapons or diffusers that spill the polishing agents in fine bits or dots on the leather item to improve its surface quality. Spraying avoids the brush strokes that generally mar the perfect application of the polishing liquors.

5. Texturing

This is achieved by means of dyes, acrylics, and other coloring agents by incising, stamping, printing, spraying etc. These are utilized in creating patterns or textures on the grain side of the leather for ornamental purposes.

6. Patenting

This is the application of lacquer or varnishes in layers on the leather to present the surface a waterproof impact and make the surface very shiny.

7. Utilizing Conditioners

Leather conditioners soften and nourish the leather while providing a protective coating over the leather. This assists the leather to be able to resist scuffing and coloration fade. It offers the surface luster to leather after polishing. Examples and conditioners, their features and application have been discussed below.

i. Saddler’s wax- It nourishes, cleans and polishes leather. It’s used mostly on saddles, boots, and handbags. It may be applied with the fingers, a piece of fabric, a brush or a damp sponge.

ii. Melo wax- It’s used for cleaning, polishing and softening smooth grained leather. It can be applied with a cloth or the fingers, allowed to dry after which polished with a soft cloth.

iii. Kiwi leather conditioner- It cleans, mellows, softens and preserves smooth grained leather. It may be utilized with a material or the fingers, allowed to dry after which polished gently.

iv. Shoe Cream- It nourishes, cleans and softens leather. It is used on belts, handbags, billfolds, watch bands, bracelets, hair ornaments, etc. It may be applied with the fingers, a piece of material, a brush or a damp sponge.

v. Lexol- It makes the leather supple and provides a durable preservative finish. It is utilized in thin coats by way of sponge, a bit of fabric or the fingers. It is allowed to soak in for about ten minutes earlier than it is applied.

vi. Vaseline petroleum jelly- It softens the leather, brings back its color and provide a protective coating to help the leather resist scuffing. It’s applied with the fingers. It is allowed to dry a bit for 15-20 minutes and then wiped off with a soft cloth. It is principally used on belts and handbags.

8. Using Soaps and Cleaners

Soaps and cleaners are also excellent finishes that are used to clean and protect the surface of leather. It is applied with a wet sponge or brush. After its application, it is wiped with a dry fabric after which polished to a soft luster. Examples include Kiwi soaps, Belvoir glycerine soaps, Belmont soaps, Propert soaps, Castile soaps and Blue Ribbon soaps.

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