Well according to the dictionary, "burnish" is a verb for (1) making shiny or lustrous especially by rubbing. (2) to rub (a material) with a tool for compacting or smoothing or for turning an edge.
When burnishing, a rubbing force applied by the leather craftsman creates a heat and friction that ultimately results in a smooth finish that develops as the natural oils of the leather are pulled to the surface. This force mentioned is accomplished through good old fashion sweat labor. And let us tell you, it is a workout. But the end result is worth every bit of effort. If done on a full grain leather, the natural features of the leather become prevalent (especially the grains). And in quality leathers, the patina visibly displays the stories that hide has to tell. A finish, like not other. A finish that can't be manufactured, but instead is a true reflection of the struggles that hide endured along with the natural aging process and hence its natural beauty. Once applied to a finished product, that hide becomes ready to tell your story. Our leather products are designed to be handed down-- a generational gift rich with stories waiting to be told.
The tools of the trade-- That's it! We use Tokonole during the rubbing process which is a natural water-based, non-toxic treatment that helps preserve the natural color of the leather, while preventing further discoloration. We simply spread the solution on the unfinished side of the hide and begin rubbing.
A burnished side compared to the front side.
Natural finish vs. burnished finish.
The process of assembly.
Check out our All-Leather Pocket Portfolios with burnishing HERE.