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Just got home from Tandy's where I dumped a good portion of my "stash" meant for knife stuff.  As I was putting on my helmet and jacket, the lady asked if I had any Gum Tragacanth for treating the edges of my sheaths before burnishing.  I'm Mr. Clueless as to all the stuff I'm going to need for this "detour" of the knifemaking journey................so I told her to toss it in the sack.  On the ride home I got to thinking................hurts when I do that :blink:..............and realized I'd never heard one single one of you mention anything about this when you were showing the process in videos or talking on the forum.  So is this something I really need, or did I get conned into spending another six bucks?

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38 minutes ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Gum Tragacanth

I have never used it, unless it happens to be an ingredient in either Edge Cote or Resolene. Most gums and gum products are thickeners or bonding agents of some sort or another. Judging from this video (or what I watched of it) it's used to reduce the fuzzies on the edge and smooth out the flesh side. In this application, I think it's really acting as a glue to hold that stuff down and produce a smoother surface. 

 

39 minutes ago, Chris Christenberry said:

did I get conned into spending another six bucks?

Good news, you didn't get conned. You got baited, and you took the bait. There's a difference, however minor that may be. :wacko:

 

Edge treatments are plentiful and varied as you can get. Some put them on before burnishing, others do it after, and still others do both. I've tried various products over the years, including the two I mentioned above, and for now I just use a darker dye on the edge, rub a little paste wax in, and burnish. Repeat as needed. 

Give it a try and see if you like the results.

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If I need a shiny burnished edge, I use the tragacanth.  It looks much nicer than dry burnishing.  It can be messy if you get it on the hair side, though, only use it on the flesh side and cut edges.  And don't let it freeze.  When it thaws you have a bottle of gummy bear guts.  

With a polished bone or antler slicker, especially with a notch filed to fit the thickness of your edge, it produces really nice results.  It's how they get the edges of leather belts to look so smooth and shiny.  It's more of a pro leatherworker thing, though, and I am about as far from a pro leatherworker as I am from a pro electrician, i.e. I have some of the tools, and am as likely to get hurt using them doing either thing.  :rolleyes:

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Okay guys, thanks.  I'd never heard of it before.  I'll give it a try when I get to that point.  Right now I'm making a wooden "rack" to hold all my tools and things.  I'm the world's worst at keeping things (my tools especially) organized.  So I always like to have a place for each of my tools so that that at least when I clean things up, I've a place for them. 


The owner of our local shoe repair loves knives and has given me space in his glass case to display any knives I'd like to sell.  No commission. (can't beat that!!!)  He has told me I can try out any of the dye type and colors he has so I don't have to run out and buy something I might not use.  Has offered the same with edge dressings and such.  I prefer alcohol dyes with my woodworking, so tend to lean that direction with the leather dyes.  Is that the right direction to go?

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Leather sewing machine. Yeah. I had a Tippman Aerostitch. The one that's powered by compressed air. Vicious thing that. I put the needled right through the fingernail of my left index finger and out the pad.. That really hurt.

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OUCH!!!  I watched a professional monogram artist sew her thumb into a sweatshirt one time.  There was so much blood, you'd have thought a Pig had been stuck with one of Garry's Pig killers. :o

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Burnishing gum does work well. On thicker edges it’s great. On thinner edges you have to be extra careful not to get it on the grain. One thing I have found is that bag-kote works really well on thinner edges. I put bag-kote on most of my projects. Put the bag-kote on last and before it dries completely, burnish your edge. Neatsfoot  oil is something else you need if you haven’t gotten it already. Good luck! Leather work can be just as addictive as knife making. 

 

Jon

 

 

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I usually mention burnishing the edges of the sheath with Gum Tragacanth when a noob asks how to make a sheath.  I feel that it gives a more finished look to the sheath than to have the raw cut edges showing.  I just need to find my boars tooth burnisher.  I think that the cats might have hid it on me.

 

Doug

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I simply damp the edge with water and have an inch  burnishing rod in the drill press with the apropriate grooves in to for the  thickness of the sheaths I do.

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So. I have a bag of xanthan gum powder left over from a failed experiment. I mixed a 1/4 teaspoon into a tablespoon of water until it mostly dissolved. I then applied it to the edges and flesh side of a sheath I was working on. I do like the result. Very smooth surface. The edges burnished well.

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