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Bruce Johnson 
Leather Tools LLC

Bouncers, Smashers. Slickers, and Burnishers

This page is a listing of the various wooden tools used for working leather. There are bouncers(aka smashers) used in saddle building, slickers for smoothing leather, and edge burnishers. I am not an expert on identifying wood by the grain, and am not making any speculations on the type of wood in any of these. There are no checks or cracks in them. Some of these are marked by CS Osborne with the Newark, NJ marking so that makes them over 100 years old. Some were bought and some were shop made. These have mostly been accumulated from old estate sets, and so this page is a listing of some pretty historic wood.

Sections below include -

  • Bouncers/Smashers
  • Slickers/Smoothers
  • Edge Slickers/Burnishers

Please click on the small thumbnail pictures to open them up in a larger size and read the description.



These bouncer/smashers have nice smooth bottoms, solid handles, and no cracks. They are used primarily to mold and compress leather in the saddle making trade. 

Leather Stropping and Slicking Disc - This is an accessory I've made up for personal use but never really "produced them" until recently. These are 4 inch stacked vegtan leather discs glued together and mounted on an arbor for chucking into a benchtop drill press. You can apply your compound of choice to the ridges - black/green/white and polish and strop the concave edges on your round back edge tools. Recently a few people have let me know they use them to burnish edges on leather projects by charging the grooves with waxes or edge slicking mixtures of choice. You don't want to interchange functions with a single one however. Use one for edges and a separate for burnishing. I am going to try to keep these made up and in stock. 


Slickers are used to go over the leather to smooth grain prior to tooling. They can also be used to compress the leather, especially after glueing two layers together. In addition they can be used to slick off smooth leather after dresssings have been applied - especially good for putting a nice feel on latigo leather for straps and saddle strings.

Edge Slickers and Burnishers

You might find some modern maker edge slickers but primarily these are some pretty historic old pieces used by old time makers to slick the edges of their leatherwork. There is a section of A few that are maker marked by CS Osborne with the Newark NJ address, that makes them over 100 years old. The others are not maker marked but probably the same era and ready to go another hundred years too. Some have owners marks but most do not.