That offending, fuzzy edge is clearly visible on this strip of leather.
The next picture shows the same strap with most of the fuzzies trimmed off of it. I did this by holding my shears at an angle to the leather, and cutting as close as possible to the edge without actually cutting into it. This has already improved the edge's appearance significantly.
The next step is to smooth the edge with gum tragacanth. Although you may have never heard of it, gum tragacanth is the secret weapon for taming leather fuzzies.
And what exactly is gum tragacanth? Here is part of Wikipedia's definition:
Gum tragacanth is a viscous, odorless, tasteless, water-soluble mixture of polysaccharides obtained from sap which is drained from the root of the plant and dried. The gum seeps from the plant in twisted ribbons or flakes which can be powdered. When added to water, tragacanth absorbs water and becomes a gel which can be stirred into a paste. The gum is used used in veg-tanned leatherworking as an edge slicking and burnishing compound and is occasionally used as a stiffener in textiles.
You can buy gum tragacanth at either Tandy or the Leather Factory. A small bottle costs less than $5 and will last a long time. Because I make such a large volume of tack, I buy nearly everything in bulk and refill my small bottles as necessary.
I apply the gum tragacanth by dipping my finger into the bottle and then rubbing it along the edge. In mere seconds, the edge looks smooth and polished. Although you could call it good now, I prefer dark edges on my tack. For years I used paint markers on the edges because that was what Carol Williams recommended in her saddle kit. That didn't work particularly well for me, though, so I started looking for something better. This is what I use now.Edge Kote is another inexpensive product you can buy at Tandy or the Leather Factory. It is made specifically for darkening leather edges and comes in both black and brown. I like it because it's easy to apply and clean up and will not bleed into the leather.
Before I treat the edges, I seal the leather with either Satin Shene or Super Shene. I allow that to dry completely, then I carefully dip a Q-tip into the Edge Kote. I do not want a lot of Edge Kote on the Q-tip because that's how things get messy. I run the Q-tip along the edge of the leather until I get my nice, dark edge.Despite my best efforts, sometimes I paint more than just the edge with the Edge Kote. I keep a paper towel on hand for just that reason. I've found that it cleans up easily as long as you don't wait too long.
Here's a quick picture showing the original fuzzy strap, a strap that's been trimmed and treated with gum tragacanth and a finished, sealed strap with dark edges. Each step has darkened the leather a bit, but I don't use products sparingly. If I wanted to preserve the original ultra-light leather color, I would have been a lot less heavy handed with both the gum tragacanth and the sealer.Hope this is helpful to someone, and now that you know how easy it is, there's really no excuse for leaving your edges fuzzy!