I've decided to apply seven kinds of surface effects on sample pieces of leather and put them side by side to show the difference. It's kind of like a color palette as well to be honest! So if you were ever wanting to apply some treatment to your leather, this will hopefully give you a certain idea on how it will turn out.
I've organized the treated leather surface into a color wheel and also lined it up next to each other as shown in the two pictures below. Beeswax was used on the waxed pieces, neatsfoot oil for the oiled piece and a clear sealant for the sealed piece. Burnished just means lightly moistening the leather and quickly rubbing it with a canvas cloth that generates heat and develops the color.
I've added in a natural piece to show the differences. You can also click on the image for a higher resolution.
In the picture below, i've placed the leather palette against the sun to show the various level of sheen each surface treatment created. The sanded piece is on the most left with oiled being the most right. They are still in the same order as the two pictures above. I've moved the natural piece to the bottom to again show the differences.
The sanded piece actually turned out lighter because the nap is raised thus giving the appearance of being lighter. It also has a suede, buff feel. The pieces with the best shine and feel in my opinion, would probably be the three waxed pieces. It smoothens the leather and gives out a nice soft sheen. However, the sealed piece has the most but artificial shine. It also gives a more plasticky feel and does not really allow the leather to breathe. However, sealing gives the water and stain protection that the other treatment doesn't. The oiled piece did not really shine but instead gives a more gripped feel to it. And it also darkens the leather piece the most. The oiled waxed piece has a very light sheen due to the wax applied to it.
I've put back the natural piece on the most left for the picture below.
I personally like the outcome of the burnished waxed piece as it gives a very natural and soft glow to the leather. The color presented also turned out pretty nicely. It is the kind of tan that i usually look for in leather bags and accessories.
I enjoyed creating the palette and hope it gives you a better idea on how leather works!