This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
The burnishing of cutlery is executed by hand or vice burnishers; they are all made of fine steel, hardened, and well polished. The first kind have nothing particular in their construction; but vice burnishers are formed and mounted in a very different manner. On a long piece of wood, placed horizontally in the vice, is fixed another piece, as long, but bent in the form of a bow, the concavity of which is turned downwards. These two pieces are united at one of their extremities by a pin and a hook, which allows the upper piece to move freely around this point as a centre. The burnisher is fixed in the middle of this bent piece, and it is made more or less projecting, by the greater or lesser length which is given to its base. The movable piece of wood, at the extremity opposite to the hook, is furnished with a handle, which serves the workman as a lever. This position allows the burnisher to rest with greater force against the article to be burnished, which is placed on the fixed piece of wood.
The burnisher has either the form of the face of a round-headed hammer, well polished to burnish those pieces which are plain or convex; or the form of two cones opposed at their summits, with their bases rounded, to burnish those pieces which are concave or ring-shaped.