Friday, March 30, 2012

Belt Buckle

I am not able to case either copper or bronze at this time, yet I wanted to make my own belt and belt buckle.  I've fashioned a belt buckle which I think will pass for period, for now at least.

I took three strands of copper wire normally used for running electricity in a modern home.  I stripped the insulation off the wire and then twisted three strands of it together.

After the wire was sufficiently twisted to my liking, I hammered it lightly to round out the wire slightly.  While I like the twisted look, I wanted the wire to be smooth enough to work it as if it were a single copper rod.

I then bent the twisted wire to form what you see below.  After the twisting and hammering the wire was becoming nicely work hardened.  I originally wasn't sure if the wire would be thick enough to make a buckle out of.  At this point I can tell that the work hardened copper will do nicely.

I again hammered the wire.  This time I only did the end of the "U" shape so that it would be slightly flattened.

After I was satisfied with the look of the end of the buckle I used a pair of jewelry pliers to shape the rest of the buckle into a four sided shape.  Each of the ends had to be trimmed slightly and shaped to fit into a nice rectangle.

Last summer while shopping at local garage sales, I came across a nice little copper woven basket.  The basket was made of copper flashing with a brass edge.  I purchased the metal basket and then quickly disassembled it when I got home.  I used some of the copper flashing to complete the buckle.

Here you see a section of the copper which I cut to shape and then rolled around the back of the buckle.  I chose to do this to add stability on the side which would be covered with leather.  This way I wouldn't have to solder the buckle together.  I simply wrapped the copper sheet around the bar of the buckle and kept hammering it lightly until it fit snug and was sufficiently rounded.

While I used three strands of copper wire to make the buckle, I chose to use only two strands for the prong of the buckle.  I took one piece of wire and bent it into a V and then twisted it over and over until the V closed up.  I then hammered it as I did with the three stranded section of the buckle.  Here you can see the size of the prong as it relates to the rest of the frame and bar of the buckle.

After the prong was sufficiently shaped I cut it to length and then wrapped it around the bar of the buckle to complete the overall buckle.  I'm not sure I am happy with the length of the prong.  As this was only my first attempt at making a buckle of this sort I'm rather pleased.  I anticipate making others like this for the shoes which I'll be starting this week.  Next time I may make the prong just a bit shorter though.

Here is the strip of leather I cut to use for the belt.

I used a hole punch to make two holes about 1/2 apart and sliced the piece out between them to make the slit for the prong to come through.

Here is a normal copper rivet which I purchased from Tandy Leather.  I took a very small metal file and filed eight lines in it and tried to shape the rivet into a flower type design.

I used a copper washer on the back of the belt and then peened the rivet closed.

Here it the top of the decorative rivet.

And... here is the finished buckle with the two rivets added.  I haven't decided if there will be any other embellishments on the belt.  At least the belt is functional now and can be used for the event!