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Alright, I have a project that I'm working on and would like some insight. My Aunt is sewing me up some civil war style pants and I thought it would be cool to make up some custom steel buttons for them. Has anybody done this before, and what would be a good way to do it?

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I made a button a few weeks ago for a shooting bag! The way I found to do it was to take a hole saw the size i needed WITHOUT the pilot bit. Clamp the steel down to a drill press table and drill your plugs. Next file the edges nice and clean. Find a carrage bolt with a big enough head that you can pein the plug on to to get the dome shape you want. Then solder a cotter key on the back so you can sew it to your pants!

Good luck


Trimmer

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You could also take the steel disk, and take a punch about 1/4 or 1/2 inch less in diameter, and sink the center in, so you get that nice raised rim that some buttons have, then dress the edges and drill your holes. Cool project!

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hey, thanks for the ideas so far they are great i'm going to have to head out to the shop and play around with the idea until I get what I want.
- Thanks again - Travis

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A little easier and possibly safer than cutting plugs with a hole saw might be to start with a length of round rod of the appropriate diameter. Drill two holes in the end of the rod, with the rod mounted safely in a drill-press vise, for the button holes. Then cut off some slices of the rod to create your buttons. Place the buttons, one at a time, in your bowl swage or on top of a piece of lumber and smack with a ballpean hammer to dome the buttons, finish sand the edges and add any desired decorations.

Personally, I prefer mother-of-pearl buttons on my pants because they don't tend to heat up when standing near a fire, especially in the area of the pant's fly. :D

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Perhaps you should look at how they were made in the civil war (US Civil war I presume and not the Spanish, English, etc) That way if you ever wanted to use them in a Civil War era demo they would be spot on!

Now just for buttons in general mosaic damascus with your initials would be a nice touch---though pay attention to what UnicornForge has written. I have been greatly amused by folks wearing Levi 501's coming out of the cold and standing too close to the wood stove...

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Here are some pics of what I came up with. Some were done with a hole saw and some were done by cutting thin slices from the end of a bar. I peened around the edges and put in some chisel marks through the center to decorate them a bit then slightly dished them. Thanks again for the Ideas
- Travis

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15618.attach

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Which of the two methods worked better or faster for you?

Here are some pics of what I came up with. Some were done with a hole saw and some were done by cutting thin slices from the end of a bar.....- Travis

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The hole saw was not too bad of a method but I liked slicing the end of the bar personally. If you have a metalworking bandsaw or a tool like it i'm sure it would be the much faster way.

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