Introduction: I Heart Bacon Buckle. From Scratch
This belt buckle is made from copper, coat hanger wire, and 3/16” steel dowel. The heart is painted Vermillion Red which is the same paint used on a 2006 Ford F150. The “I” and the arc are painted with Elmer’s brand paint pens. The silver color on the “bacon” is flux paste. All pieces are soldered together.
Back round: I’m not a cook so an edible instructable wasn't in the cards. I can hammer a piece of metal though and a belt buckle is on the list on things I haven’t made. So I started by doing an internet search for “bacon belt buckles”. I didn’t find what I thought would be out there so I made what I had in mind.
Step 1: Make a Copper Sheet
The copper pipe I’m using is one inch in diameter and the same thickness as an American dime.
Using a pipe cutter cut a section long enough to be a piece of bacon. Lay it up against a piece of ply wood and drag a marker down the side to mark a line. Use a scroll saw to cut the pipe in half. I used a 20 teeth per inch blade on the saws lowest setting.
Hammer both halves flat.
Be careful. Wear eye protection and always work within your experience.
Step 2: Cut and Texture Your Bacon
Use marker to draw your take on what metal bacon looks like. Take it over to your scroll saw and cut it out. Lay it on a piece of carpet and use the wooden handle of a hammer to strike indentations along the copper. Smooth out the surface with a sanding pad.
Next take a piece of wire and shape it to look like fat lines for the bacon. Tape the wire onto the copper. Place the bacon back on the carpet and evenly hammer the wire into the it. As you hammer the wire will cut out from under the tape so make each strike count.
Repeat the process until you have the fat lines you want.
Step 3: Curl That Bacon
Find three similar size sockets. Use tie wire to bind two of the sockets together. Make sure you leave one socket with between them.
Take the copper strip and lay it over the bound sockets. Place the loose socket over the copper so it’s directly above and between the sockets below. Strike the upper socket to create a wave in the copper.
Repeat the process, flipping the copper accordingly, until it’s wavy along the entire length.
Step 4: Highlight the Fat
Break out the flux paste used for soldering. Apply the paste along the fat lines. Use a torch to heat the copper. The flux will leave a silvery color on it.
Use a ball point diamond bit to remove the excess flux color from the wire relief lines. You’ll sand off the excess color from the meat parts later.
Step 5: Make the I and Heart
Take a section of wire coat hanger and roll it over a circular shape. I used a 36mm socket bit. Cut off the uncurled parts and bend it in the center at 90 degrees. Use pliers and a smaller socket to roll in the lobes of a heart. See the pictures. Cut off the excess.
Cut a piece from the other section of pipe large enough for the heart. Tape the wire form onto the copper. I used aluminum tape but any heavy tape will do.
Place the assembly, wire side up, on a piece of soft wood like pine. Hammer the wire into the copper. Flip the assembly over.
Use a larger hammer to strike a smaller ball peen hammer against the copper. Hammer the copper until the heart appears inflated.
Use metal sheers to cut the heart out. Use diagonal cutting pliers to cut the copper out from between the lobes. Even out the surface of the heart with a sanding attachment.
For the “I” start by drawing it directly on the copper. Use a chisel to hammer the inner vertical lines of the letter. Cut the horizontal lines until they meet with the chisel marks. Use pliers to bend the sides of the letters back and fourth until the metal separates.
Sand and file the “I” to shape.
Step 6: Make the Buckle Parts
Use sand paper to remove any coating on a section of coat hanger. To help speed up the process I spun a piece in my drill press.
CAUTION! If you do it this make sure to hold the wire before you turn the drill on. Otherwise the section of wire will turn into a whip / weed wacker. Be careful and work within your experience.
Lay the wire against the belt you plan to use. Mark the wire in the places it will be bent. Bend the wire into a rectangle as shown.
Take more wire and make another rectangle. Make sure the second one is large enough to pass the belt through twice. Make a floating bar, as shown, so it links into the larger rectangle.
To make the loops, which will attaché the adjusting part of the buckle, cut out a strip of copper. Roll a half circle in the strip over a drill bit with locking plies. Cut away the free end with metal shears.
Step 7: Make the Arc
Roll a section of 3/16 steel dowel over a circular form. I used a small metal mixing bowl. Next mark the arc where it will be bent to fit the back side of the buckle.
Use a torch to heat the bending points. Bend the ends to 90 degrees as shown.
Hammer the wire flat. Keep in mind if you hammer the inside of the curve the arc will expand. If you hammer the outside of the wire the arc will close. As you hammer, check that the ark fits the back of the buckle.
This gets hot. Wear gloves.
Step 8: Solder
Remember, as a person wears a belt, a boy belt starts left and goes right, a girl belt start right and goes left.
I’ve heard the difference is because, historically, boys dress them selves while girls are dressed by others. The same goes with which side: buttons go on a shirt, a zipper pull is on, and hair is parted.
Center the arc against the back of the bacon. To help keep the arc at the right angle roll a piece of copper and bend a tab in it for a helping hand. Apply flux to the corresponding areas and solder away.
Solder on the anchor loop to one side of the bacon. On the other end solder the copper half circles with the adjusting loop inside them.
Flip it over and solder on the “I” and heart to the arc.
Step 9: Paint and Touch Up
Cover bacon with masking tape. Paint the upper section with auto primer to fill in low spots. After it dries, wet sand it. Next, paint the heart red, the “I” black, and the arc white.
Cut out the tape from between the fat lines. Use 100 grit sand paper to remove burn marks from the front of the bacon.
Remove the tape and clear coat the entire buckle.
Step 10: Finish Up
I’m using a cotton belt. Cut the stitching apart and remove the exiting buckle. Thread it through anchor end and sew it back together.
Now your ready to rock your “I heart Bacon” belt buckle to the next International Bacon Festival (I’m not sure if that exists).