Intro: Leather Belt With a Forged Buckle.
I had been searching for a belt I liked at the store but everything that I could find was cheap and terrible looking. So I had a great idea, why not build my own! I am an amateur blacksmith and leatherworker so if I did it you can to!
Step 1: Supplies
The supplies you need are.
A. 1095 steel for the buckle, (any steel will do that is just what I used).
B. 3/8 brass rod for the buckle tongue.
C. Basic blacksmithing tools including a forge and an anvil.
D. 7-8 oz. leather for the belt and assorted leather tools.
E. Leather dye and sealer the dye I used was called midnight black by Tandy Leather.
Step 2: Forging the Buckle
I started with a piece of 6 inch bar stock and hammered it out to 9 inches. I wanted a 1 1/2 inch wide belt so I bent it accordingly you can make it a lot smaller or larger just measure it out see where the bends need to be. Make sure it is very hot for this step so it will not crack. Take it slow, sometimes it will take more then one heat to finish a bend. Next you are ready to do the twists. Put the buckle in a vice and grasp the top with vice grips like I have pictured. I did a 360 degree twist because I think that looks really nice. The tongue is actually very easy to forge just heat it to a dull red and it will bend right where you want it. Now your forging is complete so clean it up with a wire wheel and polish the tongue with some fine sandpaper.
Step 3: Leather
This step is divided into two parts, the first part will be on how to cut out the leather. The final part will cover the dyeing and sealing process and also the assembly.
A. I used 7-8 ounce leather veg tanned sides but if you don't want to buy a whole side you can buy belt blanks at Tandy Leather. First, if you are using a leather side make sure you cut it out straight, the last thing you want is a wiggly cut. Make sure you cut it long enough, too long is better than not long enough! Next, measure about four inches from the end and cut the groove for the tongue to rotate in. Now, grab an old belt and measure from the end of the buckle to your favorite hole, this should be your middle belt hole. To make the holes I used a hole punch and elongated them with a sharp razor blade. The next step is to try it on and trim it to the desired length. Next cut a 1/2 inch wide strip of leather, this will be your belt loop. I used a skiver to plane down the thickness of the belt loop where it joins underneath the actual belt part.
B. Now your heartbeat is rising; you are almost done! The first step is to give it a good coat of your favorite dye. Wait 20 to 30 minutes and put on 2 coats of sealer. Now you are ready to assemble it! I used rivets but you can stitch it if you want. Put two rivets behind the buckle and two more in the belt loop then put two more behind the loop. Now try it on and wear it with pride! Don't forget to hit the I made it button if you made one!