Today we will be fixing a couple buckles I have that are broken off at the prong and can't be worn. The first is my Harley buckle that my dad gave me when I was a kid, it is made of pewter by the Great American Buckle Company. The other is my constitution commemorative buckle from the 200th anniversary of the constitution. This one is broken at the prong and is made of pot metal, also by the Great American Buckle Company.
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Step 1: The Project
A lot of collector buckles are made from pot metal because it is cheaper than using quality metals, pewter is also very common in these types of buckles. Two of my favorite buckles here had broken prongs and couldn't be used anymore. I searched for options to fix them and didn't find much. They cannot be brazed or soldered with normal brazing rod or solder. There is a couple products that will work but they are to expensive for me to spend on a relatively inexpensive belt buckle. So I've got a way to fix them that while it doesn't look pretty, will hold on the metal and make the buckle useable again. Besides we don't look at the back of the buckle anyway.
Step 2: Materials and Tools
- The broken buckle
- Scrap wood
- 6D finishing nail
- Bastard file
- Dremel with grinding bit
- Cold chisel
- Vise Grip or two
- 9/64" drill bit
- Paintbrush or stick
Step 3: File Down the Buckle
So this step is really easy because this metal is so soft, just take the file and make sure there is a nice flat smooth spot where the prong used to be. I used the file to do all of this, and just a little bit with the dremel to get into the tight spots. It doesn't have to be anything perfect, just go off of the picture.
Step 4: Make the New Prong
So again a relatively easy task that doesn't require much finesse or skill. Take the nail and put it in the vise grips at the head, then with the pliers bend it into a hook shape. Then cut it to length with the hammer and cold chisel. Or a end nippers works better and easier, but I was to unambitious to go the garage and get them. Now that the nail is cut to length bend the hook into a better shape if needed. just look at another buckle if you have one and go off that. I put a pic of a good brass buckle that I have for an idea on the approximate shape of the prong. At the end you'll probably notice that my new prong doesn't look at all like the shape of the one on my other buckle, but it does the trick.
Step 5: Drill the Hole for the New Prong
So take the drill bit and chuck it up in the drill, I found that for the 6 penny nail a 9/64" is a good fit. You will have to work it into the hole a little, but that keeps it nice and tight and forces the glue to bond tightly to the nail. I didn't measure for depth, I just eyeballed it. The important thing is that you don't drill to far and put a whole in the front of the buckle. So go slow and have patience in all things.
Step 6: Mix Up the Smell Good
So now it's time to breath deep and make the glue. Squirt equal amounts of the clear and the yellow goop onto your scrap wood or what have you. Then take the paint brush handle and mix up to a cloudy type mixture.
Step 7: Assembly
So now take the paintbrush and fill the hole with epoxy. Then smear the nail in the epoxy and stick it in the hole of the buckle. Then use the brush to smear a mound around the base of the nail. So that it will have a solid foundation when the epoxy dries. This mound is probably unnecessary, but it doesn't hurt and gives it a lot of support.
Step 8: Wait
So now that it is all assembled, all there is to do is wait. It may say it is five minute epoxy, but I like to give it a good 24 hours to make sure that all the epoxy is dry and fully cured. Remember patience in all things, after all if your like me this has been broken for many years anyway.
Step 9: Done
So now that it is all dried the buckle is not quite as good as new looks wise, but I guarantee that it will be strong and hold for many years to come. So buckle up and rock on.