Intro: Simple Cheap Buckles
Need to fasten your belts? Tired of tying knots? Well strap in, buckle up and grab a fistfull of nails.
(This ible will make use of dangerous amounts of heat, so if you're clumsy, stop reading)
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Needle nose pliers
Another set of pliers
Blowtorch (even those small kitchen ones will work fine)
Anvil (or a something solid like dumbbell weights)
Leather punch (I used a 4mm one, its best if its same diameter of the nail)
Wingnut, washers and bolt (same size diameter as the nail, 4mm for me)
2 large nail (mine has a diameter of 4mm)
2 washers (same inner diameter as the nail)
Step 2: Cutting the Nail
Straight forward enough, use your boltcutters to cut the head and the point from a nail.
Step 3: Shaping the Frame
Now, to get the buckle started you need to lay out a strip of leather and mark out half its width on your nail. Using a blowtorch and some pliers get this spot redhot and CAREFULLY use the other pliers to bend this part of the nails to a 90° angle.
After letting everything cool down, figure out how long you want the buckle to be, but keep in mind that you need enough nail to make a rectangle. Next, heat up the nail at this new spot and make another 90° bend going in the opposite direction from the previous bend.
The third time, after letting it cool, measure out the full width of the leather strap and repeat the process to make the 3rd bend.
Now for the last bend you need to check if the two ends will fit next to eachother, if they don't just use your pliers to bend the rest of the nail off centre. Once you made sure the ends will fit, heat up part of the nail opposite the first bend and use your pliers to make the last bend. Make sure the two ends are parallel.
The last part of this step is to cut the overlapping part so the ends sit flush to each other, remember the starting point sits at the halfway point of your leather strip so you need to cut the other end to get the join centered.
Step 4: Shaping the Prong
Alright now that the frame is finished lets start working on the prong, to start out use your hammer and anvil to reshape that ugly machine cut point into something with a more forged look.
Once you're satisfied with the appearance of the point you need to measure out about twice the length of frame and cut the prong to this size.
Step 5: Finishing the Buckle
The next part is a little tricky, get the end red hot and use your needle nose pliers to start a loop, make sure the loop is big enough to fit the frame. Once you have a loop started hang your frame onto the prong with the join side of the frame on the loop.
Now heat up the prong just above the loop and when it gets red hot close it around the frame to complete the buckle.
Step 6: Cutting the Leather
To get the strap and the buckle to fit together, you'll first need to punch a hole about 1cm from the end. Next loop the strap through the buckle and find out how big you want the overlap to be, for me it's about 4cm, mark the hole onto the other side and punch this mark. These two holes will be used to rivet the leather together.
Fitting the prong means you need to cut out a strip of leather from inbetween the two rivet holes, I didn't have any boxcutters nearby so I just punched a series of holes. The slot should be about 1cm from both the rivet holes, once the slot has been cut / punched you can fit everything together with a bolt, a wingnut and some washers.
Step 7: Putting It All Together
To finish up all we need to do is rivet leather strap to it self so the buckle is secure, so you're going to need a rivet. Use the remainder of your second nail, a small hammer, and your anvil, start out by hammering out the end so it mushrooms into a rivet. Cut the rivet using your boltcutters but make sure its large enough to fit through two layers of leather and two washers.
Now that you have your rivet ready, put the strap around the buckle, add one washer to the rivet, push the rivet through both the holes in the leather strap, add another washer and using a hammer and anvil to peen the rivet. Once riveted enough everything will be secure and you can add the whole to whatever project you're working on!