Monday, September 23, 2013

HSF #19: Wood, Metal and Bone

From our challenger: "Cloth may be the most obvious material in historic costuming, but wood, metal, and bone are just as important to creating the right look and silhouette.  For this challenge, make anything that incorporates wood, metal, or bone." 

I decided to make an attempt at making my own buttons for this challenge, as buttons come in wood, metal AND bone.  Seeing as how buying the accoutrements necessary to pour pewter in my kitchen were a bit out of budget, I stuck with materials more readily available.  I snagged a thumb-sized stick of maple out of my wife's witling orphans and acquired a mismatched pair of antlers from my friend B. 

The supplies: a small hacksaw, dust mask, eye protection, leather gloves,
an electric drill, a wooden block, a piece of craft foam and a pair of nail files.

 I wanted to make a reasonable attempt at keeping the process as manual as possible, so I avoided pleading with friends for the use of an electric saw.  The process was cumbersome, and made my hands hurt like hell, but once I got my wife to come help, it got done.  We eyeballed sawing off disks of stick and antler that ended up being about 3/16 of an inch wide.  Once we'd established a rhythm, the bone actually cut pretty nicely.  The sticks, not so much.  They tended to break off near the end and leave jagged pieces.

Don't let this staged photo mislead you.  It took four hands in order to saw these without turning it into a complete hack job.

We ended up not having any sand paper in the house, but I sacrificed a couple of emery boards to the cause and they worked just fine.  Disks were sanded with the rough side, and then buffed until they wouldn't catch when rubbed on fabric.

The raw lot, in various states of done.
 I used the electric drill to drill holes in all of the buttons, 2 in the antler buttons and four in the wood.  The antler took to the drilling MUCH better than the wood.  I couldn't seem to keep the drill set where I intended and my hole distribution was pretty haphazard.  All in all, I'm considering the wood to be a nice try, but ultimate failure.

The antler buttons, however, I am terribly pleased with.  I'm thinking I'll use them on some 18th century peasant wear, perhaps in time for the outerwear challenge.

Just the facts

The Challenge: Wood, Metal and Bone
Material: Antler from white tailed deer
Pattern: none
Year: throughout history
Notions: none
How historically accurate is it? I'm giving this an A+, you don't get much more legit than buttons made of bone.
Hours to complete: about five
First worn: needs a garment to be put on first
Total cost: nothing!  Maybe three bucks to replace the emery boards

Finished antler bones (16 on left) and two origins on the right.

About that wide.

The origins of the two antlers were wicked cool looking.  Any suggestions on how to get a
shank back onto these so I could maybe put them on the front of a cloak?

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