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AndyT

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Thanks for that Andy. A very useful book on a topic not covered in depth anywhere else.
I shall go and look again at a few oddities in my possession.
 

Cheshirechappie

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Good spot!

Must have taken some serious research to put that together. Well done Mr Price, and thanks for pointing it out, Andy.
 

Dovetaildave

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AndyT":3pizuck8 said:
I shall go and look again at a few oddities in my possession.
I've got so many bits and really appreciate this.....I wonder if I have a button bit (Page 44) anywhere.. Oooh I hope so :lol:

PS If anyone has one or used one, how is it used, End, long or short grain ?
 

Boringgeoff

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I've got what I thought was a button bit, but now thanks to James Price think it's probably a Piano Makers washer cutter (P40). When I first found this bit I thought it a modified centre bit and this belief is reinforced by Mr Price. I've used it to make buttons from bone and wood.
He's also written a very useful book titled "A Sourcebook of United States Patents For Bitstock Tools And The Machines That Made Them" 1992, ISBN 0-9634477-0-X
Thanks for posting this Andy.
Edit: I thought I'd put up some photos of my "button bit" compared to a centre bit and after cutting a button out of a thin piece of wood. I'm not sure what the wood is, some sort of pine, I only use it for demonstration purposes as I don't know how durable the buttons would be in reality.
Score half way through the wood then turn it over and attack from the other side, the bit works well in bone also. I don't think we need a photo of a sheeps shoulder blade.
Cheers,
Geoff.
 

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dannyr

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I have an allotment in Sheffield (where mother-of-pearl button making was a cottage industry) - I'm always turning up pieces of mother of pearl with circular holes - sometimes not finished, in which case it leaves a cut circle quite like those in your piece of scrap wood.
Ps .. I think they put the button waste on the plot to lime the clay soil
 

dannyr

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pps just realised before I get corrected - buttons have two or four off-centre holes - so they were cut with a different drill (I'm guessing some sort of breast drill?) before making the holes. (all shirt button sized - small)
 

AndyT

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A little bit more about buttons.

One of the Hawley Trust downloadable leaflets is about button making -

www.hawleytoolcollection.com/uploads/PD ... 0Trade.pdf

Unfortunately, it's very brief, doesn't show the tools and doesn't cover pre-industrial hand tool methods.

It does however include a dead link to an archive film about working mother of pearl, shot at Gillott & Son in Sheffield in 1937. The old link pointed to the Yorkshire Film Archive and a simple search on their revised website finds the film, here:

http://www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com/fil ... ther-pearl

It covers button making from about 7 minutes 35 onwards. Discs are cut out with a circular saw, then drilled, one hole at a time, but sometimes on a line of six buttons at once. There's lots of tedious work for nimble fingers.
 

dannyr

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Thanks - the second film, from about 7mins 30 shows the buttons well, but this is a factory operation - the small buttons were also made manually by families of out-workers - I think the waste I see is from that source - random angles of cuts to make small 'billets' then an arrangement of holes to best use those pieces - not always right through (maybe the piece had a flaw or broke)
 

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