Buttons are the bread and butter of my business. I started making wood buttons about three years ago and my process has changed quite a bit since then. My buttons are still made largely without the use of power tools. I broke down a couple of years ago and bought an electric bench top drill press (The only power tool I own) from a garage sale for 10 dollars. Before that I hand carved each button round and hand-drilled the button holes. I thought it might be of interest to my customers, or anyone interested in making their own wood buttons, to see my process.
It starts with the wood. You can make a button using a dowel or tree branch just slicing as you go and drilling out the button holes. I prefer, a different approach. I cut my buttons with a healthy respect for the woods natural grain structure. Think of it this way, it is much easier to split a 1 foot section of wood along the grain than to chop down 1 foot diameter tree. So I begin by making my own cylinders, cut with respect for the grain.
The cylinder is cut using a hole saw with the center bit removed. ONLY attempt this if you have secured the wood you are about to cut. In my first attempts, I did not clamp the wood down about the fourth time I made a cut the work piece shot out and flew across the shop.
Next is the fun part. I hand carve each button. I am new to carving but after a few practice buttons I have come up with a design that looks good and is easy to make.
From there I saw off the button and start on a new one. Here are a few other designs. You can purchase any of these on my etsy ( www.etsy.com/shop/anthonyswoodshop) or if you’re feeling crafty, you can make them yourself.