Hand Carved Wood Buttons


 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.




About Anthony Wilder

I am an artisan woodworker from Grand Rapids, MI. Woodworking is my passion and I do all my work with hand tools. We can learn a lot from past methods and mindsets and I am working towards teaching the lost art of working wood.
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6 Responses to Hand Carved Wood Buttons

  1. orepass says:

    These are great! I’ll have to pick up a couple of gouges and give it a try when I have a little time.

  2. Chris P. says:

    Wow those are awesome, what a cool idea.

  3. Pingback: That Connection | knittingsarah

  4. forwoodnesssake says:

    Well done. (We’ll forgive the drill press.) I like that you mentioned having had to try several times before you got it *right*. In today’s economy, the old pitch that you can “get professional results; first time and every time” has reduced woodworking to jigs, machinery, and switch flipping and people into a vast consumer base whose only skill is in buying on-line at the best price. As much as anything, from what I have read of your posts, you are trying to get humanity back into being human. Well done. Very well done.

    • Thank you. I agree, too often convenience wins over culture. While I do not begrudge the use of power tools to work wood, its a slippery slope into letting machines think for you and the result can become a bit like a microwavable gourmet meal.

  5. Pingback: Anthony Wilder’s Hand Carved Buttons | b19y

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