The buckle is an investment cast brass or sterling silver copy of a clutch inspection cover from a 125cc (old 60's) Ducati single. I have worn the cover along with a metal back I made for it for 12 years. I found the engine I got it from when I was taking a small engine repair course in Madison Wisconsin. The buckle is 3 inches long and one and one half inches wide and oval in shape.
The DUCATI is in recessed letters and below that in raised letters is Made in Italy. I have a jewelry company here in town do the castings and I then spend 3 hours finishing them which means using a special hard solder to put the fittings/hasp on the back and then sanding and polishing. The sanding must be done very carefully to avoid touching the raised Made in Italy letters. There are of course several grades of sand paper used to remove imperfections.
These buckles are truly handcrafted and are something that I hope all Ducati owners will enjoy and appreciate. This is pretty much a hobby kind of deal for me, I just like the idea of Duck owners the world over wearing something I've made. I have put a pretty fair amount of time into these and I don't think anyone would want to return one.
I'd like to thank everyone who has gotten one and the positive feedback I have received from everyone:):)
The price of Sterling Silver has fallen from a high of $45 an ounce in April of 2011 to it's current price of $30-32 per ounce. So I am still making Sterling Silver buckles. This puts the price of a 2.5 ounce rough casting at about $130, there is a casting fee on the Silver buckles that is figured on a per gram basis above the cost of the Silver. So I am able to do solid Sterling Silver buckles for $175 each plus $5 shipping. Also I make another larger buckle now as well. The original buckle will only take a 1 inch wide strap. The new buckle of a different design will take a 1.5 inch wide strap. In Sterling they weight 3.5 ounces and cost $210 plus $5 shipping. I also do that buckle in gold brass. If you want to see what that buckle looks like please email me and I'll send you pictures of that. Please email me before you order and pay for a buckle, so that we can work out any and all details. Thanks Tom Rolland
The buckle takes a one inch leather strap that can be had at Sears for $9-$14.
Brass Buckles: $40 + $4 Shipping. Sterling Silver Buckle: $175 + 5 Shipping. Large Sterling Silver Buckle (3.5 oz): $210 + 5 Shipping.
How each buckle is made:
1. Take in the original piece to a professional jewelery casting company and get a master mold made.
2. The casting company "shoots the waxes" ie. they inject molten wax into the master mold. Note: each buckle is cast from it's own individual wax.
3. I get the waxes back from the casting company. I then hand carve in the circle around the screw holes (I use a round piece of brass tubing with cutting slots I made, as they don't show up in the original wax mold) and I clean up the screw slots. Each wax takes me 15 to 20 minutes to detail out.
4. If the buckle is to be cast in Sterling Silver I stamp it as such on the back (sorry that I didn't do that for the first 150 or so) they are still Solid Sterling Silver... any jeweler will confirm that :)
5. I take the finished waxes into the casting company. They put the waxes on a "tree" ie. they hook up all the molds via a wax latice. The "tree" is then put into a casting flask. They then pour in an investemt compound (it is like a plaster of paris) that is left to dry. The wax is then steamed out of the molds. Brass buckles are done at 10 to a flask. The Sterling Silver castings are only done 4 at a time as they are done in a smaller flask and are centrifugally spun to remove any air in the casting.
6. Once the molten metal has been poured into the casting flasks they are allowed to cool. They then break the molds to take out the castings. Yes that is right...the mold is broken to take out the casting... hence 1 wax = 1 casting!
7. Once I get the rough casting back is where my work really starts. First I bend and grind the strap hook (it is part of the casting) I later reinforce it with solder.
8. I make the strap holder. This is not part of the casting. It wouldn't flow though the mold properly so I make each strap holder out of either brass or 10 round Sterling Silver stock.
9. I file off the "sprue", the casting channel to the buckle.
10. Initial sanding of the rough casting is done with 120 grit sandpaper. 1/2 x 4 inch piece of paper by hand.....I have to do this because of all the raised letters and compound curves, this isn't something that can be done by machine. 2 initial sandings.
11. Hard solder on the strap holder and reinforce the strap hook with solder. Note: All solder joints are done with a hard Silver solder (1060)
12. Put buckle into hot acid bath to remove solder flux.
13. 3rd sanding with 120 grit. (Oh yeah I forgot steel wool polishing has been done between each sanding so far and is done the rest of the way too!)
14. 220 grit sanding and steelwool.
15. 320 grit sanding and steelwool.
16. 400 grit sanding and steelwool
17. 600 grit sanding and steelwool.
18. Use Dremel tool with small polishing wheel and Blue Magic compound for intial polishing.
19. Bend over strap holder to proper position (done so that it takes 1 inch wide strap and proper thickness)
20. Hand paint in the recessed letters.
21. Finial hand polishing.
22. Package it up and send it off along with the 2 pictures of me and my Ducks. Easy as sin to do.... only a 22 step process.
'74 750GT, '80 900SD
'72 Moto Guzzi 850 Eldorado CHIP
73 750GT, 750 GT (bitsa I am
building from parts)
92 Honda 750 VFR (so shoot me:) )
Buckle maker and general clever little fart™
"Nothing flies like a Duck"
ducati, desmodromic, desmo, monster, roundcase, bevel, beveldrive, belt drive, 350, 450, 500, 600, 650, 748, 750, 749, 850, 851, 860, 888, 916, 996, 998, 999, 750 GT, 900, 900 ss, 750 ss, 750 Sport, 750 super sport, darmah, pantah, S2, 860 GT, 860 GTS, ST2, ST3, ST4, MHR, MH900e, superbike, Paul Smart, Mike Hailwood, super sport, multistrada, sport classic, condor, vee twin, narrowcase, widecase, scrambler, jupiter, vintage, motorcycle, motorcycles, motorcyclist, bike, bikes, biker, italian, vintage, classic, Tom Rolland