Our buckles are examples of the lost-wax casting process in which a wax facsimile of the object is embedded in plaster, heated in an oven to melt out the wax through a vent (hence "lost-wax"), then molten metal injected into the cavity left by the wax. After cooling, the plaster is broken off leaving an exact replica of the original model.
The basis of this process was familiar to ancient craftsmen of both Hemispheres. Present day techniques using rubber molds for making the x models, high vacuum pumps to remove air bubbles from the plaster, and centrifugal casting machines produce high precision objects for many uses including jewelry, artwork, and dentistry.
After casting each buckle is individually bench finished; the sprue (the port the metal enters) is ground off, the buckle dipped in an oxidizing solution, then wire brushed, and finally polished and cleaned. Constant visual and tactile inspection insures a finished object free of surface imperfections. The price of these buckles reflects this considerable hand work but remains competitive.
We make the best effort we can to produce buckles with integrity of design and function. The success of this effort is finally decided by the retail customer, and we are always eager for comments and suggestions which will assist in improving current designs and producing better new buckles for you in the future.
— Anne & Joe Barrett
"Anne and Joe—79 and 84, respectively—are artists. Their story winds and wanders, as artists' tend to. They are searchers and seekers. Curious folk. 'Life is an exploration of how things work,' says Anne. 'We both have always been curious people...'"
exerpt from Cape Cod Home Magazine
For nearly 40 years, Anne and Joe Barrett have been making cast buckles and accompanying handmade leather belts. Many of the designs are reflections of the surrounding landscape, the place they have called home for most of their lives—Cape Cod. Through the years they have made and sold their belts and buckles in their home, an old colonial in Cotuit, Mass as well as at many craft shows. In addition to their retail business, they wholesale their buckles to a few small businesses around the country.
Alongside the buckle business, they have a small shop in the front of their house where one can find a variety of antiques, homemade jams and jellies, as well as fresh produce that they farm themselves. They choose a life of doing things by hand, and their buckles and belts are no exception. Their dedication to their craft yeilds a consistently beautiful and quality product that you will treasure for years to come.