Carbon Fibre Buckle Collection – January 2019
After what seems an eternity our landmark collection of carbon fibre buckles has finally arrived. These sleek, hi tech, lightweight buckles are truly something to behold and we feel yet another step forward in our buckle design mission.
The journey started 2 years ago following a chance meeting with Croatian Carbon Fibre expert Robert Shenk in our Gees Court store. His expertise in working with carbon fibre had led him to custom design ultra-tough, lightweight, stylish carrying cases for leading musicians looking to travel with their precious instruments. His roster of musical legends is impressive (and confidential!).
Our mutual challenge was to harness the amazing properties of carbon fibre and adapt them to the much smaller format of a belt buckle.
From sketches and prototypes we pushed the barriers of what had previously been done, learning to make mechanical parts like prongs and refining thicknesses to create items that do not just look good but fit well and function perfectly. Essentially turning a functional material into something sleek, stylish and very cool.
Robert’s skill is not just in making items in carbon fibre but in finishing them to a whole new standard, so that the surfaces are incredibly smooth like a perfect veneer and in addition adding colour so that they do not only appear in their generic black tone. His work is that of an artisan, each piece going through multiple time-consuming stages as layer upon layer of carbon fibre is built up, varnished and polished to create a finished piece.
For those new to the world of Carbon Fibre the material comes literally as a sort of mesh fabric less than 1mm thick. Each layer of mesh is varnished with a two-part polymer, then left to dry before the next layer of mesh can be added in order to build up thickness. So, for a buckle that is about 8mm thick that’s up to 12 sessions of layering, varnishing and drying. That is before any refinement of shape or form and the refined finishing that we have strived for with our buckle collection.
Below are a few photos of the process to give you an idea of how all of this is achieved.
After days of layering, varnishing and drying (24 hours per layer) we have sheets of appropriately thick carbon fibre material that we can now be digitally cut to shape with a CNC cutter.
The buckle shape is refined by filing and sanding by hand and the small parts such as screws and prongs that were formed separately have to be connected.
The final surface layer of carbon fibre is applied and after being tinted with colour has to be painstakingly varnished time and again so that all of the small holes in the fibre are fully filled to a smooth finish. Carbon fibre is a highly porous material so this is not easy!
The final stage is polishing to a veneer like finish to create the finished article.
The End Result?
4 contemporary but elegant buckle styles, a twisted prong, a solid plate style, a screw detail window style prong and a hollowed out oval. These can be worn in all sorts of ways from sleek and elegant when paired with a smooth cordovan belt to more casually when worn with a textured leather or something more vintage in feel.
Try them on smooth polished cordovan like these Bogart Welt straps for a really sleek tonal look.
Go more casual pairing them with a croc effect belt or maybe something unlined?
Why buy a Carbon Fibre Buckle?
Hi Tech Material/Construction and Innovative look and Feel
Sleek veneered finish
Rich & Subtle colour tones
Extremely light weighing no more than 20-30 grams
No metal at all involved – so these are completely hypoallergenic, ideal for allergy sufferers
No metal means no need to remove your belt at airport security!