Forming Buckle Strap Keepers
This tutorial shows how to form and shape our etched metal Buckle Keepers.
Cut the keeper from the sheet at the second divot to either side of the main body of the keeper. (As shown by the arrows.)
Using Round-Nose or Rosary Pliers, grasp the keeper "tab" at the divot as shown by the arrows.
Carefully make the bend right at the divot.
When you've completed both 90° bends, the keeper should look like this:
With the round pliers, grasp the "arm" of the keeper right where it meets the main body of the keeper.
Once again, make an approximate 90° bend, away from the decorated side.
Your keeper should look like this:
The "tabs" may overlap (as shown in the picture).
With your cutters, snip off a small section of one of the overlapping tabs.
With the excess length removed from one side, it now will be easy to crimp the two sides together and make them even.
With a pair of needlenose pliers (shown here is a "flat nosed" version, ideal for this operation) place the jaws as shown, and then crimp the two ends of the tabs so they are aligned with each other.
With your pliers positioned as shown, gently apply a little pressure to square up the keeper if it should be a little skewed.
Now the keeper is ready to thread onto a leather strap. By bending the keepers where the little "divots" are, you should end up with a keeper that is reasonably square, and deep enough to pass 2 layers of lace.
Like everything else, practice makes perfect, but taking your time and not rushing is also a good plan.
While these keepers will generally pass two layers of lace, one or both of those laces may need to be skived a bit, although they should not require deep skiving or paper-thin leathers.
Depending on your preferences as a tackmaker, and the items you are creating, you may be using very thin leathers that are deeply skived. If this is the case, you may need to bend the keepers at somewhat different points in order to achieve results that are not too loose or sloppy for the straps they will be used on.
The decorated portions of keepers can be applied using the "glue on" method, and added to keepers made of leather.