Trade Secrets: Making a martelé button

MattWehling

A simple method for adding this small detail to your bows

It’s a small detail, but it’s a cool detail. A martelé button is one where the inside of the button ring is octagonal, matching the outside of the button, as opposed to having been made with the typical round on the inside tubing. People often say the purpose was to make the ring unable to turn relative to the ebony core, but I think the real reason was that one can make the martelé button with less metal, so that the bow maker’s initial cost for silver and gold was much lower.

The method I use was taught to me by Paul Martin Siefried, who sadly passed away in November 2019. It is a very logical way to fit an octagonal ring. Paul would say that he would think about a challenge until a logical solution came to him, often in a dream. I don’t know if Paul (below) dreamt up this technique, but when I’ve shown it to other makers, some of them quite experienced, most have been impressed by the simplicity and practicality of his solution…

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