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Dragon*Con: Belt

Now that the lightsaber is finished, I needed a belt to hang it from. After looking at the various examples (both movie and fan-made), I came up with a variation that I could make from what I had lying around. Everything in this part of the project came from my stash.

So the basic form of the Jedi belt is a broad belt with no visible opening (attaching at the back somehow, where it is usually covered), surmounted by a narrow belt with a clasp at the front. The narrow belt is held in place by open loops of some sort, perhaps protruding rivets.

I decided to make the belt loops out of some 18ga mild steel I've had for I don't know how long (this will become a theme). I marked the pieces for the loops and cut them with my ancient Harbor Freight Beverly shear knock-off. To smooth the rough edges, I finally set up the belt sander my dad gave me for Christmas (to make room for a lathe, as I recall). I bent the ends in the vise, then hammered them down over an aluminum spacer to make sure there was room for the belt to fit inside:

Finally, I polished the visible parts of the loops with a Dremel wire wheel and hit them with some clear spray paint to hopefully avoid rust:

I initially tried making the broad belt out of some elk hide I've had kicking around forever, and which is too stretchy to work for many projects. It proved too soft for this as well, but I'm sure it'll come in handy for something someday. My backup plan was some 8 oz. veg tanned leather I've had since way back when I used to make armor. It wasn't wide enough to get the entire belt out of it in one pice, so I cut it out in pieces, with the joins at the sides covered by riveted brushed aluminum plates. I was really enjoying having a belt sander at this point. I totally struck out trying to find brown leather dye (black was no problem, but brown, not so much), but it turned out that the same polyurethane stain I used to weather the lightsaber turns out to be a passable leather dye. It's not perfectly even, but it works fine with the weathered aesthetic I'm going for. I drilled the belt loops and riveted everything in place:

Here you can better see the texture on the side plates:

The narrow belt I got to seriously cheat on. Some 15 years or so ago, I was enamored of a medieval folding clasp, and cobbled one together out of brass sheet and wire. It was totally not adjustable, so it was never really that useful as a belt buckle. I could never bear to get rid of it, though, so I resurrected it for this project:

Here are some detail shots of the clasp:

I also needed a hook to hang my lightsaber from, so more steel became this number:

Here you can see all the important hardware in place:

The adjustment strap in the back was cannibalized from an old decommissioned CPAP bag:

I also went shopping today for the fabric for the actual clothing parts of this costume, so I should be able to get started on those soon, once I finish up some Pennsic sewing...

Bonus: I also was able to score a proper activation switch for the lightsaber this weekend:

I also dropped it again while testing the belt hook and broke a piece off the base of the emitter, so I'm in the process of fixing that with some water putty.


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