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Behind The Scenes
on the <*> Pins

What Goes into the Manufacture of a <*> Pin?


I used to claim it was a trade secret, but now I am getting a few emails from people getting it right.

So here is a similar process to the way I used to make the Pins. I had access to some MUCH better equipment than that home-grown process. I didn't use printer ink on the metal. With a much more professional approach, I was able to etch much more deeply and precisely than the guy in that link does.

Custom Pin Work Is No Longer Available.

It's been nearly a decade and a half since this pin project started. I have moved a few times, ran into a few hard times... and l lost access to my pin-making equipment. So all that is left is just inventory. I have just a few of each kind of pin left, and as they are sold out, I will let you know on this web page.

The Science of Pin Fasteners

Now class, we will explore THE most ultimately booooooring aspect of pin manufacturing, the FASTENER! Pay attention, there will be a pop quiz later. The fastener which is used on the original <*> Pin is called a "pinback." (No relation to the name of any character in the classic cult flick, "Dark Star")

The pinback is the type of fastener which works almost like a safety pin. I began my debut as a pin-maker by using a cheap, plastic, black pinback fastener that stuck on the back with peel-off adhesive. It turns out that first version quits being very sticky after about a year, which really pissed me off.

So then I discovered a new, more efficient type of pinback fastener to use for the Original pins. They glue on with clear, strong epoxy instead of tacky (in BOTH senses of the word!) adhesive. The new pinback holds the pin slightly closer to your shirt or jacket than the old version. Other than that, it's still another boring ol' pinback.

There is another fastener featuring one or two post(s) which pierce your clothing, and little round clips which hang onto the posts from the inside of the cloth. THAT is called a "military clutch". Those little clips that come with them are called "clutchbacks".

Military clutch fasteners drive me completely nuts. It seems to be just too easy to lose those little round clutchbacks! That is why I have decided to include a spare, bonus clutchback with every Junior <*> lapel pin sold. (Note to get a Junior Pin nowadays, email me about getting on a waiting list.) This is a service which you would rarely find anywhere else, since I CARE about the handiwork I give to others.

I have to wonder some of the weird jargon that the jewelry industry uses for some of these things... such as: did you know that the curlicue little fastener that goes on the back of a post earring is called a friction nut? (No, I did not make that up!) GO FIGURE! :-)

Do you have any more questions about the creation of these pins? Just hit the "contact" button on this page and ask. You may see your question and my answer turn up on this page afterwards.

I would like to take this time to salute the jewelry supply company which has saved my butt more than once. They provide my pin fasteners, gold foil boxes and many of the other components which make my Pins possible. That company is Simon Golub and Sons in Portland, Oregon. May the whole world discover your excellent customer service, you cool people, you! :-)

Here is their website - and no, I am not receiving any money from them for this recommendation. I simply believe it's finally time they got the credit they deserve: portlandjewelrysupplies.com