arkirshner

Honors Member
4,367
United States
OH
Toledo
This thread has got me thinking about replacing buttons on a number of jackets I realize that retail internet sales are not a real profit center, and I do not expect you to spend a lot to make it more user friendly, but before ordering I must point out two things about your site. First, there is no color chart or enlarge to see the color with Buy by the Piece. No one wants to get the wrong color and the site would have us guess. Second, the listings in Buy by the Piece do not have the button size offered. Again no one wants to guess.

Regards,

Alan
 

Matt S

Connoisseur
8,038
United States
NY
New York
At RAVE FabriCARE, we take no chances with corozo nut buttons: we remove ALL corozo nut buttons prior to cleaning and replace them after cleaning and hand pressing. This way we can guarantee that they will never break, crack or chip -- at least on our watch.

If you own fine garments with corozo nut buttons, I would suggest that you ought to INSIST that your dry cleaner removes the buttons prior to cleaning.
Some of my double-breasted suits have up to 20 exterior buttons (14 on the jacket and 6 on the trousers). That's quite a lot of time spent removing and resewing the buttons and must be quite expensive.
 

arkirshner

Honors Member
4,367
United States
OH
Toledo
As a dry cleaner specializing in high-end garments, I see hundreds of garments with corozo nut buttons on a weekly basis. I'm no expert in the technical aspects of these buttons but I have noticed that many corozo nut buttons -- particularly on garments owned by new clients -- are broken, cracked (as evidenced by hairline cracks) or chipped.

The Italian manufacturers, in particular, love these buttons because they are able to match the colors of the buttons very closely to the color of the fabric used. If you own a suit, sport coat or trouser by Canali, Zegna, Armani, Zanella or the like, I'd bet they have corozo nut buttons.

At RAVE FabriCARE, we take no chances with corozo nut buttons: we remove ALL corozo nut buttons prior to cleaning and replace them after cleaning and hand pressing. This way we can guarantee that they will never break, crack or chip -- at least on our watch.

If you own fine garments with corozo nut buttons, I would suggest that you ought to INSIST that your dry cleaner removes the buttons prior to cleaning.

The alternative? Investing much of your time to source a replacement set of corozo nut buttons. Why your time? Because the dry cleaner will most likely blame the manufacturer and tell you that he is not responsible for broken, cracked or chipped buttons. And, even if he finally admits responsibility, you'll most likely end up with a cheap set of plastic buttons that do not have a perfect color match and detracts from the overall beauty of the garment.

Here's some more information on the subject...

Blog post: Does your dry cleaner play Russian Roulette with your corozo nut buttons?

Blog link: http://www.ravefabricare.com/true-q...an-roulette-with-your-corozo-nut-buttons.aspx

Mr. B

You, sir, are a zealous perfectionist. Every time I read one of your posts I reflect on all the things I let slide that day and a sense of guilt comes over me. Fortunately you do not post that often.

I would never ask a dry cleaner to remove and replace buttons as I don't think there is anyone within a hour's drive that can sew a proper thread shank on a button. Out of curiosity, how long does it take your staff to properly sew on a shank thread button?

Regards,

Alan
 

stubloom

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
121
United States
Arizona
Scottsdale
Response to arkirshner:

It takes about a minute to resew a button with a cross-stitch and a shank. We normally charge 75c per button to remove and replace 4 hole buttons.

The additional cost for a Zegna 2 button suit (2 front buttons, 8 cuff buttons and 4 trouser buttons) would be approx $10.75. On a past thread, one forum member mentioned that he pays about $30 in NYC to have his suit buttons removed and replaced.

Contrast that to the alternative: contact the retail store to ask if they have any corozo nut buttons of a particular style and color. Drive to the store to inspect their "selection" (which is probably zero unless they offer Zegna MTM and have some spares laying around in some drawer). Call the USA office of Zegna or some of their retail stores to make a similar inquiry, and, if they do have some, send a digital photo of the button(s) your'e looking for and hope and pray that the button(s) they finally send you are correct. I could go on and on but I don't have a few hours to spare.

Bottom line: removing and replacing corozo nut buttons is much like preventative maintenance on a fine car. It eliminates the extraneous costs and anxiety associated with damage due to neglect.
 
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CorozoButtons

Starting Member
14
As a dry cleaner specializing in high-end garments, I see hundreds of garments with corozo nut buttons on a weekly basis. I'm no expert in the technical aspects of these buttons but I have noticed that many corozo nut buttons -- particularly on garments owned by new clients -- are broken, cracked (as evidenced by hairline cracks) or chipped.

The Italian manufacturers, in particular, love these buttons because they are able to match the colors of the buttons very closely to the color of the fabric used. If you own a suit, sport coat or trouser by Canali, Zegna, Armani, Zanella or the like, I'd bet they have corozo nut buttons.

At RAVE FabriCARE, we take no chances with corozo nut buttons: we remove ALL corozo nut buttons prior to cleaning and replace them after cleaning and hand pressing. This way we can guarantee that they will never break, crack or chip -- at least on our watch.

If you own fine garments with corozo nut buttons, I would suggest that you ought to INSIST that your dry cleaner removes the buttons prior to cleaning.

The alternative? Investing much of your time to source a replacement set of corozo nut buttons. Why your time? Because the dry cleaner will most likely blame the manufacturer and tell you that he is not responsible for broken, cracked or chipped buttons. And, even if he finally admits responsibility, you'll most likely end up with a cheap set of plastic buttons that do not have a perfect color match and detracts from the overall beauty of the garment.

Here's some more information on the subject...

Blog post: Does your dry cleaner play Russian Roulette with your corozo nut buttons?

Blog link: http://www.ravefabricare.com/true-q...an-roulette-with-your-corozo-nut-buttons.aspx
There are several reasons why this can happen and it has a lot to do with the way corozo behaves when soaked. Corozo, like a lot of other organic materials, expands when it is put in water for an extended period of time (1-2hrs+). This expansion is really useful for manufacturers because it allows the corozo to dye more easily as the pores are expanded and allow dyes to penetrate more easily. The downside is that they become temporarily weaker while expanded, specially so if they are thin buttons. That doesn't mean they will break easily, but it makes them more susceptible to it.

One problem we see very often is that the threads holding the buttons are not elastic or fastened too tightly, so when the button expands, it has nowhere to go and the threads crack them. The other problem is that most manufacturers don't know that corozo shouldn't be "flash dried". After dyeing, they throw them in an oven with fast moving air to get them dry and out the door quickly. That really weakens the material, in fact, while doing tests to calibrate our drying room, we find we can get buttons to easily crack just from drying them too fast.

Yet another reason why buttons can crack is because some manufacturers are cheating. They may buy old material or second rate material and use a very aggressive bleaching process to turn it white before they use it. Sometimes even the raw corozo blanks dealers do this so they can sell B material for an A material price. Very aggressive bleaching weakens buttons at a molecular level...the next time they are exposed to water and heat then they tend to have problems.

It's easy to forget that this is a natural material after all and should be handled as such. If it is manufactured correctly and treated well, it will last much much longer than the rest of the garment. Designers have a tendency to push the boundaries of materials too, they sometimes request an extremely thin button or a button with a clear structural weakness and we warn them that breaking may occur. We do impact testing and resistance testing in house all the time and warn them accordingly.

We can spot these things pretty easily and never buy bleached material. We know the limits of what buttons can handle and if we don't feel comfortable / they don't pass our tests, then we either don't make them or we give clothiers special warnings. That said, knowledge is power, we make hundreds of thousands of buttons every month and very few of them come back to us with problems. Why? Because we know how to handle the material and we know how to make buttons resistant.


This thread has got me thinking about replacing buttons on a number of jackets I realize that retail internet sales are not a real profit center, and I do not expect you to spend a lot to make it more user friendly, but before ordering I must point out two things about your site. First, there is no color chart or enlarge to see the color with Buy by the Piece. No one wants to get the wrong color and the site would have us guess. Second, the listings in Buy by the Piece do not have the button size offered. Again no one wants to guess.

Regards,

Alan
Hi Alan,

Neither our site, nor our logistical structure is designed to be a B2P model. We used to have a lot more options of buttons to purchase samples from, but we didnt find too many people who were interested. People don't generally want to replace the buttons themselves, so they take their suits/shirts to a tailor. We sell to tailors :)

As far as a color chart, we will have one soon for reference. Our color gamut is infinite, we dye to match any swatch or pantone code or anything really. That is why having a color chart on our website is not particularly helpful. Designers usually have a set idea of what they want.

You are completely right about that! Maybe if I get some feedback as to what you guys would like to be able to purchase directly from our website then I would be happy to start a new program. For example something like sets for suits pre-dyed in normal suit colors like navy, black, etc.

Response to arkirshner:

It takes about a minute to resew a button with a cross-stitch and a shank. We normally charge 75c per button to remove and replace 4 hole buttons.

The additional cost for a Zegna 2 button suit (2 front buttons, 8 cuff buttons and 4 trouser buttons) would be approx $10.75. On a past thread, one forum member mentioned that he pays about $30 in NYC to have his suit buttons removed and replaced.

Contrast that to the alternative: contact the retail store to ask if they have any corozo nut buttons of a particular style and color. Drive to the store to inspect their "selection" (which is probably zero unless they offer Zegna MTM and have some spares laying around in some drawer). Call the USA office of Zegna or some of their retail stores to make a similar inquiry, and, if they do have some, send a digital photo of the button(s) your'e looking for and hope and pray that the button(s) they finally send you are correct. I could go on and on but I don't have a few hours to spare.

Bottom line: removing and replacing corozo nut buttons is much like preventative maintenance on a fine car. It eliminates the extraneous costs and anxiety associated with damage due to neglect.
This is wonderful, its sad that very few dry cleaners offer service like this! Clothiers should demand more from their manufacturers too. We stand behind our product and look into these matters seriously. We actually had a customer's customer contact us recently. She had a suit that was several years old and had lost a button. The clothier didn't have any extras anymore so they told her to come to us. We were able to identify the model for her (rough when all you get is a picture and you have 1500 models to look through) and pull some out of stock, we dyed it in the exact color she needed and shipped 10 buttons out to her.
 

stubloom

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
121
United States
Arizona
Scottsdale
Raul:

Thank you for taking the time to formulate that response. All I can say is WOW!

From a dry cleaner's point of view, that's the very best -- and most concise -- explanation of the technical issues associated with corozo nut buttons Iv'e yet come across. And I've spent countless hours combing the internet for that information.

As a result of your explanation, I might just have stumbled upon the reason why some corozo nut buttons break, crack or chip so easily.....

Ordinary dry cleaning is all about throughput: how many "pieces" can you push through the production system (tagging, cleaning, pressing and bagging) in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost. As far as the dry cleaning is concerned, that typically means reducing the wash time, increasing the extract RPMs, CRANKING UP THE DRYING TEMPERATURES and reducing the cool down time. Leaving aside, for the moment, the detrimental effect of such practices on the longevity of garments, please comment on the possible impact on a corozo nut button of CRANKING UP THE DRYING TEMPERATURES?
 
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CorozoButtons

Starting Member
14
Raul:

Thank you for taking the time to formulate that response. All I can say is WOW!

From a dry cleaner's point of view, that's the very best -- and most concise -- explanation of the technical issues associated with corozo nut buttons Iv'e yet come across. And I've spent countless hours combing the internet for that information.

As a result of your explanation, I might just have stumbled upon the reason why some corozo nut buttons break, crack or chip so easily.....

Ordinary dry cleaning is all about throughput: how many "pieces" can you push through the production system (tagging, cleaning, pressing and bagging) in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost. As far as the dry cleaning is concerned, that typically means reducing the wash time, increasing the extract RPMs, CRANKING UP THE DRYING TEMPERATURES and reducing the cool down time. Leaving aside, for the moment, the detrimental effect of such practices on the longevity of garments, please comment on the possible impact on a corozo nut button of CRANKING UP THE DRYING TEMPERATURES?
stubloom,

You're very welcome, that's what I was hoping I could do for your guys!

I think you've hit the nail right on the head! When corozo dries too quickly, at too high a temperature it has a tendency to warp and break. To be more specific, I can give you a little information with regards to our drying process. When we need to dry buttons we often do it in a two step process; first we put it through a centrifuge at a maximum temperature of 30C and then in a drying room with a max temperature of 40C over several hours. Anything higher than that begins to cause problems with cracking. Why? Because the surface of the button dries more quickly than the inside, it contracts and creates cracks on the surface, weakening the button. If the button is dry, it can handle more than 100C without damage.

One of our special finishes, called crackled, uses an agent and heat to very quickly dehydrate the surface of buttons. It is a beautiful effect, but it gives should give you an idea of what happens when drying at different rates occurs.


I am not entirely familiar with what kind of temperatures you use for dry cleaning, but if you are applying strong heat to a semi-soaked button, there is a very good chance that is why they are breaking on you. The real enemy of corozo is high temperature during drying, otherwise the buttons can easily handle just about any heat you can throw at them.
 

Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
6,682
United States
New York
East Hampton
So ... it sounds to me as if you just put the garment on a hanger and let it air dry overnight there should be no problem with the corozo. Or did I miss something ... besides throughput?
 

stubloom

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
121
United States
Arizona
Scottsdale
Alexander:

Sounds like rational approach but it can't work for this reason: Irrespective of the solvent or fluid used (the most common solvents/fluids are perc, synthetic petroleum or siloxane), and irrespective of the brand of machine used (the operational concepts behind all machines are similar), garments in a dry clean machine go through 4 cycles -- wash, extract, dry and cool down/deodorization cycles. The purpose of the dry cycle is to vaporize the dry cleaning solvent or fluid from the garments. The vapor is then liquified and the resultant (purified) solvent or fluid is reused.

Without the dry cycle and the cool down/deodorization cycle, garments would take forever to dry, the dry cleaning solvent or fluid in the garments after the wash cycle could not be reclaimed, and the garment would smell (particularly if you clean in perc or synthetic petroleum).

Furthermore, the 2 solvents used by approx. 95% of all cleaners -- perc and synthetic petroleum solvent -- are classified as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) by the EPA. So it would be illegal to dry clean garments in perc or synthetic petroleum and allow those garments to hang dry OUTSIDE a tightly sealed dry cleaning machine.

For a garment with corozo nut buttons that requires cleaning, there appears to be only 2 options:

(1) sponge and press if the garment does not require a complete cleaning inside a dry cleaning machine, or

(2) dry cleaning if the garment requires cleaning inside a dry cleaning machine.

In the case of option 2, it would seem to me that removal of all corozo nut buttons prior to cleaning and replacement after pressing is the most responsible and cost-effective approach.
 
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CorozoButtons

Starting Member
14
Alexander:

Sounds like rational approach but it can't work for this reason: Irrespective of the solvent or fluid used (the most common solvents/fluids are perc, synthetic petroleum or siloxane), and irrespective of the brand of machine used (the operational concepts behind all machines are similar), garments in a dry clean machine go through 4 cycles -- wash, extract, dry and cool down/deodorization cycles. The purpose of the dry cycle is to vaporize the dry cleaning solvent or fluid from the garments. The vapor is then liquified and the resultant (purified) solvent or fluid is reused.

Without the dry cycle and the cool down/deodorization cycle, garments would take forever to dry, the dry cleaning solvent or fluid in the garments after the wash cycle could not be reclaimed, and the garment would smell (particularly if you clean in perc or synthetic petroleum).

Furthermore, the 2 solvents used by approx. 95% of all cleaners -- perc and synthetic petroleum solvent -- are classified as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) by the EPA. So it would be illegal to dry clean garments in perc or synthetic petroleum and allow those garments to hang dry OUTSIDE a tightly sealed dry cleaning machine.

For a garment with corozo nut buttons that requires cleaning, there appears to be only 2 options:

(1) sponge and press if the garment does not require a complete cleaning inside a dry cleaning machine, or

(2) dry cleaning if the garment requires cleaning inside a dry cleaning machine.

In the case of option 2, it would seem to me that removal of all corozo nut buttons prior to cleaning and replacement after pressing is the most responsible and cost-effective approach.
How long does the entire process take and how long are the buttons submerged in fluid?

Reason I ask is that if the buttons are not staying submerged for more than a few minutes at a time, then there's really a very small chance that this is the culprit. In order to dye buttons, we sometimes have to let them soak for 6-12 hours. With that said, I think that unless you are cooking the buttons quickly after the wash, then there shouldn't be any problems.

Our buttons are normally machine washable and you can simply toss them in the dryer afterwards, just as long as you don't let them soak (pre-wash or forget them in the washer) for extended periods of time. The only times we tell clothiers that the buttons are dry clean only is when they are thin or they are weaker than normal because of some kind of treatment like the one shown above. That being said, it is a natural material, there can be microscopic flaws in the raw material from the start and we expect that a small percentage may crack. This is really no different than most materials, specially other natural ones. We have a stringent quality control process where each button is checked front and back for color and flaws. On difficult models, we may discard up to 5-10% of the order before we are happy with the results. If anyone would like to see pictures of our process, factory and machinery, look us up on facebook!

Also, while we continue our discussion about dry-cleaning corozo, if anyone has any other types of questions, I'd be happy to discuss those too.

Raul