These are some of the tools I use and when I say use, I mean I use them just about every day.
None of them are special, not complicated, just plain ordinary, but they do what I want them to do and very well.
An old water colour paint brush, a piece of natural sponge, and what is probably the only specialised tool, a very soft rubber kidney. Called a kidney because of the shape. Potters use them for various reasons, this is the softest one I’ve found, just right for what I do with it. I smooth the tops of the buttons with it.
The paint brush is used in two ways. When it’s dry I use the bristles to push buttons out of the cutters leaving very little mark on the clay. When the brush is wet I use it to soften the button holes so that they are all the right size and have no sharp bits that will cut the cotton that you sew them on with. I use the wet brush to soften the dry clay, that is what I use the sponge for too.
The brush and other tools are on an old chopping board and I use that to put the fresh buttons on and make the button holes on it too.
The larger board is a piece of solid wooden block work surface cut from when we put our kitchen in. The edges have been sanded to make them rounded so I won’t catch my hands or wrists on them. The top has been sanded but not treated. I use this larger board to wedge (kneed) the clay so that I can use it. I roll the clay on this board, and I use it to dry out wet clay by spreading it out on the surface.
So these tools are used every day, nothing special, but without them I’d be lost, and you’d have no buttons!