Thread & Glue Aglet

Binding the lace end with thread and glue produces a very strong aglet. It's a small version of "whipping", which is used on larger ropes. (See whipping in Wikipedia).

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 1

Hold the end of the lace in a vise or locking pliers so that it can be pulled taut. Place a piece of strong thread alongside the shoelace and fold it back on itself.

Step 2

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 2

Bind the long end of the thread tightly around the shoelace for about 15 mm (1/2 inch), working back towards the vise or locking pliers. Make sure that part of the original loop is still protruding out the right side of the binding.

Step 3

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 3

Feed the long end of the thread through the protruding loop. Don't pull it completely tight – leave a small amount of slack.

Step 4

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 4

While holding the bound section firmly, pull the other loose end of thread, which is protruding out the left side. This will tighten the loop of thread around the loose end on the right side.

Step 5

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 5

Here's where the "magic" occurs that hides the loose ends: Continue pulling the left end of thread until the right end is pulled underneath the coiled section. Stop when the right end is about mid-way through the coiled section.

Step 6

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 6

Using a sharp knife or scissors, carefully snip off the protruding ends. The excess shoelace can also be trimmed to length.

Step 7

Thread & Glue Aglet picture 7

Finish by coating the thread with one or two layers of general purpose glue or nail polish. Glue can also be used either before or during the binding for additional strength and security.

Technical Information

What Sort of Glue?

Preferably choose a glue with an acetone-based solvent, such as "Tarzan's Grip", "Elmer's Clear Household Cement" or "Britfix Balsa Cement", just to name a few. These will dry clear, hard and waterproof, as opposed to the PVA based glues such as "Aquadhere" or "Elmer's Glue-All", which are not as hard and are only water resistant. You can tell the difference by their look and smell – acetone based glues are clear and have a strong petro-chemical smell, whereas PVA glues are milky white and smell mildly acetic.

NOTE: Glue manufacturers have health warnings against "prolonged skin exposure" to the above acetone-based glues, so wear gloves if this is of concern (or if you hate sticky fingers). Use acetone, thinners or nail polish remover to clean up afterwards.

Super Glue

You can also use a couple of drops of an "instant" cyanoacrylate glue, such as "Super Glue" or "Krazy Glue". Note that the fibers of the shoelace provide a huge surface area, which can cause this type of glue to cure too quickly. Although rapid drying is normally an advantage, the disadvantage is that it can result in a finish that is whitish rather than clear. It can also give off some nasty fumes, so beware!

Nail Polish

Clear nail polish is a perfect substitute for glue, while colored nail polish can be used to add either a complementary or contrasting color. Nail polish with glitter can be used to add some sparkle.

Thread & Glue Aglet Feedback

"I just fixed my son's Doc Marten laces using oboe reed thread and nail polish. The 14-hole laces are harder to find, plus I hate throwing out the laces just because the ends are wrecked, so I'm really happy with the solution. Thanks again!"

- Kathy, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

If you'd like to send feedback about Thread & Glue Aglets, please Contact Ian.

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