Ribbons & Bows


A family member on mine likes the expression, “It is all fun and games until the flying monkeys…” I realized yesterday while working with one that semi-rimless, or cord mount, eyeglass frames are a little like that, all fun and games until they get stepped on…

The first thing you need to do is assess the damage or do “triage”. If you see torn figure-eight and a restring along with the bending this may well be a case where the patient will need to leave their glasses for you to work on them. Torn figure-eight can easily become a half hour project.

As much as we might hate to do it the only way to realign or “true” a semi-rimless frame is to take it apart. This leaves you vulnerable to chipped lenses, broken strings and torn figure eight. Sorry but it is just part of the job!

To remove a lens I really like the plastic box strapping tape cut in to 3” strips about a ¼” wide. Take your scissors and cut the end to a razor sharp point. That will usually work in nicely where the cord does it’s U – turn between the lens and frame with little risk of lens chipping.

Broken strings are always possible and if it should break it needed to be replaced anyway! Grab a re-string kit and restring it AFTER you do your re-alignment.

Be sure you have figure-eight on hand and be prepared to re-do it if necessary.

Once you get the lenses out on a semi-rimless you often need to work two tools at once instead of the usual one. Unlike conventional frames semi-rimless do not provide you with anything to bend against! I like using two pairs of a soft-round jaw pliers which are able get in nice and close to the chassis end and hinge. It is a bit of a balancing act but you will get the hang of it.

For reassembly I only use ribbon. Remember to bring the ribbon down to the bottom of the lens where the tension is the lightest so you are less prone to shredding the ribbon.

For more on flying monkeys see Oz, Wizard (The). For more on repairs and a video on How To Restring see www.opticianworks.com.

Claire Goldsmith MidPage