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Ian's Shoelace Site Aglet Repair Home

I'm often asked about aglets, the plastic or metal sleeves at the ends of shoelaces.
Mostly it's to answer a trivia question, but often it's about how to replace them.

Aglet Repair
How do you repair or replace an aglet nowadays? You know, those little sleeves at the ends of your shoelaces? They used to be made of metal, and were never a problem unless they fell off. Nowadays, they're usually clear plastic, which is neat because they allow the lace colour to show through. However, they're nowhere near as strong, and are prone to breaking, fraying, splitting or just plain looking "used".

So what do you do if you have a great pair of shoes with perfectly serviceable laces but with missing or damaged aglets? Or what if you'd like to make your aglets stronger before they have a chance to become damaged? Perhaps you'd just like to brighten up your aglets with a bit of colour or sparkle? If you're game, read on!

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Four Ways To Repair Aglets
Adhesive
Tape


Picture
not yet
available
The simplest way to repair an aglet is to wind some clear adhesive tape around the end. A couple of dots of Super Glue under the end of the tape will ensure that it doesn't peel back.

For extra strength and security, dilute some general purpose glue with acetone and either soak it or squeeze it into the end of the lace before wrapping it with the tape. Note that Super Glue may "fizz" when drying and end up white. The final result will be rock hard, and the end can be trimmed flat with a sharp blade.
Candle
Wax /
Resin


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not yet
available
A quick, though probably temporary fix, can be achieved with candle wax. Simply drip some wax from a candle onto the lace end, then roll it between your fingers whilst it's still warm. This will form a smooth and fairly adequate aglet that's suitable for short term or emergency use.

A more durable "melt-on" solution is to use either soldering resin (translucent, but brittle) or sealing wax, such as is used to make seals for official letters or documents. Because both of these are tougher, they generally require more heat to melt, so it may be painful to roll between your fingers. Don't be tempted to heat the lace end once it has wax on it; the chances of starting a fire are dangerously high!
Heat
Shrink
Tubing


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not yet
available
Heat-shrink tubing is normally used in electrical and electronic work to insulate electrical joins. This comes in a range of colours - Red and Black are commonly available, but a good supplier will also stock Yellow, Green, Blue, White, or best of all, Clear.

Choose a size just large enough to slip over the end of the shoelace, cut a short length and slip it on. A heat gun is normally used to shrink the tubing to size, but you can also carefully apply the heat from a candle, lighter or even a match, provided that you DON'T apply the actual flame - just the heat from above. The tubing will shrink to around half its original size, forming a snug, though flexible, aglet.

For extra security, you can buy heat-shrink with a glue layer inside. You can tell this apart by gently squashing the tubing and "hearing" the sticky interior as the sides separate. Besides bonding more securely, this is usually a little thicker walled, resulting in a firmer finished "aglet".
Metal
Tubing


Picture
not yet
available
If you are particularly hard on your aglets (eg. on football boots or ice skates), you may need a tougher solution. Buy a length of 1/8" or 5/32" metal tubing at a hobby supplier; try to ensure that it is a snug fit over your current aglet. Your choice of colours is limited - Silver (Aluminium), Yellow (Brass) or Pink (Copper). Note that Yellow and Pink will both tarnish to nice shades of Brown.

Cut a short piece the same length as your current aglet, using a very fine toothed hacksaw or a power tool like a Dremel with a metal cutting disc. Slip this over the end of the existing broken or damaged aglet. Hammer a nail into the side of the tubing, then remove it, leaving a small indentation that will hold the tubing in place. For extra security, do this a couple of times. You could also squeeze some glue into the end.

Keeping the existing aglet underneath forms a more secure result, plus
it's a lot easier than trying to force a thick shoelace into a thin tube!

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Copyright © 2004 by Ian W. Fieggen. All rights reserved.



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