Wednesday, March 24, 2010


My favorite pair of glasses -- and the only ones with a current prescription -- broke awhile ago and I have been tacking them back together with Tix, a low-melting hard solder. Alas, the break was in a high-stress point, where the temple begins to curve around one's ear, and it wasn't holding.

There's a fix for that:It helps to have the toys to do the job but the real key is that stick of what looks like brass rod at the center of the image. It's hollow tubing from world-famous Hedlund's Hardware (Motto: "We have it. Somewhere." It's true, too) A little flux, a little Tix heated by the big iron and taa-daa:It's not beautiful but it doesn't show that much, either. And I'll be seeing the optometrist next week.


  1. So many tools. . . .

    Glad you could do something with them.

  2. You are a goddess of effective improvisation!

  3. Thanks for the heads up on Hedlund's Hardware. This is the first time that I have visited, but I will return. I am of a similar mind, as you. If it cannot be fixed or improved, someone is not thinking hard enough. It is a pity that I cannot live for another century or two, as I am spread pretty thin right now.

  4. Verra nice work, there. My soldering skills are limited to assembling XLR patch cables, but ask me about rebuilding old light fixtures. ;-)

  5. A really good hardware store will have the motto: "We don't know where it is either, but we'll help you look for it.

  6. You can get glasses from Hong Kong starting at about $15. Great for a backup pair, if not ideal for constant wear.

    I've used Zenni, I suspect there are others. Much better than you might expect for the price, and the lenses are fine. The frames... acceptable.

  7. Sigivald, my prescription is....difficult. Those rather small lenses are 3/8" thick at the edges and they're the high refractive index plastic.

    This particular frame is a full-on copy of a 1930s/40 original; I stumbled across them at the optometrists and couldn't resist.

  8. That hollow tubing idea rocks!
    I have tried to tack a few frames together with plain silver solder and always had to re-repair them again a few days later when the stress cracked the join. Thanks for the idea.
    Also, my local hardware store, while not really sporting a motto, does use a system of yells between the three employees.
    "Ed you know where X is?"
    "I think its over by the whats-its."
    "Where are those?"
    "Dunno, ask Rob."
    Rob shouts out: "Aisle 6"
    Eventually you get where you need to be.
    Again thanks for the hollow tubing idea.

  9. Excellent improvisation. Well done!

    My present frames are 1920’s (genuine article) saddle-bridge with round lenses and cables (sometimes called ‘riding bows’) like yours. They were purchased for short money (@ $20) at the flea market and relensed to my scrip. by my local optician. Those are my “indoor eyes.” My “outdoor eyes” are vintage USAF issue AO Model 58 Flight Goggles (bayonets here instead of cables) with my scrip. in a polarized and as dark as I could put hands on sunglasses version, again relensed for me by my local optician. Those were also fairly short money. You can get truly fantastic eyeglasses at antique shops and flea markets for much less than the average pair of off the shelf modern frames. It’s worth the effort to find an optician willing to work with them for you. You may want to find the optician and discuss what they are willing to work with before falling in love with a set of frames they can’t or won’t build.

    BTW: Most of the vintage metal frames you’ll find are 12kgf (some are even solid gold!) where many modern frames seem barely better than pot metal.

  10. I keep copper sheet around... were I in the same boat it's likely I'd have a bit of trimming, shaping, and hammering to do, but would use either a sliver or a u-channel of copper doing the same work.

    That said, I hope to never be so fortunate... I don't have a spare set and breakage would likely lead to a frantic call to someone to help me find said tools or get me to an optometrist.

    That said, the only time I've ever broken my glasses, I snapped the hinge ear off the leg in an impossible spot. Only other incidents are nosepads breaking off from age, blessing my stars that I had polycarbonate lenses for bending over too quickly in a store's storage room and finding a long steel hanging peg squarely in the middle on one lens, and one pair completely disappearing after being smacked from behind by hard surf while on vacation... where I was the driver. Had to hand the keys over for a day and lost a fair bit of my handy funds getting an emergency set at a 'while-u-wait' opto. Sucks having to wear $350 glasses, sucks worse not having the "eye" insurance info on your person while on vacation.