Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making a Spectacle of Yourself

Sorry for keeping you waiting; really intended to post on Monday, but the Cold/Flu/Pneumonic Plague that's hung around me all over Christmas and New Year seems to have a nasty habit of coming back for brief encores and upsetting the works. I'm not big on New Year's Eve celebrations as a rule, but one does hope for better than the tricky choice between sitting up, bleary-eyed and sneezing; or lying down and foregoing the option of breathing. (Yes, I opted to breathe; it's one of those things I like to do...)

So, right, where was I? Oh, yeah, spectacle chains. Don't know whether the concept of same is an international one, so a few visual examples that come to mind:

Mrs Slocombe from "Are You Being Served". (Nice specs. Understated...)

And Larry Grayson, host of "The Generation Game". (Seems like a nice boy.)

Good grief, British television in the 70s really was more camp than a Boy Scout Jamboree... So let us find a more woodworking-relevant example. Ah, celebrated woodworker, Mr Frank Klausz:

Got it? Cord or chain attached to glasses to enable wearer of same to have them handy even when not actually in use upon their nose. My mother would be utterly lost without hers; average length of time able to keep track of glasses without one can be measured in parts of a second. One of her favourites is a cord made by a Japanese silk cord making kinda person (san) who she commissioned to so do many years ago, back when the metropolis that is London town was the mollusc of her choice and she came across that kind of thing.

However, the rubbery loopy things that actually fit on the arms of the spectacles get a heavy workout, and one had broken. Happily she was able to find replacements, which equally happily, I was able to fit for her with the aid of needle-nosed pliers. (Pairs, two.)

As an aside, how is it household tasks always seem to demand tools that may only get used one in a blue moon in the workshop? Pliers being one example; I'm endlessly finding a need for pliers in the house, but barely once a year - if that - in the w'shop. Now you could argue, in that case, why not keep the pliers in the house and not the w'shop? Don't be silly; as soon as I do that, I'll need them in the w'shop. All the time. Because Murphy and his famous Law are just made that way. Obviously I just need more pairs of pliers...

Spec cord. Right. Here are the new fittings, which are very lovely (and a lot pricier than you'd think):

Being clear, they obviously appeal on the point of appearance, but unfortunately the clear plastic used is All Wrong and simply will not grip. In short, the things don't work.

Now for some years I've looked at these things (as my mother has worked her way through chain after chain, destroying the rubber fittings - usually black, btw) and bethought myself, "Self, who are they kidding? It's an O-ring and some wire. I could make one of those." Latterly I've seen a bead used instead of the wire, which is easier still. Anyway, it was just before Christmas, Mrs F was down one spectacle cord at a very crucial moment (no-one likes a pair of goggles dropping in their gravy), so I decided now was the time to provide proof of concept.

Which I'll tell you all about tomorrow.

Sorry. I'm trying to get back in the habit of writing, so you get a protracted Saga or nothing. And everyone loves a cliffhanger, right? Although that may be exaggerating the hanging a bit. Not to mention the cliff...


  1. I wish I could be as amusing when I'm under the weather! Larry Grayson - there's an acquired taste I didn't acquire, but Mrs Slocum had a cutting wit, I seem to remember.

    On the glasses, I prefer to keep mine in the shirt pocket. I've tried a cord but I don't get on with things that dangle...Moving swiftly on, is that a spectacle cord on Frank K. or is he fitted with reins?

  2. I once discussed with my optician the question of where to keep spectacles. He told me to keep them on my face. It seemed a little bossy of him but it does save a lot of worry. What's more, you almost never lose them.



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