Fix and Fit
fix and fit
Alex Yoho, ABOM
If you could have only one optical tool to adjust glasses, what would it be? Many of you have your favorite nosepad-adjusting pliers, and others, such as rubber-jawed parallel pliers.
Personally, I would want bracing pliers over anything else. Here’s why:
Bracing pliers have a nylon jaw to protect surfaces and a thin, flat metal jaw that closes parallel to the nylon jaw when in its primary-use position. That position is for grabbing the eyewire barrels on a frame and holding things steadily aligned while manipulating the end-piece with either your fingers or another pair of pliers (though that would negate the one-pair scenario).
Bracing prevents a lot of problems when adjusting. For example, if you are adding pantoscopic tilt by bending an end-piece down, the eyewire barrels can move independently and that can put an amazing amount of torque on the lens, causing it to crack or chip.
It can also allow the screw to bend, which can weaken it significantly or even break it. The bracing pliers will keep the barrels in alignment as a unified block and help isolate them from the pressure of the bend.
One of my favorite uses is for bracing nylon suspension frames to prevent thin-grooved lenses from chipping.
This is a little tricky, as the eyewire is usually fairly thin and it is close to the lens. But, if you are careful, it is often possible to slip the metal jaw on the back of the eyewire right next to the lens.
By being careful to get a good grip and not allowing the pliers to deviate from this position, you should be able to adjust the temple up or down by bending the endpiece as you brace, without chipping the lens.
There are bracing pliers out there with curved nylon jaws that are specifically made for this use. The curved nylon jaw lifts away from the front of the lens and is a little safer.
If you have a job with Trivex or polycarbonate lenses that won’t chip, the bracing pliers make quick work of bringing in a temple to reduce head space all by themselves. If they are breakable lenses, however, you should again brace the barrels and use another pair of pliers to bring the endpiece in. For those who are not comfortable with working with pliers, be sure to approach the adjustment with the pliers by holding the work from opposite directions rather than having the handles get in the way of each other.
A little practice with this tool and you’ll be a believer, too. EB
If you have a temple that has an accidental hairpin bend (maybe it was stepped on), you can straighten it by placing the metal jaw on the outside apex of the bend and the nylon jaw on the inside. Begin with just a slight squeeze to start to open it up, then before it begins to bend too much in the center, use gentle squeezes on both sides of the center as you go. Using the metal jaw on the outside of the frame might leave a few scuffs, but if the metal was fatigued that much to begin with, it would have distressed areas anyway.
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