By Laird Coinneach Mac an Leigh
Points are the short (generally a foot long) ties used by Elizabethans for many clothing purposes: attaching sleeves to doublets, holding jerkins closed, and lacing doublets to hosen, among others.
During that time period, points were sold in bundles of a dozen. From this we may deduce they were a “manufactured” item, not something made to order for each customer. Many Scadians use short shoelaces or bits of ribbon for points, but here is a way to make them.
I make my points from brass tubing and braided cotton cord. It’s really quite simple and results in handsome points (if I do say so myself) that don’t break the bank.
Start with a length of small brass tubing. I have used 3/16” tubing with good results. While 5/32” works, I found it difficult to insert the cord. Cut the tubing into approximately 1” lengths, two for each point you want to make. These are your aglets.
If you decide to use the whole length of tubing (it’s commonly sold in three-foot lengths) you may want to cut the last two lengths in half; any errors in the lengths of the aglets will accumulate at the end of the tubing, and cutting the last two aglets in half will result in one point per batch having shorter but even tips.
The best tool for cutting the tubing is, surprise, surprise, a tubing cutter. You can also use a hacksaw and a mitre box, but that will leave you with rough ends that need to be smoothed with a file or sandpaper, with no guarantee of a square cut, unlike the tubing cutter.
Once the aglets are cut, it’s time to cut the cord. I use braided cotton cord such as Venetian blind cord, about 9/64” in diameter. Cut about a one-foot length and pull the core from the braid.
Roll the cut end between your fingers and carefully push it into an aglet. You can ease the aglet onto the cord by twisting and pushing, and you may find waxing the end of the cord helpful.
Once the end of the cord is even with the other end of the aglet, pinch the aglet with a crimping tool such as those used for connecting terminals to small wires.
Crimp near the cord end of the aglet, then repeat the process for the other end of the cord.
Congratulations! You have made your first point. Now all you need to do is repeat the process until you have all the points you need.
You can also use different materials for the cord. Period portraiture often shows ribbons with aglets used as points. You can do this simply by substituting half- or three-quarter-inch ribbon for the braided cord. Lucet cord would also work, but you may need to use a different diameter tubing; take a sample of your lucet cord to the craft store and find tubing that fits. I do not recommend using leather lace; I have found that crimping leather crushes the fibers and causes the aglets to break off.