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Kumihimo finishing techniques: Glue and end cap with loops or a magnetic clasp

Magnetic clasps are great for finishing kumihimo ropes. Most varieties have a magnet on one end and an opening on the other, which is where the end of the braid is inserted. End caps have an opening on one end and a loop on the other, to which you can attach a jump ring and clasp.

Two-part epoxy is the only glue that makes a permanent bond, and it is recommended for all glue-on clasps and end caps. The epoxy forms a secure bond between the finding and the braid, even when there is a small amount of empty space in the finding. Any brand of epoxy will work, but Loctite brand Heavy Duty 5-Minute Epoxy is handy because it comes in plastic bottles rather than tubes. The bottles prevent the glue from oozing out, whereas tubes get messy very quickly.

Photo a
Choosing a clasp or end cap

For design and proportion, choose a clasp or end cap that is about the same diameter as the braid (photo a). The braid does not need to fill the entire opening of the finding. No beads need to be glued inside the finding.

Photo b
Gluing the clasp or end cap

Have the braid, finding, and a toothpick (or applicator) prepared and ready before mixing the epoxy. First, do a dry fit with the braid end. Trim any excess cords if necessary. Sometimes it is possible to glue both ends at the same time. However, this is not recommended on your first attempt. Get comfortable with the process first.

1. Stand the finding on end with the opening facing up. This way gravity will keep the epoxy inside the finding and not on the beads. If the magnet is flush with the bottom of the finding, you can place it on a metal bench block (photo b)
Photo c
Photo d

Or you can place the finding in the center hole of a plastic bobbin (photo c), or secure it in a vise or even a ring clamp (photo d).

Photo e
Photo f

2. Use a discarded plastic bag or a piece of aluminum foil for mixing the epoxy. Dispense equal amounts from each tube, and let it sit for several minutes. Once the epoxy settles, it is easier to see if both amounts are equal. If you are not sure, go with more hardener than resin. As long as the two parts are not touching or mixed together, the epoxy can sit for a long time. Once mixed, the working time is only a few minutes. Mix both parts together until they are well blended.

3. Use a toothpick to fill the opening with epoxy about half way, and spread epoxy all the way up the sides.

4. Insert the braid end into the finding opening. If necessary, remove the braid end to either add or remove some of the epoxy. Too little epoxy might not form a secure bond. Too much epoxy will force glue into the beaded braid or onto the clasp. Re-insert the braid end, firmly holding the braid in place while pushing down for several minutes. Immediately wipe off any excess glue. If desired, use a third-hand tweezer to suspend the braid over the finding as it dries (photo e).

5. Let it dry in position for about one hour. Repeat the process with the other end of the clasp. Let the epoxy cure for at least 24 hours before the finished piece is worn.

6. If you used end caps with loops, open a jump ring, and attach the end cap to a clasp loop (photo f).

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