Tips, tricks, tools for making bolo tie tips?

Hey! I’m making my first bolo tie, and tips for 3mm leather. I have no mandrel thin enough for these slim tips. I managed to make a pair from 22g sterling using my chasing hammer on a bench block, folding over the edges and forging them until the edges met. But they’re not “perfect”. A little ripple here and there along the seam. What tools do bolo tie experts use to form the cones?

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Make the cone you want in paper, unroll, then you have a template to trace. This makes matching them much easier.

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I take the short cut and buy them from Rio Grande.

Rick Copeland


Thank You! I have made a great pattern That works well, it’s the actual forming of the cone that I’m looking for insights on. It’s about the shape of a longer needle file, inside diameter of the cone top is only 3.3mm-ish. They’re 1-1/4” long.

Try worming them using a round nose plier half as your mandrel.

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forming not worming…sorry!

Another though is to buy a piece of brass rod and cut off however long you think that you will need. Chuck it into a cordless drill, pull the trigger and, while it is rotating in the drill chuck, grind it down into the shape that you want against a rotating grind wheel or sanding drum if you have one. It can be polished using a polishing wheel. I have a small metal lathe and would do this on the lathe.


Interesting! I have a rod, I’ll “give it a whirl” :joy:

Thank You for that idea! Also, was thinking I could probably go a thinner gauge, maybe 24 instead of 22. Here they are, you can see the little ripple along the seam in the one in front.

Thanks again!


I do. That’s frustrating. You might also consider turning a coil of fine wire up a tapered object and then flowing solder into it to stabilize the coil. The tip can be made by balling up some scrap and then form the shape using a dapping block. I like the slide. Our father made and wore bolo ties for years. Don may still have one that he could photograph and post. Good luck…Rob

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Rob is correct. Dad was a fan of bolo ties and made a bunch of them. I have one slide with an immense Buffalo head. I’ll look and see about others.

But this photo example is more artful than Dad’s. He would be impressed with the work. When it came to the tips he did them, if he did them, with the coil on a taper method. Otherwise he bought them. I made him a couple of forming tapers out of steel but I never found them in his gear.

I think 22 ga. is too heavy for sheet however. The few I have made were .26 ga. or thinner.

Excellent work.

Don Meixner.



Thank You so much for the kind words! I like to roll print my metal before making things like tips so am determined to make a forming taper now and perfect my process.

Is there a place I can go online to see your Dads work? Sounds beautiful.

I appreciate You and Rob taking the time to help me out. Thank You! :two_hearts:

Renee Crum

use a carpenters nail set as a mandrel for the bolo tips



Here is s photo of one of my Bolo ties. It actually started life as a bit of flash for a Bagpiper’s Sporan. It is Sterling, copper, and horn. The tie itself is a strip of lattigo with no points.

Rob forwarded to me a photo of our mother’s bracelets, all made by our Dad, some go back to the 1940’s, and I’ll forward those along a little later on.

Don Meixner

Let’s try this photo business again.

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Wow! I love it! So unusual, I love that it’s from a bagpipers sporran. My hubby is Angus. He’ll appreciate it too. Lol. Thank You for sharing this!