I recently learned a new way to tip corset bones and I HAVE to share.
Continuous roll of spiral steel boning
Heat Shrink Tubing
The boning cutter is one I bought from corsetmaking.com. It works great. I believe it is just a cable cutter, but one made for cutting heavy steel cable. This is what happens if you try to cut steel bones with a cable cutter that's NOT made for cutting steel:
Step One: Measure the length of bone that you need, leaving room at either end of the corset for your binding. Cut your bone the necessary length.
Step Two: Trim the ends of the bone to remove any pointy or sharp bits. Here you can see the bone before and after trimming:
And now let's talk about different tipping methods. The typical method involves attaching little U-shaped metal bits to the end of the bone. You are supposed to do this with pliers (unless you have a really sweet machine to do it for you). I freaking hate those things. Getting them on the ends is really time-consuming and frustrating, but then they can still pop off. I've tried other methods of tipping bones, such as tool dipping fluid (which I really didn't like) and plumber's thread tape (which works ok, but isn't very neat.) But this one is the best.
This method uses heat-shrink tubing, which you can find at any hardware store. It comes in various widths and you just need to buy the size that your bones fit into. This is 1/4" wide tubing, which I'm using with my 1/4" wide bones.
Step Three: Cut a length of heat-shrink tubing about 3/4" long.
Step Four: Put the tubing over the end of the bone, with a good amount hanging off the end and hold it over a lit candle. The tubing will begin to shrink. Turn the bone to heat the tubing evenly. Don't get the tubing too close to the flame, or it will bubble and melt.
Step Five: Use the pliers to pinch the end of the tube closed at the end of the bone. You should do this while the tube is still warm.
Step Six: Trim the end of the flattened tubing to minimize sharp edges and corners. Don't cut too close to the bone or the tube will open again.
And you're done! Wasn't that easy?