My search for a suitable grommet (eyelet)

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My search for a suitable grommet (eyelet)

Post: # 28379Post wonkywheel
May 23rd, 2020, 12:03 pm

In the process of trying to make my own side awning, I came up against a problem finding and using satisfactory tie-down grommets.

I would like to point out that this is purely my own experience and the results, good or bad, could be just down to my procedures.
This is just a record of my journey to something I am happy with.

Image The awning material, keder pipe and awning rail

The material alone was quite expensive so I wanted grommets that would not spoil the overall appearance.
My first purchase was a random buy off eBay. From the picture and description, the items seemed perfectly adequate for my needs. Although the setting tools came with a few grommets, I did order extra as I anticipated fitting quite a few to aid erection and a stable tie-down. Being unsure of the size that I would need I ordered both 3/8 of an inch and 1/2 an inch hole size.

Image Image

The two-piece grommets looked good and were well-formed. The setting tools looked adequate although, as an ex-engineer, the surface finish could have been better.
Initially I cut a hole in the test material with scissors but, that was not only tedious but I couldn't get a good result. So I purchased a couple of hole punches (for leather). This made hole making and positioning very easy.
I had quite a few goes at getting the perfect grommet but only had one that I was happy with. I tried different procedures and found gentle progressive tapping gave the best results. Care had to be taken doing this as the washer part had a tendency to move slightly out of position giving the "Marty Feldman" look.

Image Image Image

Quite a few had a split rim. I think this was due to hitting to hard too quick. I did try to counter this by annealing the two parts before fitting. I did this by heating them up witha gas torch until a very dull red. Too much and the small return on the edges started to melt. Much lower temperatures could have been used but that would have required them to soak for a while.
The annealed grommets went in OK. You could still get the "Marty" look and the annealing process made the brass dull. It was very difficult to polish with wire wool without marking the awning material.
With the results being a little varied and with so many to do I looked to see if another supplier would be more satisfactory.

The next looked again as if it would meet my exacting standards. It came with a bag of grommets. There were not quite enough for my needs so I purchased two sets. It was as cheap as buying a separate second bag of grommets.


On opening the first tool, which came with a few grommets to get you going, I was unsure about their suitability as the washer part was cut with serrated teeth around the center hole. Image

In theory I suppose they would grip the material better. The setting tool was hinged, which ensured location in one direction seemed a little difficult to handle. Again a number of attempts were made with varying results. None of which I was happy to put on my awning.

Image Image Image Image

OK, back to the drawing board.
In an effort to find a quality item I remembered Zildan pointing me in the direction of a ships chandlery for bungee ball fittings.
A search through a few chandleries resulted in, what I see as a quality engineered set.

Image Again, more grommets to make the numbers.

This time I settled on one size, 11mm. A bit bigger than the 3/8 but smaller than the 1/2 inch.
The results were just what I was looking for Image


Just the look I wanted. Not as cheap as the other options at £28 but the American made parts supplied by an English engineering company looked to be CNC turned parts.

So in my book the winner is

H.Weber & Sons Ltd

suppying parts made by

C,S,Osborne and Co USA

In conclusion, I would hope that this helps anyone else looking for that perfect grommet in their awning or tarpaulin.
"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm" .......(Winston Churchill)

2007 Ford Ranger "Thunder" 4x4
Camper aedificavit domum

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