Most modern ties are stitched down the centre, so making it impossible to use the traditional padded tie former for finishing.

A rod-style tie former is the best alternative, but in my experience many cleaners are very critical of this method.

However, rod formers can, if used correctly, produce a superb finish. The problem is that they are not supplied with instructions.

The first step is to pre-heat the rods on the press or the ironing table using bottom steam. This avoids condensation forming on the rods during finishing. In some cases, the rods on new formers may need to be bent apart slightly to ensure they produce the correct tension in the narrow part of the tie. Then continue as follows.

Slide the two rods together at the end of the former.

Place the tie face down and insert the rods inside the tie, pushing them up to the point where the tie narrows.

Ensure that the rods are not restricted by the label stitching.

Slide the rods apart carefully until they exert tension along their whole length.

Smooth and stretch the tie on the rods if necessary.

Place the tie face down on the press or ironing table and apply bottom steam.

Then apply plenty of vacuum to cool the tie.

A strong vacuum will produce the best finish and the tie must be steamed face down.

Release the tension on the rods before removing the former.