Bicycle Mechanics - Do Brake housings and Pliers get along?
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Cutting brake housings with regular pliers. Good idea/bad idea? Can I get away with it? Thanks
Cutting brake housings with regular pliers. Good idea/bad idea? Can I get away with it? ThanksIt's a good idea only if you want to crush the housing. Use a proper casing cutter or a dremel tool and cutoff wheel. A fine hacksw blade and light touch will work in a pinch.
I use a pair of diagonal cutters to cut brake housing and finish up by touching the end to a grinder wheel to make it flush.
Regular pliers do not have a sharp cutting surface and will crush the housing.
Diagonal cutters will do an ok job if you use proper technique. Grinding or filing for cleanup is essential. I really like to use a Dreml tool & a cutoff wheel for most cable housing cuts.
08-24-04, 07:39 PM
I agree with all of the above posts. There really isn't any substitute for the right tool to do any job.
But there's always this: Before I required as many tools as I have today, I had to make do with what I had. Everybody else pretty much finds themselves in that position from time to time too. If you decide that it's going to be necessary to cut cable housing with ordinary diagonal cutters, stick a piece of old shifter or brake cable into it first. That'll minimize (but not eliminate) the crushing effect. If you don't have a bench grinder, use a file to clean up the cut. It'll take a little longer, but then you probably don't charge yourself labor.
If you take a knife and cur through the plastic cover you can bend the housing to spread apart the steel coil in the housing. Just slip one edge of the cutter between two turns and cut across the turn at the opposite side. It's harder to explain than to do. There is no crushing and no need to stick a cable into the housing. I've cut plenty of brake housings this way and never have a problem. Two seconds on the grider and your ready to install.
08-25-04, 07:52 AM
Used to mess around with plyers for years until I got a Park cable/housing cutter: instant sharp, clean cut . Definitly one of the most indispensable bike-specific tools you need after maybe a crank extractor, cassette remover and a chain tool.
Here, here, Cycliste, I love mine, too :).
08-25-04, 11:01 AM
I don't have the bike-specific cable cutter, so I use a regular pair of (good) cutters.
The brake cable housing is usually crushed a bit, but a second cut of the indise spiral deals with the problem.
having tried the other ways, i can see without a doubt the cable cutters that are made for cutting cables/housing are WAY better than home-made methods. get the pliers (park tools or whatever; i have an old wrench science one). they're cheap and absolutely indispensable.
08-25-04, 02:51 PM
I notice woth my pliars that if I make two cuts, one diagonally that cuts and crushes the housing, then make a second cut to "clean it up" that it works perfectly. I've also cut them after sticking the tip of the brake cable inside the end of the housing. Just enough so that the cable prevents the housing from being crushed. A few mm is all that's nessisary. Or, do the front first since you'll end up cutting more off the cable anyway, then use the scrap to do the back. Works for me. Oh, and make sure you use the closest part of the cutters. :)
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