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Old 08-10-01, 12:01 PM   #1
mike
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Hint on finishing cable ends

Man, I see a lot of frayed cable ends! I guess the finishing touches have been lost over time.

I had a neighbor kid come over the other day and asked if I could fix his brakes on his new bike. The cables were so frayed, they looked like an old toothbrush. "Did your pappy do some work on the brakes?" I asked. "No, we brought it back to K-mart where we bought it and asked them to fix it, but the brakes still don't work" he said.

Look, most of us don't have the big box of 400 cable end blunts and most of us don't have the skill to solder the cable ends either. Tape wrapping is promising, but doesn't work well.

Here is a simple solution : finish the raw cable ends with a lead fishing sinker. Just open it up, slip the cable end inside the sinker, and mash it flat with a pliers. Done - professional, beautiful, and lasting.

If you are a perfectionist, use a torch to semi melt the sinker to a droplet shape.
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Old 08-10-01, 12:17 PM   #2
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That is seriously brilliant! I always have a scratch on my right calf from my frayed cable ends, quite annoying! Im going to go do this tonight!
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Old 08-10-01, 06:36 PM   #3
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That is much better than my crimping rivets on the end. I'll be heading to ---mart sporting goods this weekend!
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Old 08-10-01, 07:28 PM   #4
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Have you ever considered getting real cable ends at your LBS? They cost less than 10cents. and go on very quickly. How much are sinkers? It seems, from your description, there is alot of work involved. Maybe I'm too lazy.
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Old 08-10-01, 07:56 PM   #5
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Thanks, Mike!
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Old 08-10-01, 08:00 PM   #6
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I always used old spoke nipples crimped on the end of the cable. Free and provide a pretty clean look. One old wheel provides a pretty good supply. I did finally buy a bag of real cable ends from The Third Hand when I placed a small parts order last year.
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Old 08-10-01, 09:51 PM   #7
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I like Mike's idea, but of course lead is a substance even more toxic than coffee, so many will object to its use.

Something else that works is shrink-wrap tubing obtainable at Radio Shack or hardware stores for use in insulating wires. You put a little piece on the end of the cable and heat it with a lighter (more environmental hazards, sorry) and voila (sorry I don't have time for accent marks tonight) the job's done.
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Old 08-11-01, 01:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by ljbike
Have you ever considered getting real cable ends at your LBS? They cost less than 10cents. and go on very quickly. How much are sinkers? It seems, from your description, there is alot of work involved. Maybe I'm too lazy.
My suggestion is for those who need cable ends for a repair job, don't have 'em, and don't want to run to the LBS for them. Most people have Some LBS won't sell them individually. That is the case with one of the LBS here. Of course, REAL cable ends are best, but they are also specific to the cable diameter. I hate having exactly what I need in the exact WRONG size.

Hey, I do like some of the other creative ideas on this thread though, like RiderX using old spoke nipples or JonR's idea of using shrink wrap tubing (IF you happen to have shrink wrap tubing laying around).

Last edited by mike; 08-11-01 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 08-12-01, 10:13 PM   #9
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Solder works pretty well too. The beauty of solder is that you seal the ends but it is clean enough that you can pull the cable back and forth through the housing without it fraying. Need to use a little resin though and get the materials that will work with stainless steel.
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Old 08-12-01, 11:39 PM   #10
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Yes, solder is ideal for the reasons pointed out by dirtsqueezer.

However, solder is just beyond the materials and know-how of the average cat. Sure, it is easy if you have the material, tools, and experience, but most people only have one bike and don't keep a solder gun with solder & resin around for that opportunity to fix cable ends or fix the old radio. Ya know what I mean?

You are invited to my garage to solder, though, 'cause it really is super.
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Old 08-13-01, 12:21 PM   #11
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Something else that actually works quite well is electrical tape.

Cut a short piece & wrap it tightly around and around the end of the cable, in the same direction as the twist in the wires.

I did this awhile ago as a "temporary measure", and it's worked so well I left it like that.

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Old 08-13-01, 02:34 PM   #12
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A little "trick" we used to use in England was to cut a short piece of the plastic covering from an electric cable (checkit is of the right size) and slip it over the brake/gear cable end. You can often find a piece which will match your frame colour. That was before we could buy the modern "crimp-ons"
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Old 08-13-01, 02:57 PM   #13
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I've been using superglue recently. Seems to work quite well. I've also been dealing with some rather old bikes where the brakes tend to have got a little gunked up, so superglue means I can push the cable through some pretty mucky cable housing (with much WD40!).

Those are some pretty good suggestions though. I'll have to try some.
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Old 08-16-01, 02:39 PM   #14
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I tried something new last night (too brain-dead to solder). Installed a new brake cable, stripped the insulation off a 14 gage grounding wire and slid that onto cable. Secured it with super glue. Thanks for the ideas. I'd still prefer solder, but with my talent on the gun, I'd still be in the garage trying to make it work.
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Old 08-16-01, 03:33 PM   #15
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No problem -- Glad to be of assistance "Fausto"
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Old 08-16-01, 04:01 PM   #16
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Another "little trick". Your local Radio Shack sells something or can get lighter solder. It comes in a tube like a syringe, it works with a cigarette lighter. Used it for years one tube will last and last and last.
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Old 08-16-01, 04:09 PM   #17
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Hmmm, still got brakes to do on the wife's bike and a new derailluer (sp) on mine. I think a trip to the shack is in order.....
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Old 02-10-02, 04:40 PM   #18
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Damnit! I have spent months looking for ANY info on an my old Iron Horse with some sort of an air/oil rear shock made by Marzzochi(the sticker was Marzzochi)! Then I come across this great forum and I get sucked into a discussion of those stupid cable ends. I can fully appreciate, now, what keeping them neat and clean can do to prevent and eliminate headaches and further repairs in the future.
Soldering is probably the best ways in my opinion for all the previously mentioned benefits, but one was left out. When I solder the cable, I apply it over where the intended cut area will be. THEN I cut the cable. Bingo. The cable never even starts to fray. For those without a soldering iron etc., go to a hardware store or even a 'Dollar Store' and pick one up for 5-10 bucks. Read the instructions provided, or do some research on the web(just as you are now). It is a very simple process.
Hope you have luck.
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Old 02-10-02, 06:42 PM   #19
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Another tip to add to Jory's good advice, is to be sure any surface to be soldered is clean of all grime, crud, dirt, etc., or the solder won't stick properly. This means using emery or sandpaper to clean each individual strand if it's really corroded badly.

I like the idea of soldering first then cutting, great idea and welcome to the forum Jory.

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Old 02-10-02, 10:45 PM   #20
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i've used acrylic paint on mine. i cut the cable and stick the end in the tube of paint. The variety of colors is cool too!
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Old 02-11-02, 08:09 AM   #21
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I guess I took the easy way out and bought packs of 100 cable ends, brake and shifter, from The Third Hand. You may say "But Rainman, you only need 2 of each for each bike. Why buy 100 of each." You don't know how the Rainman is always moving stuff around and changing things.
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Old 02-11-02, 09:38 AM   #22
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Soldering is by far my first choice and milticore solder (electronic solder) has cores of resin inside it. One needs to burnish the cable first with fine emery cloth to improve solder flow. Then trim the excess cable afterwards.

Another is to use heatshrink tubing. A hair dryer will do the job nicely and this is an alternative for those that cannot solder.


BTW, if you solder the crimped area of a cable where it was clamped, you can then straighten it out later on as it stretches and you won't see the crimp too much. I have also placed a small blob of solder onto a cable to keep it from slipping in a clamp on some problematic components. The blob can always be melted away.
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Old 02-12-02, 12:35 PM   #23
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I wouldn't bother with the match solder (the thin ready fluxed strips you melt with a match) I suppose it sort of worked but it's hardly neat or overly secure

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Old 02-12-02, 02:35 PM   #24
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Besides, the carbon emitted from match/lighter flames contaminate the solder and make for lousy flow/adhesion.
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Old 05-07-02, 09:51 PM   #25
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I tried something this weekend that worked great for finishing cable ends - it works better than the lead fishing sinkers that I started the thread with.

I bought a bag of heat-shrinking electrical cable ends. Man, does that work sharp! I think somebody mentioned it somewhere in the BF.C, but it is worth mentioning again.

Of course, I wanted to use REAL metal cable ends that crimp onto the cable. My local LBS said they could give me 'some'. "SOME"? I don't want 'Some'. I want to buy a GOB, a scheiss-load, a whole ****** of them. Well NOOOOooooooo, that was out of the question.

So, I was forced to travel two miles down the road to the local hardware store to pick up the heat-shrinking cable ends for like a buck a pack. Man, SLICK! I bought black, but I'm going back for some reds. Who knows, if I can find other colors, I'm gettin' those too.
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