Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 30
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    103
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    how to cut cable housings clean

    Sorry if this is basic. But I've been having trouble cutting brake cable housings cleanly; at least half the time the housing is sort of mashed at the end where I've made the cut, and I have to either push hard on the cable to make it go through, or (sometimes) I stick a nail in to open things up.

    I'm using a brand new Park Tools cable / cable housing cutter. I've tried doing it fast, and I've tried it slow, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Any suggestions?

    Thanks...

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    231
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    On brake housing I use the park cutter then follow that with some cleanup with a flat file and then a nail to make sure the inner lining is opened up. Some people use with a rotary tool (dremel) with a cutoff wheel. I try to cut at 90 deg but this never seems to happen cleanly with the spiral steel housing so the file is nice to clean up with.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    My Bikes
    Giant CRX
    Posts
    224
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacfarinas View Post
    Sorry if this is basic. But I've been having trouble cutting brake cable housings cleanly; at least half the time the housing is sort of mashed at the end where I've made the cut, and I have to either push hard on the cable to make it go through, or (sometimes) I stick a nail in to open things up.

    I'm using a brand new Park Tools cable / cable housing cutter. I've tried doing it fast, and I've tried it slow, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Any suggestions?

    Thanks...
    I haven't tried it but I recently read that a Dremel tool does a good job.

  4. #4
    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Quahog, RI
    My Bikes
    Giant TCR Comps, Cdale R5000, Klein Q-Pro, Litespeed Siena, Piasano 105, Redline Conquest Pro, Voodoo Bizango, Fuji Aloha
    Posts
    1,509
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by bmorey View Post
    I haven't tried it but I recently read that a Dremel tool does a good job.
    Dremel is the ONLY way to go. Plus, if you don't already have one, it's a great opportunity to buy a new tool!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    88
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Dremel does a fantastic job at cutting cables. On my first try, it wasn't perfect. So, thereafter, I just put a small piece of black tape around the cable to be cut and I got excellent cuts from the Dremel.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
    Posts
    24,788
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One trick to using a cable cutter for brake housing is to be sure the upper jaw is positioned to slip between the coils of the reinforcing wire. That way you avoid crushing it as you cut. Then use a flat file to smooth up any small burrs and a big needle or small nail to round out the liner.

    Actually, I find a pair of quality side-cutter pliers works better than specific cable cutters for brake housing. The purpose-built cable cutters are far better for shift housing and all inner wires.

    I've tried a Dremel too and find the cutting heat tends to melt the outer cover so you have to work slowly.
    Last edited by HillRider; 08-18-08 at 06:39 AM.

  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Helsinki, Finland
    Posts
    5,182
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I put a piece of old, discarded cable inside the housing, then cut through both the housing and cable. The cable prevents crushing well enough.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


    Become a Registered Member in Bike Forums
    Community guidelines

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,414
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Brake housing, side cutters then look at the end to make sure you didn't bend the wire over so it interferes with the hole. If you did, just nip off a piece till it is clean.

    Der cable housing, dremel.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  9. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    30
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I had the same trouble with the Park Tool. No matter how you position it you often get a partially deformed housing that has to be re-formed - and you almost always have file work to do. The Dremel with cut-off wheel works very well, the high rpm cutter buzzes through the housing more cleanly, without deformation. I cut cable housing by resting it on a block of wood.

    If you still have trouble, try using a soft copper or aluminum rod or wire as an inner mandrel like our friend in Helsinki, then bring the Dremel down straight through the whole enchilada.
    Last edited by Deserted; 08-18-08 at 04:30 PM.

  10. #10
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    La La Land (We love it!)
    My Bikes
    Gilmour road, Curtlo road
    Posts
    2,538
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Any sharp cutter followed by a touch to the old grinder.
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  11. #11
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    The Sunny South
    Posts
    1,388
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I've tried a Dremel too and find the cutting heat tends to melt the outer cover so you have to work slowly.
    Sounds like your running the tool too slow. The longer it takes; the more it allows heat to build up. Run your tool as fast as you can safely use it and cut it quickly. Be sure you're using a cutting disk too, and not a grinding stone.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
    Posts
    24,788
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
    Sounds like your running the tool too slow. The longer it takes; the more it allows heat to build up. Run your tool as fast as you can safely use it and cut it quickly. Be sure you're using a cutting disk too, and not a grinding stone.
    My Dremel is a single speed so I have no choice. I did use a cut-off wheel, both the brittle very thin type and the thicker, more durable fiber reinforced ones. Both wanted to melt the housing cover unless I fed it really slowly.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    63
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I just use a pair of side-cut pliers and to smooth it down, use a grinder, electric sander or tape a piece of sandpaper to your bench and rub the cable across until flat. As previous posters mentioned, Dremels or any rotor-like device with sanding capabilities works great.

  14. #14
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Southern NH
    Posts
    1,453
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    My advice is pretty basic ... I get clean cuts reliably by just making sure I do a strong and fast cut. Don't be afraid to use two hands. Squeeze those cutters fast and as strong as you can. If you dillydally about the cut, you are almost guaranteed a lousy cut. Think ninja/samurai ;-)))) Clean up brake housing with a grinder. If you need to clean up shift housing, you are doing something really wrong.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

  15. #15
    Steel Member fiataccompli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    My Bikes
    N + 1
    Posts
    1,376
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    anything wrong with a good, stout pair of general cable cutters used briskly as described above. I've got a huge (like, 24") set for car repair, though I've been meaning to pick up a smaller set for bike work anyway.

  16. #16
    Hanging On
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    818
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    I put a piece of old, discarded cable inside the housing, then cut through both the housing and cable. The cable prevents crushing well enough.

    --J
    +1. Very easy procedure, works every time.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    My Bikes
    Vintage Miele
    Posts
    713
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Just make the cut quick, and then trim off any misshapen metal by angling the cutters to just cut off the part thats deformed... so:

    1) Cut to length

    2) Use the same cutters to do some detailed clean up to make sure theres no bent coil protruding.

    If you have a bench grinder, thats a plus. You can put the housing to the grinder and get a perfect, 90 degree, perfectly filed end. If you don't have a grinder, don't waste your time with dremels and files. The snip and cleanup method works just fine. In this department, perfectionism probably won't pay off with improved function.

  18. #18
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tacfarinas View Post
    Sorry if this is basic. But I've been having trouble cutting brake cable housings cleanly; at least half the time the housing is sort of mashed at the end where I've made the cut, and I have to either push hard on the cable to make it go through, or (sometimes) I stick a nail in to open things up.

    I'm using a brand new Park Tools cable / cable housing cutter. I've tried doing it fast, and I've tried it slow, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. Any suggestions?

    Thanks...
    I used a dremel tool to cut the cable housing (Black and Decker Wizard) using a cutting disc. Then I used the disc to smooth out and level the end. Finally, I used a seal pick to open up the plastic inner housing.

    - djmod
    1995 Schwinn s[9.five] .6 Hardtail MTB
    2007 Fuji Roubaix Road Bike

  19. #19
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    My Bikes
    Kestral 200 2002 Trek 5200, KHS Flite, Koga Miyata, Schwinn Spitfire 5, Schwinn Speedster, Mondia Special, Univega Alpina
    Posts
    2,813
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If I'm making alot of cuts, I'll put an abrasive blade on my mitre saw. Ice pick to clean up end.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by djmod View Post
    I used a dremel tool to cut the cable housing (Black and Decker Wizard) using a cutting disc. Then I used the disc to smooth out and level the end. Finally, I used a seal pick to open up the plastic inner housing.
    Holly crap. I dunn think the OP is looking to do THIS MUCH work. He's got what is, a specialty tool for the job, so he was expecting one-tool, one cut (yeah right).

  21. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Chicago, IL, USA
    My Bikes
    1974 Raleigh Sports
    Posts
    307
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, ya'll are really making me want to get myself a Dremel...I had one as a kid, but my older sister eventually ran off with it to college, and I never saw it again.

    For me, diagonal pliers and a file do the job, albeit slowly. I'd agree that one only gets a good housing cut about half the time with pliers; when the housing gets messed up, move inward 1/8" and try again. I almost always get a good cut in 2-3 tries. When the housing has a reasonably good cut, I use a file and mill the face of the housing down until it's really flat and round and perpendicular to the cable axis.

    Regardless of the method, my experience is that it pays to be psycho about getting the housings just right. An extra 10 minutes here gives your brakes an action as precise and solid as a bank vault.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    93
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've found that a waterjet gives the cleanest and most consistent cuts. A jig at work really helps with setting the length.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    1,151
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by the_mac View Post
    I've found that a waterjet gives the cleanest and most consistent cuts. A jig at work really helps with setting the length.
    Yeah-yeah, but my argon laser cuts faster then your water jet.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    My Bikes
    1999 Norco ht mtb/2006 C'dale road bike/2007 Colnago CLX
    Posts
    2,698
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use the Park cable cutter as well. I use a small screw driver to open it back up and widen the opening, use the cutter again to trim the edges so it's flat, then file it a little. To me, the trimming part is important for the brake cables to get the surface smooth. As for the derailleur cable, I use the crimping part of the cutter gently to make the cable circular again.

  25. #25
    Senior Member squirtdad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Jose (Willow Glen) Ca
    My Bikes
    '89 Miyata 1400, '82 nishiski (current utilty/commuter project)
    Posts
    3,099
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Does the park tool have a little gizmo on the side with a pin.....just for opening up the mashed housing? My cable cutter does....forget the brand...got it at Performance.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •