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Need suggestions cutting brake housings

Old 02-18-24, 11:28 AM
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Need suggestions cutting brake housings

Suggestions, please. Noobie question.

Last night, I changed out the cables and housings on my 8-year-old daughter's bike, mostly to make them pink, but there were some issues as well.

I'd successfully changed, if I recall correctly, 5 other bike cables in the past year. I use a new Park cable cutter, so I don't figure that is my problem.

Anyhow, the shift cables cut just fine, but I had problems not crushing the thicker short sections of brake housing. I ended up throwing one fresh-cut section away because it had crappy cuts on both ends. I've learned that a bad cut can cause a lot of drag on the cable.

Putting a section of cable into the housing before cutting the housing and cutting both helps substantially. Is that the best practice? How do you make the short sections of housing and then extract the bit of cable left inside if you go that route?
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Old 02-18-24, 11:38 AM
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Just open up the ends using a pick or awl, and clean up the jaggies with a file, sandpaper, or bench grinder.
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Old 02-18-24, 11:46 AM
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I use my Park cable cutter to cut the housing also (without the cable in it). Then I file the cut to remove and burrs or barbs. Sometimes I use a handheld file. Sometimes I use the grinding wheel.

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Old 02-18-24, 11:54 AM
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Are you suggesting that you cut the cable housing with the cable inside?
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Old 02-18-24, 11:58 AM
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I use the side cutting pliers for regular brake housing. I use my knipex cable cutters for compressionless housing. I like your idea of shoving in a piece of inner wire for a supported cut to keep the shape of the housing and will try this.
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Old 02-18-24, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Are you suggesting that you cut the cable housing with the cable inside?
Yes
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Old 02-18-24, 12:02 PM
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Cutting the spiral brake cable housing with my nice Park Tool cutters always left a mangled spur of the spiral metal. I usually try for a fast, hard squeeze on the cutter, instead of a slow cut.

I have a bench grinder, which grinds it flat and perfect in no time. (dip in water to keep it cool so the liner doesn't melt.)
A Dremel or a file works too.

I have a fat sewing needle (maybe for darning?) that opens up the liner hole easily.
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Old 02-18-24, 12:02 PM
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I just reshape the hole with an awl afterwards. It usually needs just a little help (I have Park Tool cutters too)
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Old 02-18-24, 12:15 PM
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Sometimes I cut a second time at an end to clean up the coil end if it is crushed or an odd angling.
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Old 02-18-24, 12:40 PM
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You wouldn't want to cut the cables and housing together anyway but in this case it can cause more problems. In terms of cutting some cutters will have a awl at the end but you could do it with a separate awl. If you have good housing cutters you are less likely to have to do anything beyond maybe using an awl. Sometimes cutting can not be even so you might need to file it.
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Old 02-18-24, 01:04 PM
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Despite that Park Tool claims, I only use my CN-10 for cutting shift cables.

Brake housing is a hard spiral code, not like the strands in shift cables.

I don't want to dull my pretty tool that I depend a lot on cutting cables flawlessly.

A grinder makes a flat cut all the time.

Sometimes I use my dremel too when I want a "nicer" cut.
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Old 02-18-24, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
Yes
With high quality cutter you shouldnít have to do that. If absolutely square ends are required you could use a grinder as suggested. Iíve never had such a requirement, personally. I have the Park cutters and they seem sufficient, but I too prefer the older Shimano TL-CT 10. If the internal liner is getting crushed closed, some people use an old spoke sharpened to a point to open up the liner.
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Old 02-18-24, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
You wouldn't want to cut the cables and housing together anyway but in this case it can cause more problems.
Not necessarily the new cable - I was using a scrap from the old cable to hold the shape of the new housing while I cut it.
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Old 02-18-24, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
Not necessarily the new cable - I was using a scrap from the old cable to hold the shape of the new housing while I cut it.
That definitely isnít necessary. The housing shouldnít crush with quality cutters, which should mostly slide between the coils of the housing before slicing through.
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Old 02-18-24, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by soyabean
A grinder makes a flat cut all the time.

Sometimes I use my dremel too when I want a "nicer" cut.
I use a cordless angle grinder with a cutoff blade all the time. Works great.
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Old 02-18-24, 04:39 PM
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Never ever cut a new cable before you're finished threading it through everything it needs to be threaded through, and attached it with a pinch bolt. And always cap it when you're done.
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Old 02-18-24, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Are you suggesting that you cut the cable housing with the cable inside?
That's how it's done, just make sure you don't cut the cable too short, or use a scrap piece. or a Dremel, Or an awl after you jack it up....
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Old 02-18-24, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
Never ever cut a new cable before you're finished threading it through everything it needs to be threaded through, and attached it with a pinch bolt. And always cap it when you're done.
The problem occurs when you have a road pear and mtb barrel; one on each end. You have to cut one off. I try to cut as close as possible, but even then, if you catch a strand it can sometimes ruin the cable.

Iíve moved away from them, but still have some new ones lying around.

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Old 02-18-24, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
That's how it's doneÖ
Not in any shop Iíve ever worked in.
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Old 02-18-24, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
Not necessarily the new cable - I was using a scrap from the old cable to hold the shape of the new housing while I cut it.
Still wouldn't need that at all. Just use good cutters (they do make housing cutters) and finish the end as needed.
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Old 02-18-24, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Not in any shop Iíve ever worked in.
Time is money.
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Old 02-18-24, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
The problem occurs when you have a road pear and mtb barrel; one on each end. You have to cut one off. I try to cut as close as possible, but even then, if you catch a strand it can sometimes ruin the cable.
My gosh, it's been so long since I've seen those that I forgot they existed. There also were shift cables with different barrel styles on each end. Such were the days.
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Old 02-18-24, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by wheelreason
Time is money.
Would take more time to insert cable into the housing and cutting it, than just cutting it.
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Old 02-18-24, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat
My gosh, it's been so long since I've seen those that I forgot they existed. There also were shift cables with different barrel styles on each end. Such were the days.
Interesting you say that. The cables I installed that got me started on this thread were that exact style where step one is to cut off the style of end you don't want. Seemed like a genius idea to me.
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Old 02-18-24, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4
would take more time to insert cable into the housing and cutting it, than just cutting it.
ok
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