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Cable Cutters

Old 07-06-06, 07:28 PM
  #1  
seth556
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Cable Cutters

I am about to put new cables on my bike and I dont really want to spend $20 or $30 on some cable cutters and wanted to know if there was something else I could use like wire cutters or crimpers that I could buy for $2?

Something like this: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=36411 or http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=92348
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Old 07-06-06, 08:15 PM
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Option #1 -- probably not.

Option #2 -- definitely not.

The trick is getting a clean cut. Your first option will probably squish the cable and fray the end. Dedicated cable cutters are the way to go.
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Old 07-06-06, 08:18 PM
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Crimping, just use a good pair of plyers.
Cutting cables without splaying the stands require very sharp V shape jaws. the ****s shown is no different than what you buy at the hardware store, it is meant to cut soft electrical wire. Cutting the harder tuffer brake cables and they may fail miserably and then you'll be left with a half cut, half bent and fully splayed cable...useless.

I use a roto tool cutting disc for the housings and for the cable. wrap the cable with tape where you want to cut to prevent splaying. Unlike bike cable cutters, a rotary tool is so useful for so many other things, definitely a worthwhile investment.

just an opinion, others may differ
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Old 07-06-06, 08:53 PM
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I agree. I have cable cutters but I've decided that I like using my dremel better. the cuts are much cleaner and don't require nearly as much touching up as when I use the cable cutters. To keep the cables from splaying, I've tried super glue and it works ok, but lately I've been using heat shrink tubing. I shrink it on, then cut with the dremel.
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Old 07-06-06, 09:05 PM
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Would applying some solder to the point of the cut be an option to prevent splaying/fraying?
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Old 07-06-06, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by heyjaffy
Would applying some solder to the point of the cut be an option to prevent splaying/fraying?
Cables are sometimes made of stainless steel, solder won't take to those. For regular steel cables that works, you need new clean cable and to flux the cable to get the solder to take.
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Old 07-06-06, 09:31 PM
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I thought about trying these. For under $10, might be worth a try.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=40507
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Old 07-06-06, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Speedub.Nate
Option #1 -- probably not.

Option #2 -- definitely not.

The trick is getting a clean cut. Your first option will probably squish the cable and fray the end. Dedicated cable cutters are the way to go.
The second pair of cutters would do a better job of cutting then the first pair. It's probably be a crappy cut but it would be closer the cut you'd get from a cable cutter.
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Old 07-06-06, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ray Dockrey
I thought about trying these. For under $10, might be worth a try.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=40507
Those would be much better. Harbor Freight tool quality isn't the best but they might stand up to the thin cables that bicycles use. At least for a while
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Old 07-06-06, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by heyjaffy
Would applying some solder to the point of the cut be an option to prevent splaying/fraying?
My electrician friend/cyclist used to do that. I recently tried it. I suck. He was great. His cable ends were nice and smooth. I think he used different type of soldering material maybe.
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Old 07-07-06, 06:09 AM
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Ok I'll use my dremel to cut the wires and housing, thanks for the tips guys. Oh and for the soldering thing I think he just had a lot more experence. When I first learned to solder I sucked really bad but now I'm pretty good at it.
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Old 07-07-06, 06:49 AM
  #12  
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Do not buy any of the tools linked to here for cutting cables, you will be sorely disappointed. The OP is wise to stick with his dremel if he doesn't want to shell out for an expensive tool.
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Old 07-07-06, 07:08 AM
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Another option to your cable end control is heat shrink tubing.

(link) http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=130064

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Old 07-07-06, 07:13 AM
  #14  
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If there is one area where buying cheap is very poor economy, it's tools. Not only is the cheap tool a poor investment, it also damages the things you are working on. Good tools are a very long term, maybe lifetime, investment. Buy good, buy once.
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Old 07-07-06, 08:54 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by HillRider
If there is one area where buying cheap is very poor economy, it's tools. Not only is the cheap tool a poor investment, it also damages the things you are working on. Good tools are a very long term, maybe lifetime, investment. Buy good, buy once.
Absolutely. Besides, it's not like we're talking about a bottom bracket cutting tool or some other $500 investment. The difference between the Park cable cutter and a "this one might work" model is like $25 (and the Park cutter is cheaper than a Park cutter + broken cheap tool). A year from now you won't even miss that money but you might still be cursing the cheap tool.
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Old 07-07-06, 09:25 AM
  #16  
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Even with the correct tool it's good to dress the cut end even (flush) with a fine file or grinding wheel.

The above applies to cable housings.
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Old 07-07-06, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by tonyt
Even with the correct tool it's good to dress the cut end even (flush) with a fine file or grinding wheel.

The above applies to cable housings.
Which makes the roto tool even more appealing.

Hillrider - my sentiments exactly, tools, buy good quality, buy once - having been trained by machinists, the qualities of a person's tool's is a reflection on the quality of the person. "tools" apply to whatever one uses to support one's art.

Re- soldiering - I believe a high silver content soldier will work with stainless (from what was read about tieing and soldiering spokes). cleaning up the flux (esp acid based) can be an issue on cables (wicking effect).
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Old 07-07-06, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by tonyt
Even with the correct tool it's good to dress the cut end even (flush) with a fine file or grinding wheel.

The above applies to cable housings.
Yep! Even with a proper cutter you still need to dress the end. I simply cut the cable 1/4" longer than required and use a bench grinder to grind that 1/4" off. If your going to solder steel cable ends its best to cut the cable slightly longer than required, solder the area where the cut will be made, and then cut through the soldered area to finish.
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Old 07-07-06, 11:57 AM
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I've heard that the Shimano cable cutter is the best. I don't know that it's true or people just thinks it's the best because it costs more.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:38 PM
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I used my dremel to cut the cable today and it worked well. The only thing I didnt like was it melted some of the plastic around the inner part and put plastic into the hole. But I used a drill the the size of the inner tube and go the plastic out easily. Thanks for the info guys. BTW If I replace my cables again I'll use a Park cutter.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:58 PM
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Just get a dedicated cable/housing cutter. Like this one at Nashbar for $12.95.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

It's shaped so that it doesn't slide out like a wire cutter, so the cuts are cleaner. Cutting housings will be a major pain with standard wire cutters.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by n4zou
Yep! Even with a proper cutter you still need to dress the end.
I'm not so sure about that. I use the Park cable cutter, and have not really felt the need to dress the cable ends. Now, dressing the cable housing is a whole different story. For the housing I cut it with the cable cutter, dress the end with a Dremel, then ream out the melted blob of plastic inner housing with an awl. But I digress...

As other's have mentioned, the heat shrink tubing works great for cable ends. Although, usually I just mix up some JB Weld (two-part metal epoxy), and dab it on the cable end. I leave enough slack on the end of the cable so I can cut the epoxy off and re-use the cable.

I used to use a bull-nose pliers to cut cables, but I usually succeeded in squashing and fraying the ends. Using the right tool for the job cannot be emphasized enough.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:38 PM
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I've always used the cutters on my linemans pliers to cut cable and casing. But they are very, very high quality pliers. The two tools the OP linked will not work. They are softer than SS cables and the cable will notch the cutter.

As for soldering cable ends. Regular old electronics solder works fine. The key is using a flux made for stainless. Can be bought anywhere brazing supplies are sold. Here is the desc. at mcmaster.com

Stainless Steel Soldering Flux

Fast-acting liquid acid flux for most grades of stainless steel, as well as chrome, copper, and brass. Use with all types of soft solder. Meets Fed. Spec. O-F-506C, Type II and A-A-51145C, Type IIB and is ROHS compliant. Note : Not for use on stainless steel water tubing.
1-pt. Bottle 7695A1 Each $6.63

SB

Last edited by SoonerBent; 07-07-06 at 01:43 PM.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:51 PM
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Thats some expensive flux.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by seth556
Thats some expensive flux.
Yeah. But I solder a lot and I've had the same bottle for 5 or 6 years.

SB
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