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Old 02-21-08, 03:17 PM   #1
noahjz
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new brake cable fraying :(

I have a pair of Park cable cutters (CN-10) which I thought were supposed to be the solution to all my brake cable fraying problems... I bought some new cable, Jagwire brand, and after one snip there was already the beginning of a loose strand. These are brand new cutters, is it possible they need to be tightened? Is Jagwire just a crappy brand of cable, and if so what should I be buying? Is there an optimal way to cut brake cable, like should I be cutting at 90 degrees, or at a diagonal? I am not talking about housing, I mean the actual brake cable. Your help is appreciated!
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Old 02-21-08, 03:25 PM   #2
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I feel like cable fray is pretty much inevitable, no matter what tool. I've often found that I can re-lay a strand that has frayed so the cable is usable. I've heard that the good solution is soldering the cable, but I have yet to be successful. There are several threads on the topic.
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Old 02-21-08, 04:09 PM   #3
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I've not had good luck with Park cable cutters. I like Shimano cable cutters much better.

That's one of the reasons why I don't like took kits. Nobody makes the best of everything. Cable cutters, unfortunately, are one Park tool that I happen to dislike.

For most applications I use generic slick galvanized cables rather than stainless. I find they work equally well and I can solder the ends. If you solder the area before you cut, there won't be any fraying.
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Old 02-21-08, 05:33 PM   #4
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I've never used ant special cable tools, just good side-cutters and then squared the end off on a grinding wheel. You're not supposed to leave the end "as cut", no matter how good it looks, because it will still unravel. If you're not good at soldering or silver soldering, crimp on one of these ends.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:13 PM   #5
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You could put some superglue over the area you plan on cutting, or even nail polish to keep the cable from fraying. When you make the cut, use a nice quick and smooth motion, don't do it slowly or hesitate at any time.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:26 PM   #6
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or if it's already frayed, superglue the ends. take a blade to the sides to keep the end the same diameter as the rest of the cable.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:34 PM   #7
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I feel like cable fray is pretty much inevitable, no matter what tool. I've often found that I can re-lay a strand that has frayed so the cable is usable. I've heard that the good solution is soldering the cable, but I have yet to be successful. There are several threads on the topic.
+1. After cutting, the wire strands are not restrained and are prone to fraying. I usually re-lay the wire by running my fingers over it and twisting to the pattern. Better cutters give a crisper cut, while poor quality cutters may tend to mash the cable. Regardless, all are prone to fraying.

Soldering is easy and gives a very nice appearance. If the cables are standard steel, then any basic solder works fine. If the cables are stainless steel, you'll need a silver solder (like 6% silver) with acid flux core. The solder wicks into the strands and gives a clean finish, with little to no increase in cable diameter. I bought a few rolls of silver solder to find one that works. If you need the brand and product name, let me know and I'll provide.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:43 PM   #8
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+1. After cutting, the wire strands are not restrained and are prone to fraying. I usually re-lay the wire by running my fingers over it and twisting to the pattern. Better cutters give a crisper cut, while poor quality cutters may tend to mash the cable. Regardless, all are prone to fraying.
Right on, as long as the individual strands aren't bent, it's amost always possible to re-lay them.
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Old 02-21-08, 07:56 PM   #9
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I've not had good luck with Park cable cutters. I like Shimano cable cutters much better.

That's one of the reasons why I don't like took kits. Nobody makes the best of everything. Cable cutters, unfortunately, are one Park tool that I happen to dislike.

For most applications I use generic slick galvanized cables rather than stainless. I find they work equally well and I can solder the ends. If you solder the area before you cut, there won't be any fraying.
umm,....yeah what he said (dude, yer good )

you need to clean the cable before you solder it, so dip the end of the cable your soldering in lacquer thinner, and then wipe it and repeat about 4 times to get all the "cable pre-lube" off so the flux and solder will wick properly.
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Old 02-23-08, 12:47 PM   #10
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Thanks peoples, all that makes sense. I guess I had an unrealistic expectation of a perfectly clean cut with no fraying whatsoever once I got the right tool. This is partially from the Park blue book, which has a pretty extreme view of cable fraying, saying that once the fray begins you have to replace the cable because it will only increase over time until the brake is not reliable. The Park book is pretty annoyingly unrealistic at times.
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Old 02-23-08, 01:27 PM   #11
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Thanks peoples, all that makes sense. I guess I had an unrealistic expectation of a perfectly clean cut with no fraying whatsoever once I got the right tool.
Before you give up on that dream, try a Shimano cable cutter.
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Old 02-23-08, 01:39 PM   #12
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Before you give up on that dream, try a Shimano cable cutter.
+1

In my experience the Shimano cutter also lasts longer than the Park.
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Old 02-23-08, 02:27 PM   #13
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Electrical pliers; use the side cutter for a super clean cut. Then slap on one of those lil aluminum condoms, crimp it down and yer good to go.
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Old 02-23-08, 03:31 PM   #14
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This is the reason they put end caps on cables.
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Old 02-23-08, 04:16 PM   #15
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That's weird, i've never had problems with cable fraying using any cutters - if you want to prevent fraying on cut then use tape on the cable before you do it.
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Old 02-23-08, 05:51 PM   #16
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That's weird, i've never had problems with cable fraying using any cutters - if you want to prevent fraying on cut then use tape on the cable before you do it.
I certainly can't say that. Most irritating is when it would cut all but one strand. That's what my Park cable cutters (more than 1 pair) used to do. Then I'd have to grab my side cutters to clean up the cut. It's not too bad if you're working on just one or two bikes at home but, if you're trying to get a bunch of bikes done, any extra cable trimming step is a PITA.
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Old 02-23-08, 06:05 PM   #17
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I certainly can't say that. Most irritating is when it would cut all but one strand. That's what my Park cable cutters (more than 1 pair) used to do. Then I'd have to grab my side cutters to clean up the cut. It's not too bad if you're working on just one or two bikes at home but, if you're trying to get a bunch of bikes done, any extra cable trimming step is a PITA.
That's really odd to hear. I cut cables everyday in the shop, i've never had it fray immediately upon cutting - fwiw I either use the shimano cable cutters or the park ones.

Maybe tool wear?
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Old 02-23-08, 09:39 PM   #18
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Here's a trick that I have been using on my cables to prevent them from fraying:

When you first install them, cut them as best you can to minimize splaying the strands out. As mentioned by others, strands can be put back in place by twisting them in the right direction. Leave the cables long and after they have been installed, you are going to slide a piece of shrink tube (electric insulation type) over the cable. Get the right diameter tubing, they shrink up to 50% in diameter when heated. Before putting the tube over the cable, clean the cable with a good solvent degreaser, then coat the cable with some urethane adhesive (Gorilla glue), you may put some in the shrink tube too. Slide the shrink tube up to the point where you will eventually trim the cable. Heat the shrink tube (preferably with a heat gun) so that it tightens over the cable. The adhesive is forced into the cable by both the shrink and the expansion of the urethane during curing. Wait a day or so for the urethane adhesive to cure. When/If I trim the cable I normally leave some of the shrink tube on unless I need to pull the cable back through the housing for maintenance.

If you are messy with Gorilla glue, be sure to clean up the excess on the cable/shrink tube with acetone immediately after shrinking the tubing.
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Old 02-24-08, 05:58 AM   #19
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Maybe tool wear?
Tool wear can certainly be a factor, but I've had brand spanking new Park cutters that failed to meet my standards too. I guess that everything is fine until you have a bad experience. Once you do, there are so many choices that you go with another brand. If my Shimano cutters ever fail me, I'll start using something else.
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Old 02-24-08, 07:48 AM   #20
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I use jagwire cables and the park cutter. I always have good cuts, with a max of two renegade strands, which are easy enough to coax back into the bunch. I always have to cap the end off though after the cable is installed of course.
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Old 02-24-08, 08:52 AM   #21
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Just wondering what the resistance is to just using an endcap? Is it the half a gram that the thing weighs?
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Old 02-24-08, 09:58 AM   #22
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I've never used ant special cable tools, just good side-cutters and then squared the end off on a grinding wheel. You're not supposed to leave the end "as cut", no matter how good it looks, because it will still unravel. If you're not good at soldering or silver soldering, crimp on one of these ends.
Me too. Side cutter, sharp needle nose pliers, any thing sharp will work. I never use cable ends and the cables don't fray. Of course, make sure you thread the cable through the housing before you cut.
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Old 02-24-08, 10:19 AM   #23
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Just wondering what the resistance is to just using an endcap? Is it the half a gram that the thing weighs?
They're ugly and sometimes they come off.
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Old 02-24-08, 10:28 AM   #24
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They're ugly and sometimes they come off.
Seriously?

That's like saying a grain of rice is ugly. Maybe it's just me but I like to see a cap over a frayed cable end. If it's missing, it's easy enough to crimp a new one on, and takes less time than a soldering iron, super glue, etc.
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Old 02-24-08, 11:43 AM   #25
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Just wondering what the resistance is to just using an endcap? Is it the half a gram that the thing weighs?
1) Because sometimes it's not necessary, I don't ever bother running end caps on my own personal caps. They rarely, if ever fray.
2) Since they are not needed, if you put them on anyways, it makes re-using the cable impossible - you now have to cut off the end that has the cap on it.
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