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Cable cutting and attention to detail

Old 12-12-09, 09:05 AM
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Cable cutting and attention to detail

I was an apprentice at a bike shop a couple of years ago and perform most of my own bike work. Lately I have been installing cables and housing such that, after trimming the "burs" on the housing, I am able to *very gently slide the cable through the housing without feeling any resistance as the cable pops out of the housing opening.

Does this make sense?

Usually this requires me to use a little pick to open the teflon liners and a bit of rotational movement with the pick to really open them up. This seems to make entry/exit really smooth.

Does anyone else do this? I am not a master mechanic and was just wondering what people on here tend to do. There may be a better way to do this, or something I hadn't considered yet. I like learning this kind of stuff
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Old 12-12-09, 09:09 AM
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If the plastic liner needs to be opened up, a round toothpick works nicely.
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Old 12-12-09, 10:26 AM
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I use a small nail held by a vice-grip.
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Old 12-12-09, 10:54 AM
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A sharpened old spoke, bent to make a "pokey tool". We actually have a couple of pokey tools. They are bent to resemble the letter "P". Some are pointed like a pencil, others are ground down more like a wedge or triangular shaped. These are good for the liner and getting foreign objects out of tires and other uses.
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Old 12-12-09, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SweetLou View Post
A sharpened old spoke, bent to make a "pokey tool". We actually have a couple of pokey tools. They are bent to resemble the letter "P". Some are pointed like a pencil, others are ground down more like a wedge or triangular shaped. These are good for the liner and getting foreign objects out of tires and other uses.
Basically anything with a point is fine.

After de-burring the ends of cable housings, I file them square with a mill file or a Dremel. I actually think the mill fiile works faster.

Sounds you're right in line, with the procedure you've fiigured out.
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Old 12-12-09, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
I was an apprentice at a bike shop a couple of years ago and perform most of my own bike work. Lately I have been installing cables and housing such that, after trimming the "burs" on the housing, I am able to *very gently slide the cable through the housing without feeling any resistance as the cable pops out of the housing opening.

Does this make sense?

Usually this requires me to use a little pick to open the teflon liners and a bit of rotational movement with the pick to really open them up. This seems to make entry/exit really smooth.

Does anyone else do this? I am not a master mechanic and was just wondering what people on here tend to do. There may be a better way to do this, or something I hadn't considered yet. I like learning this kind of stuff
Brake housing needs to have their ends faced perpendicular - then opened up with an awl, like the other poster suggested a sharpened spoke tool will stand up to shop use and is very quick to use.
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Old 12-12-09, 02:21 PM
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This kind of attention to detail is what makes your brakes and shifters work really nicely. No need to hurry the job, take your time. bk
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Old 12-12-09, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Basically anything with a point is fine.

After de-burring the ends of cable housings, I file them square with a mill file or a Dremel. I actually think the mill fiile works faster.

Sounds you're right in line, with the procedure you've fiigured out.
At work, I use the bench grinder. It's there, it's fast and it does a great job. At home, I don't have a bench grinder, so I use the Dremel, but I've had problems of overheating the plastic housing trying to get a nice flush end. I should get a nice file for home, it will probably work better and less chance of overheating.
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Old 12-12-09, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
Brake housing needs to have their ends faced perpendicular - then opened up with an awl, like the other poster suggested a sharpened spoke tool will stand up to shop use and is very quick to use.
Price is right too. I thought that every bike mechanic had one of those. I certainly have one.
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Old 12-12-09, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
I was an apprentice at a bike shop a couple of years ago and perform most of my own bike work. Lately I have been installing cables and housing such that, after trimming the "burs" on the housing, I am able to *very gently slide the cable through the housing without feeling any resistance as the cable pops out of the housing opening.

Does this make sense?
Yes, I use an old ice pick.

Al
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Old 12-12-09, 03:31 PM
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I use an antique cobbler's awl - inherited from my great grandfather! It's a sharply pointed round spike, used originally to make thread holes in leather to sew shoes together. The spike is about an inch and a half long, very strong and slightly thicker than the nylon housing liner. The handle is a smooth wooden ball that fits snugly in the palm of the hand for a comfortable, firm, grip. After squaring off the cable end with a dremel or hand file, a quick jab and twist in the cable opening with the awl always does the trick first time!
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Old 12-12-09, 03:52 PM
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Great responses! I need to find an old spoke to sharpen. Unfortunately I have no access to a grinder here in the city...man I wish I had one.

I also try to aim for cutting the housing perpendicular - I dont always get it 100%, but I get "pert near" most of the time.

I use shimano barend shifters in friction mode currently, so I just use regular teflon-lined brake housing....no shift housing. It seems to work ok (and some folks here on BF suggested it) and my side cutters do decent job with it.
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Old 12-12-09, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
I also try to aim for cutting the housing perpendicular - I dont always get it 100%, but I get "pert near" most of the time.
I use a broken/straightened spring hook to open cables up with. See G here;
https://crawfordtool.com/springhooks2.html

To cut cables I use a Dremel tool with cut off wheels and the cable held in a bench vise. Dremel diamond cut off wheels last a long time.
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Old 12-12-09, 06:08 PM
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I use a dremel tool to cut the housing and open the liner with a swiss army knife coring blade
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Old 12-12-09, 11:18 PM
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I use a needle file - they have them at sears for a couple of bucks.
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Old 12-12-09, 11:23 PM
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Pokey spoke, bench grinder, and / or a file.. getting the housing faced makes a world of difference as this helps seat the housing in the ferule as well.
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Old 12-13-09, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Pokey spoke, bench grinder, and / or a file.. getting the housing faced makes a world of difference as this helps seat the housing in the ferule as well.
I totally agree. Unfortunately, I have seen many housings without the find details. I like the picture that Sheldon (pbuh) has on his site: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cables.html#cutting

It really shows what the finished housing should look like.
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Old 12-13-09, 01:41 AM
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When one takes the time to properly finish cable ends this virtually eliminates the need to re-adjust cables because of "stretch" which is a misnomer as this is actually an issue caused by improperly finished ends compressing as they seat into their ferules.

Besides that, poorly finished ends have a negative effect on performance.

I have also used a very small drill bit in place of my trusty pokey spoke... when I was setting up my new shop it took a while to get my bench and grinder set up and this worked very well to ream out the end while a fine file faced things off nicely.
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Old 12-13-09, 04:55 AM
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When one takes the time to properly finish cable ends this virtually eliminates the need to re-adjust cables because of "stretch" which is a misnomer as this is actually an issue caused by improperly finished ends compressing as they seat into their ferules.
Is this true? I noticed that "stretch" usually results in me having to retighten the cables...not loosen them. I would think that the ferrules and housing seating into their stops would result in a slight tightening of the cables...like a barrel adjuster.
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Old 12-13-09, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
I have no access to a grinder here in the city...man I wish I had one.
Are they banned in cities? I live in a city an I have a bench grinder!! Even if you live in a one-room apartment, get a cheap grinder for like $25-50 and bolt it to a 1' square board. Now you can grind cable ends (and other things) like I do.
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Old 12-13-09, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
Is this true? I noticed that "stretch" usually results in me having to retighten the cables...not loosen them. I would think that the ferrules and housing seating into their stops would result in a slight tightening of the cables...like a barrel adjuster.
If the housing "settles in" to the lever body or the caliper end where it seats, it effectively shortens the housing. Hence it has the effect of lengthening the inner cable. The result is less cable tension. If you file the housing end flat and square, the cable sits square in a ferrule or in the lever/caliper. If you put on a ferrule, especially a steel or brass one, the housing end pushes against a hard smooth surface and can't further work its way into the lever or caliper. Any squishiness due to the housing is now strictly the housing material itself. Other things that can still flex include the pads, caliper, inner cable, or perhaps the lever itself. But I agree with Sixty, I don't need to re-adjust the cable anywhere near as often with well-finished housing ends.
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Old 12-13-09, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Gene2308 View Post
Is this true? I noticed that "stretch" usually results in me having to retighten the cables...not loosen them. I would think that the ferrules and housing seating into their stops would result in a slight tightening of the cables...like a barrel adjuster.
This seating action causes the effective length of the housing to shorten which results in the respective cables to loosen and yes, they will then need to be tightened... you probably won't notice this on brakes as you will on shifter cables, especially with indexed systems where adjustments need to be precise.

As to grinders...they make a lot of noise and may be frowned upon in places like apartments.

My shop has a suite upstairs and the guys who live there don't appreciate me using power tools after 9 pm... on the bright side I have the best security money can't buy as the old Scottish fellow who lives there is also the building manager, is ex military, is an ex biker, and a very light sleeper.
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Old 12-13-09, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
As to grinders...they make a lot of noise and may be frowned upon in places like apartments.
WHAT? My 1.2amp grinder makes less noise than my kettle boiling. We're grinding brake casing here, not 4" angle iron.
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Old 12-13-09, 05:50 PM
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Amen to the bench grinder. My Dad bought me one when I was 12, still have it 36 years later. When I lived in an apartment I bolted it to a milk crate, now I secure it with c-clamps, that way i can move it when I need the entire bench. I've tried filing cable housing ends, I can never get it nice like the bench grinder does. Once I had one, I couldn't live without it. LOL on the 4" angle iron....
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Old 12-13-09, 08:24 PM
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Yep, bench grinder inherited with my house from my wife's grandfather. I haven't had to poke out the lining in a while though - I've had a string of lucky cuts.
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