Cable Cutters

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Cable Cutters

Postby HappyHumber » Sat Mar 29, 2008 4:03 pm

I'm thinking of my next tool investment; as the subject states - some cable cutters. Up until this point I have just used regular side cutters and then cleaned up what's left of the mashed housing on a file or grinding stone to ensure the cable ends sit square & firm in its ferrule or housing. I do understand such grinding can mess up the plastic lining of gear cables - I have been 'fixed' for my last couple of builds and this is hasn't presented a problem - yet.

I see the generic brand cutters, the Pedros & the Parks listed on various websites; all well and good - but from the pictures alone they look mightily similar to some convex curved edge cutting pliers have seen at hardware stores and automotive shops.

Would a decent pair of these hardware store cutters do the job just as well - or is there something I am missing about the bike specific ones ? The only thing I can think of is an optimal diameter cut for the size range of bike cables.

Appreciate your thoughts.

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by BNA » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:07 pm

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Postby tallywhacker » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:07 pm

I find a dremel does both the cable and housing well and it has a lot more uses
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Postby sogood » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:09 pm

Get a Dremel tool and be done with it. For the issue of melting plastic within cable housing, just stick a short section of cable inside during the cut and its fixed.

I have a Park Tool cable cutter and the trick of using them is to make the cut quick, or it's not a clean cut. Either way, the end of the cable housing needs to be touched up.
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:16 pm

Never heard of a Dremel tool. Any recommendations on one.
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Postby sogood » Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:24 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Never heard of a Dremel tool. Any recommendations on one.

There is only one Dremel tool <http://www.dremel.com/>. Bunnings in Ashfield carries them, at least the last time I saw them about 6 months ago. It's good for bike work as well as handy around home. Alternatively, a second hand high speed dental drill can do the same. My old professor used to have one in the lab and was very handy for all kind of jobs.

Or try eBay.
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Postby Boognoss » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:04 pm

There are much more economical Dremel-like alternatives. I have one from Dick Smith that I've use for a few things and it still works (cutting through 8mm perspex for instance). It also accepts Dremel-branded accessories for cutting disks, etc.

I'm sure it's no-where near the quality but for occasional tasks it's great.

Linky here.
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Postby sogood » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:45 pm

Thanks Boognoss for that alternative. Great price! :D
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Postby Boognoss » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:47 pm

sogood wrote:Thanks Boognoss for that alternative. Great price! :D


NP, big difference :-)

I'm glad I only bought the cheapy because it was for a nerdy computer case modding I did once. And I'll never be bothered again :roll: .
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Postby sogood » Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:50 pm

I agree with you that the DSE option is good enough. It's like the pricing of electric drills, Bosch vs K-Mart. Unless you are a tradesman, there's just no difference in the result.
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Postby HappyHumber » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:06 pm

tallywhacker wrote:I find a dremel does both the cable and housing well and it has a lot more uses
D'oh! I am a d!ckhead. I already have a Dremel - I should have thought of this.
Us cashed up computer geeks plainly don't appreciate the value of things. :oops:

Boognoss wrote:There are much more economical Dremel-like alternatives.

Agreed.
Boognoss wrote: It also accepts Dremel-branded accessories for cutting disks, etc.


though I would advise caution here - not all cheaper alternatives are compatible. I actually previously bought an Arlec branded product assuming the same thing - and was dissapointed to find that it didn't take the Dremel Accessories. I traded it in (i.e. flogged it on ebay) and upgraded to a real Dremel.

But going by Boognoss's experiences and their branded prices, I reckon that's where Dremel make their money from - their accessory range.
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Postby Hawkeye » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:39 pm

I have a dremel and they're very, very handy. Doesn't get as much use as it used to when I was racng r/c cars, but it it comes in handy for odd jobs.

Mine recently shat its transmission after a number of years of faithful service. Because it wsa a dremel I was able to get a replacement part from justtools.com.au. A cheapo unit would have had to be binned.

One warning: NEVER use them without safety glasses. Even if the cutoff wheels don't shatter, bits of molten object (including metal) can easily fling off and into your eyes.

Regarding cable cutters, I bought a pair of Super-B ones from T7. When recently changing shifters on my wife's hybrid/mtb I had to cut the cable inner, and it did an excellent job - much better than any of the many other side cutters living in my toolbox.

Worth getting in my view.
Last edited by Hawkeye on Sat Mar 29, 2008 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby stevendavid75 » Sat Mar 29, 2008 7:41 pm

Hmm I have a pair LIFU cable cutters, have had them for a few years and they get a fair bit of use and do a pretty good job,
Cable outer will always need a bit of a tidy up but easily managed with a large pin and lever the hole open.
I have never thought of a drill, sounds like overkill to me.

However I do work in a bike shop from time to time and they have a park cutter and it might not be as sharp as it once was and can cause the cable to fray.
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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Mar 29, 2008 9:17 pm

The best inner cable cutter I've found in my non-bike specific tool kit is my Swiss Army Knife rip-off of a Leatherman. The wire cutter inside the pliers is fantastic at shearing cable.

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Postby HaywarM » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:25 pm

I use an old spoke to open and re-round the squished end of the outer.

I reckon changing gear cables on your bike is like changing wiper blades in the car; you put it off and off. Then when you finally get around to it, it is so easy, quick and cheap AND it makes such a difference (because you have put it off so long) that you swear to do it more often.

Happens every time i do it anyhow, maybe thats just me.
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Postby stevendavid75 » Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:19 pm

so easy until you have a frame that has internal cable routing with nothing in the route ato help guide, I remember spending a couple of very angry hours getting something sorted.

Anyone got any tips for next time?

Apart from leaving either cable or outer in there!
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Postby HaywarM » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:10 pm

My 531 C frame (currently hanging on the wall) has internal routing, but it must have something in there to guide the cable through, cause it was never a problem.

They key would be knowing this beofre you start, which you do now. So what i would do next time, is tie a bit of polyester thread or something on the to the end of the cable that you are replacing, pull it out, leaving the thread in throught the routing, and tie the end of your new cable to the thread, pull it back through.
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