An Easy Alternative to Hot-Soldering Cable
- by Ian Carsten
The construction plan for
your car suggests soldering the cable ends prior to cutting to prevent them
from fraying. Unfortunately many batches of cable are difficult or
impossible to solder due to an anti-rust coating applied in manufacture.
Another problem is the possibility of overheating the cable by getting it
too hot during soldering. That anneals the cable leaving it soft and weak.
This is most likely when using a gas torch as the heat source.
We’ve found that the
cable ends can be fray-proofed by applying Locktite® Liquid Solder Filler.
It’s sold in small tubes and can be purchased in any hardware store. The
following procedure works well. First, install the cable and decide where to
trim the ends. Obtain a good cutter made specifically for cutting hard wire
rope (braided steel cable). These tools have hardened steel cutting edges
that are shaped to keep the cable nearly circular while cutting. That makes
a clean cut without fraying the individual strands of wire. Many bicycle
enthusiasts have such cutters for trimming brake and shifter cables.
Don’t use straight-jawed
cutters because they will flatten the cable and splay the ends. The best
tool for the job is the Swiss made Felco C7. This tool can be ordered from
Bicycle Tools Etc. at
www.biketoolsetc.com. Or you may obtain a similar tool from your local
Before cutting the cable,
clean the area carefully with carburetor cleaner to get any trace of dirt or
oils off. Cut the cable and apply the liquid solder filler. The easiest way
to do this is to place the cable end into the mouth of the tube and push the
tube over the cable until a coating of the solder filler is left on the
cable. Let it dry and harden at least an hour. If the coating isn’t thick
enough, simply repeat with another coat until you are satisfied.
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