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Cable/casing cutter?

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Cable/casing cutter?

Old 02-08-20, 12:56 PM
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Cable/casing cutter? Update

This may not be the correct forum, but I figure the c&v crew does more wrenching than anyone else.
i purchased a $15 set of cutters on amazon, supposedly bicycle specific, but all this pos does is mangle the casing and chew the cables.
My side cutters do a not too bad of a job on cables but not so much on casing.
Anyone have a recommendation for a reasonably priced tool?

Last edited by Bajabri; 02-10-20 at 06:36 PM. Reason: New info
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Old 02-08-20, 01:05 PM
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I like to use a Dremel or similar rotary tool with a cut-off wheel. Makes a nice straight cut.

Alternatively, I use these: https://www.channellock.com/product/436/

I always grind the cut ends flat after using the Channel lock cutters.
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Old 02-08-20, 01:06 PM
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I used a friends Taiwan-made cutter that did a decent job on both casing and cables, his was branded "Spin Doctor" but says he has seen it or copy-cats under other Brands (might be obsolete in today's marketplace). looks like most of the "cable-only" cutters but with beefier jaws. Personally I always used "2 tools" one just for the cables (either a Japanese copy of the pricey Swiss "Felco C-7" or the Parks CN2 cable cutter) and since neither of those are any good on casing I always cut that with a smallish bolt-cutter. Not a clean cut but effective and I always dress the ends with a bench grinder (so now we are up to 3 tools!) and use a sharpened spoke to open up the inner liner (4th tool!)

EDIT: now that I researched some the tool I borrowed from my friend looks like a copy of the Park CN-10 (which I'm sure costs more but, might get what you pay for in this case, especially if you want a single does-it-all tool)

Last edited by unworthy1; 02-08-20 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 02-08-20, 01:35 PM
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Use the Park CN-10 cable cutter @ the co-op. and then just to be sure do a touch up on the grinding wheel we have available to us.
Works like a charm.
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Old 02-08-20, 01:35 PM
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I cut with a Park cable cutter then dress on a fine grinding wheel. Finish up with a small awl to insure no hang-ups.

Fresh cables get solidered ends. The cut.
On the appropriate bikes, a small cable cuff, end of cable slightly exposed, painted the same color as lug detailing.
Why? Because Falerio finished cables off that way.
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Old 02-08-20, 01:52 PM
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I use Gedore side cutters for both cables and housing. Not particularly cheap (~$30), but they give better results than any bicycle-specific tools I've tried. A good pair of cutters is a joy to work with and worth the investment, IMO.
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Old 02-08-20, 01:58 PM
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I have somePedro's cable cutters, rebranded Park cutters I think, they work well, but I do clean up housing ends on my bench grinder and use a dental tool to make sure the inner lining is all the way open.

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Old 02-08-20, 02:28 PM
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I've always used a Dremel cutoff and bench grinder to clean the edge of the casing and one of a couple smaller nails to clean the opening..

However, I recently bought a pair of Hozan C-217 after reading so many people here swear they'll cut evenly. I found that on at least 50% of cuts I don't need to clean up after. Amazon has them for ~$32 right now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002OFW5Q6

Two other things to say: One, I've only used the Hozans on a couple dozen bikes at this point, so my long-term feedback is limited. Two, I hear the vintage VAR cutters also will cut as cleanly as the Hozans. I just haven't managed to snag a pair at a reasonable price yet to confirm.

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Old 02-08-20, 02:44 PM
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I have a Park cable cutter -- I leave it in the original box with the price tag on it, so I won't be tempted to cut anything other than cables and housing with it. Still usually dress the end of the housing with the bench grinder. Also have used a dremel with cutoff wheel before I got the pricey tool.
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Old 02-08-20, 03:02 PM
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Side cutters and a grinder or file if needed. If you use the side cutters skillfully, you may not even need the grinder or file. The Park tool is nice, but I just can't justify it. I'd rather buy expensive bikes!!
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Old 02-08-20, 03:13 PM
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Park cutter, dress the end of the cut housing with a points file.
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Old 02-08-20, 03:17 PM
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I use Jagwire cutters for gear and brake cables and housing. The housing I always cut with a piece of old cable in the canal. That keeps it from getting mashed. Smooth the ends with a file and I use a pick from a walnut cracker set to make sure the canal is open and round.
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Old 02-08-20, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
The Park tool is nice, but I just can't justify it. I'd rather buy expensive bikes!!
Buying the proper tool only hurts once!

I cringed when I bought mine, but after 15 years of use the purchase price was forgotten long ago.
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Old 02-08-20, 03:58 PM
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I use a Dremel with a diamond cut-off wheel for the housing. No need to dress the cut on a grinder afterwards!

Whatever method you use to cut the housings, make sure you have a clean 90° cut - either in the initial cut or whether you end up dressing it on a grinder - otherwise your brakes will be 'mushy' as the slop gets taken up.

I always leave the inner cable a bit long - so that when everything is adjusted, I can either solder the inner at the appropriate length and then cut it through the soldered part - or in the case of slick stainless inner wires, use a crimp-end.
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Old 02-08-20, 04:07 PM
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Knipex ****s were my favorite tool for cutting cables, old school coiled housing, and spokes BITD. I've had a pair since the 80s, and I still use them for cables and spoke removal. For SIS shift cables and modern laminated brake housing, I prefer a dremel cutoff wheel. I often used them even working in a shop. It was often a wash WRT time versus 'SIS' cutters and cleanup on a grinding wheel.

Edit: apparently the common term for diagonal cutters is banned... I'd like to add that those Hozan cutters look very tempting. Anyone using them on shift housing? Can they cut it cleanly? I don't have much experience with newer bicycle specific housing cutters. I was always somewhat annoyed by the special Shimano cutters we were obligated to use when digital shifting came out.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 02-08-20 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 02-08-20, 04:25 PM
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I have a Park cutter and cut with a piece of cable in the end. File or grinder to finish.
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Old 02-08-20, 07:31 PM
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Some options

If you don''t mind grinding, or have strong hands, The Klein Linesman's ( D2000-9NE) pliers are very good. Lesser brands will not do the job. I've tried other well reputed brands (that I already owned) to poor effect. Avoid diagonal cutters (even the Klein D2000-28) or cutter/crimpers (like the Klein J1005). But I wouldn't go buy these . I use them because I have them.

I always use a push pin or old spoke to open up the end if it gets crushed. Always use the cable housing ferrules (preferably metal ones). I suspect some of the more robust housing (I use Jagwire) may require better cutters or a Dremel tool/file, etc. And obviously robust brake cable will need good pliers/cutters

I have used the Park, and it is the right tool for the job.
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Old 02-08-20, 08:03 PM
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I use the Park cable cutter and on housing I tend to follow up with a file and an Awl to smooth and ream out housing opening before attaching the ferrule.
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Old 02-08-20, 08:19 PM
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Another Pedro's cutting dikes and Dremel with a diamond cut off to clean it up.

I really wish the site's censor coding would learn what is meant as a derogatory term and what is an everyday normal nomenclature for something.

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Old 02-08-20, 08:54 PM
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Old 02-08-20, 09:42 PM
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Surprised the Park CN-10 is $37 on ebay. Seems about $10 higher than when I bought my set. Maybe they're worth it. I love mine.
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Old 02-09-20, 12:18 AM
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I use a Dremel with cut-off wheel on my own brake cable housings at home. Always square and clean, just need to go slow to not melt the liner closed! A Trek-branded cable cutter works fine on cables and shift housings.

At Bike Works where there’s no Dremel available, I’ve been impressed with the clean cuts from Jagwire cable cutters there on brake housing. I’ve never like the dang curled-in end that always results from using the Park cutter on brake housing, so I’d used the largest, sharpest pair of diagonal cutters for better results, until I found the Jagwire.

I always flex brake housing in a tight bend over a finger and work the cutter blades between adjacent spirals for the best cut with any of them.
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Old 02-09-20, 12:54 AM
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I used a cheapish Cyclo cable cutter for many years without problems until my daughter nabbed it for making jewelry. I now use a Park Tool but have no idea of the model number.
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Old 02-09-20, 01:21 AM
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How are you guys who use grinding methods to cut and/or square the ends of the housing getting the grit storm out of your cable housings?
Especially with the better housings being pre-lubricated, you wouldn't want to just blast any aerosol cleaner through and wash out the special silicone/teflon lubrication.
The millions of grit dust particles from cutting I imagine would easily simulate perhaps thousands of miles of typical use/ageing by contamination.

To the OP, get any purpose-specific bike cable cutters, at least get ones with a return privilege if they don't work well.
I bought Performance cutters for under $20 that have made thousands of cuts and remain sharp 20 years later.

Getting brake cable housing ends cut square is easiest using the two-cut method, where the second cut is made with the housing rotated to catch any protruding edge on the cutting edge of one of the cutter's blades. Once mastered, this certainly works well enough that any additional squaring with a file (or god-forbid a grinding wheel) would not make a noticeable difference in the braking response.

All housings should have their openings shaped with a sharp awl/pick after cutting, if only to allow faster installation of the cable.

Derailer housing ends are best left sharp (as when a proper cutter is used). This allows the strand ends to embed in the plastic inside surface of any good ferrule (even the metal ones have plastic washers inside for this exact purpose). The embedding process (done during the pre-stress step of the installation) allows all of the housing's steel strands to equally support the compressive load even after cutting and bending may have left the strand's ends uneven at the end of the housing.
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Old 02-09-20, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Surprised the Park CN-10 is $37 on ebay. Seems about $10 higher than when I bought my set. Maybe they're worth it. I love mine.
Yeah, I think that's about how much I paid for mine. I think it may be my single most expensive bike tool, but it does work well.

After cutting the cable housing, I ream the end a little with a small nail, or awl (if I can find it) or even a toothpick. Seems like all the cables I cut these days are nylon-lined, so they need to be poked.
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