Making your own cables

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Making your own cables

Postby JimFitz » Sat May 20, 2017 6:59 pm

Having become totally disillusioned with wrongly fitting "stock" cables I have decided to start making my own (using soldered NOT screw nipples). There may have been many variations to cables over the years on old bikes due to levers, handlebars, brake plates and carbs not being original with the result that original cables will not fit.

I normally send off the old cable to JJs as a pattern and the replacements have been very good quality but they tend to be a bit busy during the show season and it would be much quicker to make them myself.

Can anybody recommend a good place to buy:

Solder pots - electically heated or propane
Solder - Tinman's?
Flux - Bakers fluid?
Cable outer and inners by the metre
Nipples
Fittings and adjusters

I have had a look at the Venhill site and stuff on ebay but I wondered if anybody who makes their own cables has found a "one stop shop".

Regards

Jim
Too old to Rock and Roll but too young to die.

1952 G80 rigid, 1960 G12 DL / Watsonian Monza, 1954 G80S.

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby ajscomboman » Sat May 20, 2017 8:06 pm

JJ cables sell a nylon lined universal cable for virtually every lever which include different nipples but for some strange reason you have to buy the AMC nipples separately.

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby JimFitz » Sat May 20, 2017 8:27 pm

Funny you should say that Rob, I looked at the Venhill nipples to see if I could find one for the front brake cable bottom and there was nothing suitable.
Pity that JJs do not have a website.

Jim
Too old to Rock and Roll but too young to die.

1952 G80 rigid, 1960 G12 DL / Watsonian Monza, 1954 G80S.

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby Mick D » Sun May 21, 2017 4:58 am

Hi

For all things solder wise this would be my first port of call:

http://www.cupalloys.co.uk/soft-solders/

If you have a heat source, (camping gas stove is ideal), I'd search the local boot sale for a suitable receptacle - think kitchen ladle / stainless egg cup to butcher.

Parts from the interweb, (Venhill), - if you have difficulty betting nipples you may have the tooling to make your own, in which case brass rod is available here:

http://www.chronos.ltd.uk/acatalog/Engi ... 1_371.html

The process I've always found it hard to accomplish tidily is bird-caging the end of the inner - Venhill sell a tool for this but the price makes my eyes water.

Have Fun Mick

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby ajscomboman » Sun May 21, 2017 7:28 am

JJ cables are very old school, nice guys, BUT they are never ever wrong when it comes to cables, well so they think! I've had varying results with their made up cables so now always make my own from their universal kit which I find is very good.

I get my solder gear from the local plumbers merchants and flare the cable by gripping it in a vice with the shoulder of the nipple laying on top of the jaws. With 1/8" cable proud of the nipple using gentle tapping from a ballpein hammer it splays out quite neatly. Remove from vice and slide the nipple down the cable. Clean the cable with carb cleaner to remove any excess grease etc, dip in flux and and play gentle heat on the cable avoiding it becoming cherry red, tin it with solder and slide the nipple down into it whilst its hot, dab another bit of solder onto the cable and then holding vertically slowly dip the lot into the flux pot. You should end up with a lovely dome of solder with the cable ends just poking through which you can then dress down with a file or bench grinder.

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby JimFitz » Sun May 21, 2017 12:34 pm

Thanks Rob and Mick.

I had similar thoughts about making a solder pot. I found an old iron ladle when I moved in so I could cut off the handle and use it on my camping stove for a solder pot.

I met JJs at Kempton and I agree that they are a nice couple of guys. I have only used them to make copies of cables and one-offs which have been faultless although I would not buy "standard" cables if I can avoid it due to the many changes made to bikes over the years meaning that they never fit quite right.

Good tip on the cable splaying Rob. I have a new front brake cable for my G12 where the inner is about 3/4" too long so I will have a go at shortening that.

Jim
Too old to Rock and Roll but too young to die.

1952 G80 rigid, 1960 G12 DL / Watsonian Monza, 1954 G80S.

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby kernow kid » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:23 pm

This reminds me of a tale from a French road trip myself and my mate Andy made about 25 years ago...we were ambling through a sizeable French town at lunchtime, trying to avoid the locals on lunch breaks, when at a set of traffic lights, Andy pulled the clutch in on his 53 16MS and the nipple just dropped off the end of the cable! We quickly pushed the bike into the centre reservation as it was a two lane each way road. As an electronics engineer, Id packed the sparky tools and he carried the engine tools, so I got out my gas soldering iron. Luckily Andy had seen the nipple land in the road and rescued it! Ten minutes later, much to the bemusement of passing drivers, the nipple was soldered back in place and we carried on our way. To my knowledge the repair remains in service to this day!
kk
Top tip - if it needs more than 2 bolts to hold it on, its probably important...

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby cbranni » Mon Jun 05, 2017 3:31 pm

Bought a Chinese solder pot for £10 on the bay about five years ago, it is brilliant.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/220V-150W-Sol ... SwpkFY6KSL

Quote from "Fitting the Bowden Wire Mechanism"

It is important that the inner member be soldered before it is cut to the correct length as cutting can cause untwisting, small sizes up to No 3 can be cut with a pair of pliers but larger sizes will require a cold chisel to sever the strands.
The brass nipple should be attached to the end of the inner member, a good method is as follows.
The wire after being soldered and cut should be passed through the nipple, the end being nipped flat for 1/16", this will prevent it drawing out again during the process of soldering the nipple and wire together , which should be done in combination with a non-corrosive soldering fluid (on no account should killed spirit be used) care being taken that the soldered joint extends the full length of the nipple.
The nipple should then be held in the vice and the wire burred over and finished with a blob of solder, it will then be found impossible to remove the nipple by fair means.

Dated 1920 :D
only dead fish go with the flow

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Re: Making your own cables

Postby 56G80S » Tue Jun 06, 2017 4:27 pm

"Fitting the Bowden Wire Mechanism" pretty much describes how I used to do it except that I've always used the very small ball pein hammer to splay the ends as mentioned earlier.

Recently I've put a Dremel type cutting disc in the very small battery drill and that's great for cutting the outers and innners.

But had no problem with JJ Cables who I've used recently; good stuff.

Johnny B

Joh

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