Cutting and Adjusting Wire Rope

There are often a few questions that get asked when it comes to using wire rope. A key player in marine and lifting industries, it’s crucial to know how to properly join and tighten this equipment. Here’s our guide to the most common steel wire adjustment questions we get asked.

How to Splice Wire Rope

The practice of wire rope splicing has been perfected in many industries, particularly that of marine craft. There are a few ways you can splice (aka join) two pieces of wire rope. The first is to use some sort of wire rope clip. You would take your two pieces of rope, lay them with the ends of each overlapping a good distance, and use an even number of clips on both sides to join the ropes together, creating even tension along the rope pieces.

The more traditional way is to create two loops at the end of each piece of wire rope and attach these together. This is called ‘eye splicing’. It involves forming a loop at the working end of the rope. The end of the rope strands are unravelled, and passed over and under against the lay of the rope to interweave it back into the main length of the rope. The process is then repeated on the second strand of rope after having passed this piece through the newly created eye to make the join.

How to Crimp Wire Rope

Crimping is also used to join two pieces of wire together or make an eye, but usually involves compressing the wires together with an additional piece of metal called a ferrule.

You simply need to thread the wire through a ferrule of the same diameter and use a crimping tool to press down on the ferrule, removing any gaps from the connection. The distortion and compression of the ferrule helps clamp the wires in place securely.

How to Tighten Wire Rope

A wire rope or cable must be under adequate tension to provide the proper support required for many of their applications. Luckily, installing a tensioner with your wire rope is an easy task. Usually, tension kits include a piece of equipment called a turnbuckle – this is a device with a central rectangular portion that allows a metal eye to screw into each end to hold the wire rope. Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing a tensioner or tension kit.

    1. Locate the eyes on the end of the tension kit turnbuckle. Unscrew them until they are as far apart as possible but making sure they do not fall out of the buckle.
    2. Use a cable clip on the end of one side of the wire rope. Slide it onto the rope.
    3. Insert the cable through one eye of the turnbuckle.
    4. Fold the wire rope back on itself, sliding your cable clips over the tail, positioned so that the curved parts of your clips lie on the tail or the cable, with the screw pressing on the longest section of the cable. Tighten the screws and make sure they hold the cable secure.
    5. Find a stationary object, such as a wall or post, and attach the other eye of the turnbuckle to this.
    6. Rotate your turnbuckle to the right to tighten or left to loosen. As the centre of the turnbuckle is moved, the screws rotate in their threaded holes, drawing the wire rope closer and creating more tension and tightness.

How Many Cable Clamps on Wire Rope

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to the amount of cable clips that should be used on wire rope, as the correct number generally depends on the thickness or diameter of the wire being used. At a minimum, rope between 5/16 and 7/16 of an inch should use 2 clips, ½ an inch to 5/8 of an inch should use 3, and anything above a minimum of 4 cable clips.

How to Use a Wire Rope Clamp

Wire rope clamps are mostly self-explanatory – they thread over wire rope to clamp it together, and the nuts will usually fit a standard wrench. However, they key thing to note is that the U-bolt side of the clip should always be placed on the dead-end side of the rope - i.e., the side that has a stop to it, not the continuous side. This also means that the saddle of the clips should ALWAYS be placed on the live, or continuing, side of the wire rope.

A common trick to remembering this is the saying “never saddle a dead horse.”

For any additional help with wire rope, get in touch with our friendly team today, or shop the range online!