Need Help Fixing Cable Skeg

One of our paddling companions was replacing a kinked skeg cable on her Avocet and hit a potentially expensive snag. Her cable cutters literally fell apart when she had the new cable all measured out and ready for the final cut - half of the cutting end just broke off. Then the substitute tool she tried to use left the cable strands unwinding so they can’t be threaded thru. Went to West Marine to pick up new cable cutters, figuring to start again, and the things cost a few hundred dollars.

Does anyone know of a tool that will cut skeg cable and have the crimping effect that cable cutters do, but is not likely to cost a few hundred dollars?

You might try…
Taking your cable to West Marine and use theirs… buy a trinket, might work…


– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 12:58 AM EST –

The cable end for my boat isn't crimped on the end that I could tell, it was just shaped into a bit of a rounded point. I had some trouble feeding it back into the control after removing it and the skeg one time to tighten up the skeg pivot area, after a bit of panic I tapered it a bit more with a Dremel rotary tool grinder and then it fed in easily.

This of course requires that there not be any wayward strands. I would think a rotary tool cutting disc ought to make a pretty clean cut as long as you take it very slow, and make sure the disk rotation is such that it won't grab the strands in the direction that would unwind them. If the cable is unravelled for some distance I'm not sure what you can do to save it. The strands are very resistant to conforming once they've been bent. Perhaps dipping in glue (like epoxy) and then wrapping in rubber bands after coaxing the strands back into place until the glue sets.

If they don't have a rotary tool, this is a good excuse to get one. Wonderful little things they are.


Just replaced mine
about a month ago. I too fretted upon what to cut it with.

I second the idea of a Dremel tool with a thin cut-off wheel installed in it. I used a bigger pneumatic cut-off tool, commonly used in automotive and body shops but the Dremel should do as well if not better.

If you go this route, determine what direction the cut off wheel is turning and then align the cable so the wheel is rotating the same direction that the cable is wound. This will help to prevent it from untwisting while cutting.

Cutting cable…

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 1:21 AM EST –

Similar thread from a ways back...scroll down towards the bottom.

Go Back to West Marine …

– Last Updated: Apr-05-06 4:26 AM EST –

The 'cheaper' cutters are 23.09, Port Supply / West Part #
129833 ...... and the Hand Swedging Tool ( which works great for smal stuff) is 27.49, Port Supply / West Part # 129817.

Someone should own them in the group might as well hold the ransom ..

Forgot to add .... a chisel will also work in a pinch as will the inside of most 'real' vice grips .... see that 'V' thing near the fulcrum ?

A bicycle cable cutter by Park?

any chance you could solder the cable for about 3 or 4 inches where you want to cut it? Then use a cutter, or even a good hack saw, to make the cut where you want it. the solder could keep the strands from separating while cutting.

never done it but just a thought.

I Have
used a little solder and had sucsess. Heat the cable at the point that you want to cut it and feed just a little solder into the cable. Don’t use too much as any that stays on the outside of the cable will have to be sanded/filed off. Then just use a standard pair of wire cutters or a dremel with a thin cutting wheel.

Happy Paddling,


Cable cutter sources
There’s nothing special about kayak cables, they’re just larger in diameter. Park, Felco, Var and others make suitable cable cutters. Here’s a link to some inexpensive cable cutters:,8301.htm

They should be available at most marine and commercial fishing suppliers.

Yes and no
Soldering does help keep the cable together, but it won’t prevent crushing or fraying if the cable isn’t cut properly. If you don’t have cable cutters, use a Dremel as others have suggested. BTW, there’s no need to solder the cable end for more that 1/2" or so. It requires either silver solder or acid flux with regular solder.

have I got a deal for you
use a thin wheel cut off on your dremel tool. use eye protection here; no joke. then use a grey stone grinding wheel on the dremel. grind the last 1/2 inch of cable a touch thinner and it will feed through so easily. Practice on the dead cable. when you are on one half of the wheel it flows easily but if you grind against the wrong side it splays the cable.

If you have the time to buy this stuff on ebay it’s really cheap!

the dremel way w/the cuttin disk is best I thought . I replaced 2 skeg cables from crimped cables with it . I used a lil bit of electric tape to keep the ends tight , course it burns the tape but seemed to work , an as said go the same way as the strands . You could also bring the cable to your local hardware store , they’ll cut it for ya . I wouldn’t expect that to happen at lowes or home depot though .

I wouls also clean out the cable tube using a piece of line to fit the tube , remove any grit or corrosion .--------M

Super Glue,
just a drop where you are going to cut then use dremel.

the solder technique and “Park” cable cutters. Have used this system and the Park cutters left a good clean cut.

or there’s a couple pair of high-end linemens pliers that will do the job.

I couldn’t get solder to stick.

bike snips work well


Yep, yep, and yep.
Park cable cutters work great. Shimanos work great, but are pricier. Solder if you can.

But most importantly, if you go the Dremel route and use the thin, unreinforced wheels wear both eye and face protection. Those suckers break into several pieces when they go. You don’t want to switch from binoculars to a monocular out of necessity.


I use the real small tubular heat shrink stuff for my bike cable ends to keep them from unraveling. You might consider it. I think electricians use it.

skeg fix
The dremel is the way to go. But a quick fix for the fraying is called super glue. The thin stuff not the gell. It will be thin enough to filter through the strands and when it sets it will be rock hard. Trust me I’m pretty lazy when it comes to this stuff and I’ve tried it and it works.

Thanks All
The cable can now be replaced… thanks for all the great ideas.