How to splice steel cable

Written by charlie johnson
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How to splice steel cable
Splicing steel cable allows you to make use of damaged and shorter pieces of cable. (cable image by François MOUNIER from

Steel cable is made up of multiple steel wires placed side by side and then bound together. The wires are bound by twisting or braiding them until a single, thick strand is formed. Individual wires are still visible, but the newly formed cable is able to hold more weight and tension than the individual wires. Splicing a steel cable together is one way of making use of steel cables that are either too short or too damaged to be used on their own. You can splice steel cables to ensure you get the proper length of cable you need for your project.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Steel Cable
  • Thimble
  • Heavy Duty Pliers
  • "U" Shackles (also known as Crosby Bulldog Shackles)
  • Wrench
  • Jaw-and-jaw turnbuckle

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  1. 1

    Take the end of the steel cable and make a loop. Have this loop go around the thimble. Hold the shorter end of the steel cable (the "dead" end) tightly to the rest of the cable (the "live" end). Fit the cable into the thimble's channel. Make sure this is snug enough that the thimble does not fall out. At least 12 inches of on the dead end (the shorter end) of the steel cable is needed. You should measure from the closed end of the thimble.

  2. 2

    Use your pliers to tightly pinch the steel cable and the thimble channels together. If you can, squeeze the thimble shut a little with the pliers to ensure that the loop of the steel cable is firmly held together by the thimble.

  3. 3

    Take off the saddle of the "U" shackle. Do this by unscrewing the nuts from the ends of the "U" shackle. The saddle is the bottom metal piece that is attached to the ends of the "U" shape part of the shackle. Put the "U" piece over both the live and the dead ends of the steel cable - both ends should be inside the "U." This first "U" part of the "U" shackle should be as close to the thimble as you can possibly make it. The bend in the "U" should be touching only the dead end of the cable. Re-attach the saddle to the "U" part of the shackle, making sure that the nuts are very tightly screwed back on. Place another "U" shackle in exactly the same manner as the first "U" shackle, but have it 4 inches away from the first "U" shackle you attached. Attach one more "U" shackle in exactly the same manner, but 4 inches away from the second "U" shackle you attached.

  4. 4

    Attach a jaw-and-jaw turnbuckle to the loop at the end of your wire, the one that is formed by the thimble. Attach the turnbuckle by removing the turnbuckle jaw bolt from the shackle of the bottle neck screw. Pass the bolt through the thimble loop, so that the screw's shackle is inside the loop. Reattach the bolt on the bottom of the turnbuckle. You should not be able to separate the steel cable from the turnbuckle.

  5. 5

    Thread the steel cable you would like to have spliced through the top eyelet of the screw. The eyelet will substitute for the thimble loop on this piece of cable. Attach three more "U" shackles as you did with the other piece of steel cable. Make sure the "U'' bend of each "U" shackle is against the dead en of the new cable.

Tips and warnings

  • You can wrap duct tape around the ends of your cables to keep them from fraying or unravelling.
  • It is important to make sure that the "U" bend of the "U" shackles are all touching the dead end of the cable. Otherwise, the cable will not be able to handle as much weight and could easily break.

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