How to Clamp a Wire Rope

Written by c.l. rease
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Wire rope or wire cable has various applications on construction projects and around your home. Whether building a cable hand rail or supporting a structure with guide wires, clamping will always need to be performed for the project to be complete. Clamping the wire rope to ensure a strong connection is vital to the safety and performance of the final project. U-bolt style cable clamps secure the ends of wire rope. A U-bolt clamp has four parts: the saddle, U-bolt, and two hex nuts. When installed properly the clamps will hold a tremendous amount of weight.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Leather work gloves
  • Wire rope
  • Cable cutters
  • Electrical tape
  • U-bolt cable clamps matched to the size of the wire rope
  • Thimble matched with wire rope diameter
  • Torque wrench
  • Socket set

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  1. 1

    Put on your leather work gloves to protect your hands from the sharp wires that comprise the wire rope.

  2. 2

    Cut the wire rope to length with the cable cutters. Wrap electrical tape around the wire rope, 1/2 of an inch from the cut end of the wire rope to keep the cut end from unravelling.

  3. 3

    Form a loop in one end of the wire rope. The length of wire rope pulled over the loop needs to conform to the wire rope and the cable clamp manufacturer's recommendations. Place a U-bolt cable clamp 1 base width away from the dead (cut) end of the wire rope, with the clamp's U-bolt securing the dead end of the wire rope. The base width is referring to the saddle portion of the U-bolt clamp.

  4. 4

    Hand tighten both nuts of the cable clamp. With the torque wrench, apply the recommended amount of torque to each nut to lock the cable clamp in place. Insert the thimble into the loop you created in the wire rope. Apply a second cable clamp to the wire rope, as close to the base of the thimble as possible. Again, place the U-bolt on the cut side of the wire rope. An easy way to remember the correct way to install the cable clamp is to remember the saying "Never saddle a dead horse", which means to never place the clamp's saddle on the short dead end of the wire rope.

  5. 5

    Tighten the cable clamp using the technique described in step 4. Install the amount of cable clamps recommended by the cable clamp manufacturer to ensure that the clamped wire rope will not fail under load.

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