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  #1  
Old 08-24-2008
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Rigging Replacement

Hello SailNet Community!
I want to replace the standing rigging on my sailboat and I was wondering why nobody uses the Nicopress style compresssion sleeves to do this job.
I want to be able to do this job myself, but the do-it-yourself mechanical fittings are cost prohibitive for me. The standard aircraft style swags require a $6000 tool to form, which is why you have to pay someone else to do them for you. Nicopress, however, is inexpensive and the tools are within anybody's price range. $20 will buy you the cheep kind that compress by sqeezing two blocks together with nuts and bolts. $250 will purchase the aircraft quality Nicopress Brand sqeezers complete with go/no go gauges. (I have one of these and use them to make aircraft control cables-hence my desire to do this job myself). Correctly formed with with certified parts these will at least equal the breaking strength of the wire.
The only problem I can see is the larger sizes of 1X19 wire are really to stiff to rap around the ferrel, but in the smaller sizes, 1/8" or less, it can be done. Switching to 7X19 wire makes this job real easy. It does have more stretch, but is it really enough to make a difference to an average sailer? Also 7X19 wire has a lower breaking strength, so using it would mean going up a size, which might mean less stretch, but also a little more weight aloft.
What I really want to do right now is replace the 3/32" 1X19 on my 14' boat and use Nicopress, rather than the original swagg aircraft style terminals. Eventually I want to use the same technique on an old 26' Islander, which has much larger cables.
I haven't found anything touching this subject, and I never see any rigs done this way. I'm not the only "do it yourselfer" out there so there must be something wrong with my idea, or I would think people would be doing rigging this way.
Anybody have an opinion/advise?
Marc
Attached Thumbnails
Rigging Replacement-aircraft-swagged-terminal.jpg   Rigging Replacement-nicopress-terminal.jpg  

Last edited by vslslr; 08-24-2008 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Add information
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Old 08-24-2008
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I test flew a homebuilt airplane that used the cheap $20 tool to swage the nicopress fittings, and one of my flaps popped back up after I put it down. After landing, I discovered that underneath the nice heat shrink tubing that the builder thoughtfully put over all of the nicopress sleeves, not a single sleeve was properly swaged. The $20 tool was incapable of squeezing hard enough. Fortunately it was only a flap cable that came apart, and not elevator or rudder!
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Aren't the Nicopress sleeves made out of copper? Can't imagine they would hold up to the marine environment well.
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Old 08-24-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john540 View Post
Aren't the Nicopress sleeves made out of copper? Can't imagine they would hold up to the marine environment well.
Thanks for the reply. Yes, the sleeves are copper. This may be why folks don't use them. But I see lots of running rigging cable to rope splices done this way.
I once made a cable with one of those cheap tools myself, but I tested it before I used it. I was making a brake cable on a Taylorcraft. It pulled apart quite easily. That's why I purchased the genuine Nicopress brand tool.
Any other thoughts?
Marc
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Old 08-24-2008
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May be for your 14' lake day sailor it might be OK, I dont know...but for your 26' Islander your only talking what 12 fittings less the cable...thats about 500 bucks for stay locks, why cheap out for that kind of money?
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The main reason that most people choose to use swage or mechanical fittings for 1 x 19 standing rigging is because of the radius of the thimble. You would need a fairly large thimble to to keep from damaging the wire. Plus it is a real pain to control that kind of wire. It can be done though. Be sure to use two sleeves on each end. You need to leave a tail to pull on and then the second sleeve can clean up the end.
I would suggest that you invest in, (or rent), a proper tool. One that looks kind of like a bolt cutter. You can clamp that in a soft jawed vise which might be an advantage.
Good luck.
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Old 08-25-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillraining View Post
May be for your 14' lake day sailor it might be OK, I dont know...but for your 26' Islander your only talking what 12 fittings less the cable...thats about 500 bucks for stay locks, why cheap out for that kind of money?
Cost isn't the main issue, although it's a factor. I was thinking of this because I'm familiar with this tecnique, and comfortable with it (just uncertain as to it's adaptability to standing rigging). I already own everything I need to do them-tools and sleeves, etc. And it seems sorta "self-sufficient", which is one big reason while I do most things I do, especially my love of sailling.
I also like the inspectability of the Nicopress. You can see what going on with one. I can't see inside a mechanical fitting, and I once had a perfectly fine looking intermediate stay fail without warning at an aircraft style swag.
Anyway, all of your thoughts are exactly the kind of input I'm looking for, Thank You!
Marc
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Old 08-25-2008
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Nicopress terminals are not used on larger boats because of the large radius required. I think the upper limit is around 1/4". Although not as clean and sexy looking as swaged terminals they are very effective on smaller size wire if properly installed. I read somewhere that when done properly they are actually stronger than swage terminals. The 5/32" Nicopress fittings on the stays and shrouds of my boat are still going strong after 30 years -- and I sail her pretty hard!

Proper installation, of course, is the key. Hardware stores sell copper sleeves similar similar to Nicopress terminals that you bang on with a hammer. This obviously is not suitable for critical applications. I suspect some of the cheaper unbranded tools are not effective either.

As stated before, you need to put two fittings on each wire termination, using a proper size thimble. The crimps must be made from alternating directions so the wire does not bend. A tiny bit of the bitter end should be left sticking out. This will make inspection easier, since you will be able to see if it slips back into the terminal.
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Old 08-25-2008
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The other point is that mechanical fittings can be reused, so are actually cheaper in the long run in many ways. They can also be re-done with the tools you'll normally have aboard the boat, so if you break a stay, you can often replace it—provided you're carrying a spare length of 1x19 stainless and have the mechanical fittings aboard.
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Old 09-02-2008
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Finished Rigging

I made the new stays for my 14' sailboat.
The first picture is my cable cutting method. I've read lots on cutting cables but I've never heard anyone describe this method. I think it has to be the easist way around. Just put a couple wraps of masking tape where you are going to cut (Don't omit this step, it's the most important) and strike it with a cold chisel against a solid chunk of steel. Works perfectly every time. If you cut in the middle of the tape, the strands on both sides of the cut stay in order.
The second picture is what I used.
The third is the finished product. I used two sleeves as several suggested, and left the bitter end of the cable just flush with the second sleeve to cover the sharp ends.
I found this to be a fun project, thanks for your helps.
Marc
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Rigging Replacement-1-cable-cutting.jpg   Rigging Replacement-2-nicopress.jpg   Rigging Replacement-3-finished-end.jpg  
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