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Old 06-03-2014, 11:30   #1
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Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

Good day everyone.

I am in the process of re-rigging my 1967 Rawson 30. It was rigged previously with 1/4" 1x19 stainless wire rope and Sta-Lok fittings. I do not plan to veer away from that.

My two questions are:

1) I have found many conflicting opinions on caulking the interior of the Sta-Lok at final assembly. Some say this protects the fitting from rust by discouraging salt water from coming into contact with the interior terminal end. Some say that by not allowing oxygen to stay in contact with the terminal end you are actually encouraging rust. If I were doing it today I think I would use Boatlife Life Caulk. Input?

2) Does anyone have first-hand experience with wire rope cutters? I was thinking of making the investment, but I don't want to throw good money after bad if they are ineffective. I do know how to use a hacksaw. ;)

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:39   #2
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

Have the Felco medium size cutters, the ones for up to 3/8" wire IIRC. Have used it to cut mostly 9/32" and it is not easy. Added a couple of pipe extenders to the handles so there was the leverage to cut that wire. Cutting 3/8", only did it once, was very very hard to do on a stationary dock even with the handle extenders. Suppose that the adrenaline rush cutting rigging in a dismasting would make the job easier but take Felco's max size range with a large grain of salt.

Think I'd go with battery powered angle grinder, if there is such a thing, with a cut off, not grinding, wheel for an emergency cutter. Also would be a good tool for general wire cutting and rigging work. The big problem with a battery powered tool is keeping it dry and functioning while you are cutting away rigging in anger and the inevitable battery failure. Have had the Felco cutters for 40 years and they still work as well as the day I bought them, rain or shine.

Installed the Norseman terminals on our Westsail dry. They were still good after more than 10 years. Have no long term experience with terminals installed with caulking. The manufacturer recommends it so now defer to their experience. Thought it would made changing the wire out a problem but it's been relatively easy to remove the terminals when LifeCaulk was used for caulking.
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Old 06-03-2014, 12:49   #3
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

I purchased an 18v angle grinder and love it. I use it to cut all kinds of things, but most recently some 4/0 and 2/0 wire. I would think that it would go through 1/4" wire like butter.
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Old 06-03-2014, 13:31   #4
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

We've always followed the Sta-Lok OEM's instructions to use silicone sealant, and have never had a problem (since first use in 1983). Have been told that the acetic acid in the sealant would ruin the fittings: it has not had any observable effect nor caused any failures.

We too purchased the Felco cutters. They are very nice tools, but as I have aged, the handles have seemed to get shorter, and I too find them difficult to use on the wire on our boat (8 and 10 mm s/s). We have used a fine tooth hacksaw many times. Slow, but makes a nice cut. There are hydraulic cutters on the market, but they are very pricey and sort of awkward to use, so I've not gone that route. The angle grinder would be a very good tool to use IMO, and I will quite likely buy a cordless one before my next rigging job.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 06-03-2014, 19:02   #5
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

I replaced all my standing rigging three years ago. I cut everything to length with a fine toothed hacksaw and a mitre box. I was advised to use Life Calk by several cruisers as inspection and reassembly are simplified.
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Old 06-03-2014, 19:24   #6
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
We've always followed the Sta-Lok OEM's instructions to use silicone sealant, and have never had a problem (since first use in 1983). Have been told that the acetic acid in the sealant would ruin the fittings: it has not had any observable effect nor caused any failures.

We too purchased the Felco cutters. They are very nice tools, but as I have aged, the handles have seemed to get shorter, and I too find them difficult to use on the wire on our boat (8 and 10 mm s/s). We have used a fine tooth hacksaw many times. Slow, but makes a nice cut. There are hydraulic cutters on the market, but they are very pricey and sort of awkward to use, so I've not gone that route. The angle grinder would be a very good tool to use IMO, and I will quite likely buy a cordless one before my next rigging job.

Cheers,

Jim

I cut the wire by passing it through a wood block with proper sized hole. Then cut with sawzall. Could probably use a hose clamp and sheet the wate side with cutting blade on a grinder or sawzall blade.
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Old 06-03-2014, 20:00   #7
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

i cut rigging wire with my dremel tool. use the reinforced cutting wheels, not the el cheapo cutting wheels.
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Old 06-03-2014, 20:41   #8
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

I had my rigging replaced by a well respected rigging shop last year using Stay-Loks on the lower ends. They appear to have used 3M 5200 sealant, at least it is white. For cutting wire with a hacksaw the general recommendation is to cut a slot in a wooden block to fit the wire and then cut across the block. If you are thinking of cutting wire after a dismasting I think a 18v battery operated angle grinder with a 1/16 inch cutoff disk would work pretty well. They do make hydraulic cutters as well.
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Old 08-03-2014, 10:29   #9
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Re: Sta-Lok Caulking and Wire Rope Cutters

Thanks, everyone. I did contact Sta-Lok directly and they emphatically claim to have NO POSITION on the issue of caulking or sealants. I remain convinced that a healthy slathering of Life Caulk will avail disassembly and inspection while keeping water at bay. I am using a hacksaw for now but may invest in a quality wire cutter (good ones are about $200) to have on board when I take off.

I appreciate the input.
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