- ​Deck & Stair Railing Kits

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​I get this question daily, so lets talk about it....how do I successfully swage a fitting and cable together, and what's the preferred method?  

Well, there are 3 ways which are the most popular:

  • Buy your cables in pre-measured lengths with the ends pre-done - Long lead time, very expensive

  • Rent or lease a hydraulic swage tool.  (lets hope you don't break it) They are VERY expensive to purchase and renting them can be ideal, but they require a HUGE deposit and you have to ship the tools back - they're heavy.

  • Field Swage - The cables are cut in the field and crimped on site with a hand swage or hydraulic hand swage tool - Preferred by most in the business.

We like field swaging by hand around here as it gives us the ability to create our own lengths and without the cost of an expensive tools.  Our company hand swage tool has 30 in. long handles which gives us more leverage on the swage.  The other key to successful swaging, is swage each fitting twice: once you complete one swage, rotate the fitting 180 degrees (opposite side) and swage it again in a different location on the same fitting.  The beauty to this method is cable is not wasted like most pre measured kits, and you have a more forgiving installation.  Well, the next question is usually....is a field swage as strong as a hydraulic swage?  Well, yes and no.  We need to keep in mind the that most of us are not trying to rig crane cable to prevent a catastrophic failure, we are cabling a small diameter cable in to a railing system.  Most standard cable heights have upwards of 13 cables in a run.  If there was a failure, all the cables will not simultaneously fail when the loads are exceeded because the are indivdual.  The chances of all cables failing at once would require a massive amount of pressure and pounds of force.  With that being said, hand swaging a fitting is perfectly acceptable.  Just remember to follow the manufacturers recommended procedure for attaching your fittings and you'll have a successful install every time! 

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Cable Rail - Field Hand Swage vs. Hydraulic Swage