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Steering Cord Separated during replacement

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Aloha,

I was replacing my steering cables/paracord; I sewed the new cord to the old from the rudder end. The first side pulled through perfectly. The second side separated where the plastic guide joined the original cord.  The new cord remained stitched to the plastic guide.  Now the cord is somewhere inside the hull of my OC-1.  Anyone have any advice on how to recover the cord from inside the hull?

Mahalo,

Sheila

2 Answers

1

I spoke with Sheila on the phone about this problem, and hers is more complicated than normal because in the process something got lodged inside the tubing that runs inside the canoe.

I get questions about this at least once a month, so I’ll try to describe what’s inside the canoe, the preferred way of replacing the cables, and how to recover when things go wrong.

Important note: we’ve been building canoes for nearly 25 years, so while this describes most of the canoes that we have made in the last 10 years, some are different.  If you read this and think, “that doesn’t sound right”, then call us for help…

Inside the canoe is a plastic tube that is bonded to the deck at each end, and secured internally at intervals to prevent the tube from rattling and to keep everything secure.  Plastics are difficult to bond, so even with extra efforts to ensure a good bond, the ends of the tubing will not hold up to excessive forces.

The cable material that we use currently is Dyneema.  In the past we have used Spectra, another brand fiber made of uber-long polyethylene molecules.  This is amazing stuff – read more here. We have also used Vectran.  All of these material choices were inspired by modern fibers used in the manufacture of bowstrings used in archery.  The archery world is way way out in front of the pack in fiber tech.

Since these fibers are easier pulled than pushed, and since it’s not a good idea to be tugging on the internal tubing, it’s best to use the old cables to pull the new cables through.  Our newest replacement cable sets are supplied with a tough nylon thread sewn through the end.  This nylon “leader” can be tied to the end of the old cable, and pulled through.

The easiest method that I have found is:

  1. Remove the rudder.
  2. Unscrew the bungee holder and release the bungee cord.
  3. Pull the tiller or T-bar that was on the top of the rudder shaft towards the rear of the canoe.  This will pull the footpedals back.
  4. Untie cables in the back or cut as close to the tiller as you can.
  5. If present, remove the teflon sleeve from the end of the cable by pulling towards the back of the canoe.
  6. Tie the new cable to the back end of the old cable.  The front of the old cable should still be attached to the pedal.  If the old cable is unidirectional spectra, which looks like dental floss, tie the nylon leader  to two of the strands.  Pull hard on the strands you plan to use to be sure they are strong.  Spectra is a slippery fiber, so a special knot is required.  I tie a square knot, then two half hitches on either side of it (see pictures below).  Incidentally, if you ever need to tie Det Cord (detonation cord), this is how Navy Seals do it.
  7. Carefully pull the new cable through from the front using the old cable.  Be sure the new cable feeds in smoothly and doesn’t snag on anything.  It you feel it bind, don’t force it, back up and see if there is a problem.  Take your time, and don’t force it.
  8. Attach the front end in the same manner that the old cables were attached.  There are a lot of variations here, so if you are unsure, call us – (808) 573-7852.

Here are a couple of pictures of the knot for tying nylon leader to spectra stranded fiber.  If your old cables are a braided line, then the best solution is to thread the nylon leader through a needle, and stitch throw the old braided cable.

What if things go wrong?

Sheila attached the nylon leader of the new cable to the teflon on the end of the old cable, thinking that it went all of the way though, but it’s only about 6″ long, so it came loose midway when the new cable snagged on the rudder.  If I remember correctly, she also used electrical tape over the knot, and that got stuck in the middle.  What now?

If there’s nothing obstructing the tube, you can feed wire cable through from either end and then use that to pull the new line through.  solid wire can poke a hole in the plastic tube, so don’t use solid wire, and make sure that if you use wire cable that the ends are not jagged or sharp.  I have one that I made with soldered ends to make sure I don’t poke through.  Alternatively, and something I always try first is to push string trimmer line through.  It comes in various thicknesses, and I like the .08″ line, or .065 if that doesn’t go through.

For any canoes made in the last couple of years the new steering cable can be fed directly into the tube, and nothing extra is required.

What can be done about the electrical tape obstructing the tube?  I’m not too sure.  I would try silicone lubricant and compressed air up to about 40 psi.  I’d start low, and go up in increments of about 5 psi.  Excessive pressure can burst the tubing.  the older it is the riskier it becomes.

The last resort is to cut open the canoe and put in new tubing.  Not a DIY project, and something I don’t like to think about.  This is expensive and to be avoided.  I’ve never had to do it myself.  It happens rarely, but is usually the result of something getting wedged in the tube,  or pulling the ends of the tubing loose.  Both of these can be avoided by pulling following the steps above, and pulling gently when feeding the cable.

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Sheila,

Not all is lost, Im sure one of the pro’s can help come up with a strategy for you.

I will post back shortly!

Thanks for using the forum 😉

PS: Here is a technique used by Epic, using vacuum

Your Answer

Category: asked May 18, 2014
0

2 Answers

1

I spoke with Sheila on the phone about this problem, and hers is more complicated than normal because in the process something got lodged inside the tubing that runs inside the canoe.

I get questions about this at least once a month, so I’ll try to describe what’s inside the canoe, the preferred way of replacing the cables, and how to recover when things go wrong.

Important note: we’ve been building canoes for nearly 25 years, so while this describes most of the canoes that we have made in the last 10 years, some are different.  If you read this and think, “that doesn’t sound right”, then call us for help…

Inside the canoe is a plastic tube that is bonded to the deck at each end, and secured internally at intervals to prevent the tube from rattling and to keep everything secure.  Plastics are difficult to bond, so even with extra efforts to ensure a good bond, the ends of the tubing will not hold up to excessive forces.

The cable material that we use currently is Dyneema.  In the past we have used Spectra, another brand fiber made of uber-long polyethylene molecules.  This is amazing stuff – read more here. We have also used Vectran.  All of these material choices were inspired by modern fibers used in the manufacture of bowstrings used in archery.  The archery world is way way out in front of the pack in fiber tech.

Since these fibers are easier pulled than pushed, and since it’s not a good idea to be tugging on the internal tubing, it’s best to use the old cables to pull the new cables through.  Our newest replacement cable sets are supplied with a tough nylon thread sewn through the end.  This nylon “leader” can be tied to the end of the old cable, and pulled through.

The easiest method that I have found is:

  1. Remove the rudder.
  2. Unscrew the bungee holder and release the bungee cord.
  3. Pull the tiller or T-bar that was on the top of the rudder shaft towards the rear of the canoe.  This will pull the footpedals back.
  4. Untie cables in the back or cut as close to the tiller as you can.
  5. If present, remove the teflon sleeve from the end of the cable by pulling towards the back of the canoe.
  6. Tie the new cable to the back end of the old cable.  The front of the old cable should still be attached to the pedal.  If the old cable is unidirectional spectra, which looks like dental floss, tie the nylon leader  to two of the strands.  Pull hard on the strands you plan to use to be sure they are strong.  Spectra is a slippery fiber, so a special knot is required.  I tie a square knot, then two half hitches on either side of it (see pictures below).  Incidentally, if you ever need to tie Det Cord (detonation cord), this is how Navy Seals do it.
  7. Carefully pull the new cable through from the front using the old cable.  Be sure the new cable feeds in smoothly and doesn’t snag on anything.  It you feel it bind, don’t force it, back up and see if there is a problem.  Take your time, and don’t force it.
  8. Attach the front end in the same manner that the old cables were attached.  There are a lot of variations here, so if you are unsure, call us – (808) 573-7852.

Here are a couple of pictures of the knot for tying nylon leader to spectra stranded fiber.  If your old cables are a braided line, then the best solution is to thread the nylon leader through a needle, and stitch throw the old braided cable.

What if things go wrong?

Sheila attached the nylon leader of the new cable to the teflon on the end of the old cable, thinking that it went all of the way though, but it’s only about 6″ long, so it came loose midway when the new cable snagged on the rudder.  If I remember correctly, she also used electrical tape over the knot, and that got stuck in the middle.  What now?

If there’s nothing obstructing the tube, you can feed wire cable through from either end and then use that to pull the new line through.  solid wire can poke a hole in the plastic tube, so don’t use solid wire, and make sure that if you use wire cable that the ends are not jagged or sharp.  I have one that I made with soldered ends to make sure I don’t poke through.  Alternatively, and something I always try first is to push string trimmer line through.  It comes in various thicknesses, and I like the .08″ line, or .065 if that doesn’t go through.

For any canoes made in the last couple of years the new steering cable can be fed directly into the tube, and nothing extra is required.

What can be done about the electrical tape obstructing the tube?  I’m not too sure.  I would try silicone lubricant and compressed air up to about 40 psi.  I’d start low, and go up in increments of about 5 psi.  Excessive pressure can burst the tubing.  the older it is the riskier it becomes.

The last resort is to cut open the canoe and put in new tubing.  Not a DIY project, and something I don’t like to think about.  This is expensive and to be avoided.  I’ve never had to do it myself.  It happens rarely, but is usually the result of something getting wedged in the tube,  or pulling the ends of the tubing loose.  Both of these can be avoided by pulling following the steps above, and pulling gently when feeding the cable.

0

Sheila,

Not all is lost, Im sure one of the pro’s can help come up with a strategy for you.

I will post back shortly!

Thanks for using the forum 😉

PS: Here is a technique used by Epic, using vacuum