Installing Sta-Lok® Fittings
This document describes the installation of Sta-Lok® swageless fittings. The author is NOT an expert or a professional rigger. Please read and follow all instructions that come with your Sta-Lok® fittings. If you have any questions you should contact a professional rigger or the manufacturer of the fittings. This document describes what I did. If you choose to use these instructions you are doing it at your own risk!
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The hardest part of installing Sta-Lok® fittings is getting a nice clean square cut on the end of the wire. A cutting block makes this a simple task. The cutting block is nothing more than a block of wood with a hole drilled through that is a tight fit for the wire size you are using. It also has a saw slot cut at right angles to the drill hole. The block shown has holes for two sizes of wire (1/4" and 5/16"). The block shown is 6" long 1 5/8" wide and 2 3/8" high. The dimensions are not critical. You probably don't want the block to be any longer than 6" since this will limit the useful stroke of the hacksaw. You don't want to go much smaller than4" long since you will need to hold it when cutting. The height of the block is not critical but it should be high enough so that you have about 3/4" above the top of each wire hole. This allows the top edge of the hacksaw blade to be belowthe top of the block and makes it easy to hold. You want enough wood below the holes so the the block doesn't break. The width of my block is 1 5/8". This was choosen so that I have 3/4" on each side of the slot which is 1/8" wide. This is not critical but a convenient width like 3/4" or 1" on each side of the slot makes measuring easy.
I made my block out of a piece maple scrap. I would suggest a hard wood but really anything will work. It is critical that the slot and hole(s) are at right angles. I used a drill press to drill the holes and a table saw with a narrow blade to cut the slot. This can be done with hand tools and I could argue that cutting the slot with an even narrower blade (like the hacksaw itself) would be even better. The slot should be cut just deep enough so that the bottom of the slot is about 1/16" below the bottom of the hole(s). Use the exact size drill to match your wire size. You want the holes to be tight. Brad point bits drill cleaner holes but regular twist drills will work.
The Sta-Lok® fitting has 4 parts.
The instructions are the red paper item in the picture. It is very important that you actually read them before you start the assembly of the fitting. If my instructions are different than the Sta-Lok® instructions you should follow the instructions that came with the fitting!
If you are putting Sta-Lok® fittings on both ends of the wire you should install one end before cutting the wire to length. For the second fitting you must carefully measure the length of the old wire and fittings. As you can see in my example the threaded part of the Sta-Lok® is slightly shorter than the threaded part of the original fitting. Knowing where youroriginal fittings were normally adjusted may be important. You may need to adjust your overall length to account for the minor differences in fitting.
On all of the Sta-Lok® fittings that I have seen the wire extends into the fitting to about the same point where on the outside of the fitting the tapered shoulder begins. I do not know if this is true for all Sta-Lok® fittings. Use a fine point permanent marker like the Sharpie® shown to mark the point where you will cut the wire. I have found that it is best to mark completely around the wire rather than just one spot.
Use your electrical tape to tape around the wire in two places. First spot is about 8" back on the part of the wire that is the piece you are making. Use about 3 or 4 layers of tape. Tape a second spot about 3/4" to 1" beyond the cut mark. Your will be rough cutting the wire to length here. Remember measure twice cut once!
Check your measurement again! Using your high tension hacksaw (you did get one right?) cut the wire in the middle of the second place you taped. The tape will keep the wire from unraveling. If you have a good hacksaw and a sharp blade this should only take about a minute. I have found that I can get about 20 to 25 clean cuts in 1/4" wire from a good hacksaw blade. After that the cuts get slower and it's time for a new blade.
You should now have a piece of wire that is about 1" longer than required. Take the tape off the end of the wire. Hold the wire next to your cutting block so that your mark is in line with the slot in the block. Now mark your wire again at the outer edge of the block. You will use this mark to know how far to push the wire into the cutting block.
Insert the end of the wire into the cutting block up to your second mark. You may be able to see your original mark in the slot.
Cut the wire using your hacksaw in the slot . Cut completely through until you feel that you are only cuting wood. It should be very apparent when you have made it through the wire.
Pull the wire from the block. This is what your wire end will look like. The cut will be square and nice and clean with no protuding wires of different lengths. You may need a small screwdriver or other object to remove the remains of the leftover cutoff from the other side of the block.
Place the socket on the wire. The threaded part should face out toward the wire end. Slide the socket down to the tape. The only purpose of the tape is to keep the socket near the end of the wire.
Carefully unwind the outer layer of the wire. You may need a knife or awl to get started. Take care not to make any kinks in any strands of the wire. You will need to re-lay these wires back again. Work slowly and carefully. It isn't difficult but please take your time!
Slide the wedge on the core. The core should protrude slightly from the wedge. Check your instructions for the amount the core should protrude. Mine all said 3/32" but this may vary depending on the size of the fittings.
Carefully re-lay outer wires over wedge. Again be carefull so that you don't kink any of the strands. Try to keep the strands from sliding into the slot in the wedge. As you get the wires in place you can work the socket up toward the end of the wire. This will help hold the strands in place. Keep checking that the strands are not in the slot. You will need to keep pulling the strands out of the slot. As you get the outer layer in place the strands will be at a sharper angle to the slot and eventually won't slid in anymore. This can be frustrating at first but it does get easier as you go.
As you re-lay the wires you will work the socket toward the end of the wire. Itshould look like this when you are done. The outer wires are evenly spaced and there are no strands in the slot of the wedge.
Install the former in the threaded hole of the end fitting. The pointy end goes in first. Make sure that it is all the way down and not wedged sideways in the hole. The eraser end of pencil works well to move the former if it gets wedged.
Put a couple of drops of loctite on the socket. This is important since the close fitting stainless threads will jam without lubrication, turning the fitting and wire into expensive scrap metal.
Screw the socket into the end fitting. Make sure the former stays in place. Use wrenches to tighten the fitting.
This is a view of the fitting after assembly.
Use your wrenches to disassemble the fitting. Inspect the end. You should see the outer wires formed neatly around the end of the wedge.
Add sealant to the inside of the end fitting. Fill the cup about half full. It is better to have a little extra than not enough. Any extra will ooze out when you reassemble. Also add a few more drops of loctite to the threads on the socket.
Screw the end fitting back on the socket. Use your wrenches to tighten the fitting. You should see a small amount of sealant ooze out between the strands of the wire. Wipe this off with a paper towel and you are done!