Repairing a Skeg Cable

I recently had to replace a skeg cable on a North Shore Atlantic plastic kayak. I learned a few things that could be useful to other kayakers. 

  • I used 1/8 1*19 stainless steel rigging cable from West Marine. 1*19 means 19 single strands of wire twisted together. This matches the original equipment. It is stiff enough to handle the compression forces of lowering the skeg. 1/8 inch = 3.125 mm. 
  • I prevented the cable from fraying by sealing the cable with epoxy at the ends. A heat gun was used to cure the epoxy.
  • I used a cut-off wheel on a Dremel tool to cut the cable and a grinding tool on the Dremel to smooth and shape the end of the cable so it would fit into the tube. A cut-off disk is a spinnng disk that cuts at it's edge. It provided complete control over the cut and minimized fraying. Apparently there is a tool for cutting bicycle cables that works very well too. 
  • The cable was firmly embedded in the thermoplastic skeg plate. A heat gun was used to soften and expand the plastic skeg so the old cable could be removed and the new cable inserted. 
  • It is essential to lubricate the skeg cable with a non-greasy lubricant that sand will not stick to. Bicycle shops sell good lubricants. Parafin wax also works. Without lubrication, there was too much friction to lower the skeg.
  • The skeg is now working perfectly. 

I hope that someone finds this information useful. If you copy it please include the link to www.RavenWoods.org.