Stainless Cable Railing and Wire Rope Railing Tension

How do I tension the Cable Railing?

Turnbuckles used to be the standard method to tension cable railing and may still be used if the large, bulky look is what you want.  Turnbuckles come in a wide range of styles for your cable railing.  Closed body, open body, stainless steel, chrome bronze and galvanized.

We find most of our customers shy away from large turnbuckles for their cable wire rope railings and prefer to use only a threaded swage stud on each end of the cable assembly.  A cap or hex nut is used to tension the wire.  You have to hack saw off the excess screw and dress up the end as best you can.  The only problem is you are left with a section of screw exposed on the inside of each end post, not the prettiest thing to look at.

After many years of testing we came up with our TOP HAT CABLE SYSTEM™ PAT # Des. 423.913.

TOP HAT (HIDE-A-THREAD) allows us to use the normal threaded swage stud and conceal the ugly threads inside the TOP HAT body.  Our unique design is also a turnbuckle in disguise.  Tightening is done with a simple Allen Wrench.  What you are left with is a very clean, low profile adjuster with no apparent threads.

How tight can I make the Wire Rope Cable?

The cables can be as tight as possible, as much as 1,000 lbs. if you can get that.  It all depends on the strength of your design.

How strong does the frame for the Cable Railing need to be?

We usually try to set tension of 300 to 500 lbs. on our installations.  If your end posts are only 1/2" thick x 2" deep and 36" high, steel plate will bend with only 300 lbs. of load.  When you double up on the ends, say two steel posts separated by 3" and one or two welded connectors spaced equally, then the load handling increases substantially.  Use a 3x3 or 4x4 steel post and we can play music on the strands.

What kind of Wire Rope Cable can I use?

We specialize in stainless steel wire rope and wire cable but we can provide galvanized, coated and even bronze cable railing if you're daring.

I prefer to use 1x19 construction because it is the strongest.  1x19 likes to go in straight runs or on large radius turns.  A stair landing bend of 35 degrees is doable.  Right angles are not allowed.

When runs need to make a hard turn we can use a 7x19 construction.  This cable is flexible and can make turns.  The drawback with 7x19 is there are many small strands of wire for flexibility and the smaller the strands are the easier it is to damage them.

Coated cable is definitely out for hard turns.  I only recommend coated cable for interior application.

What about my local architectural codes concerning stainless steel wire rope cable?

At the present time most of our work cable railing is on a horizontal plane.  Cable railings have a maximum spacing of four inches, sometimes less.  In some regions of the country I am hearing of resistance to cable railing by building and contractor departments.  You will need to check with your local building authority.  If horizontal cable is not accepted we can go vertical.  The TOP HAT CABLE SYSTEM works great in both directions, even diagonal if you dare.

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Precision Cable & Swaging projects cover all of the United States located in Southern California for all your Cable Railing Tension for Stainless Wire Rope Railings. For specifications call: 800-321-3484

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