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Measuring Tips

Preparing to cut your bulk cable or order pre-cut, professionally swaged cable assemblies.

Need an estimate or help designing your railing project? Email or fax your drawings (non-technical OK) to us at: quotes@cablerailingdirect.com or 855-820-8439 and we will respond within 24 hours. See our support page for additional resources or give us a call. We are happy to help!

When ordering pre-cut cable assemblies or preparing to cut bulk cable yourself, it’s important to make the most accurate measurements possible– both for the sake of your project and your budget. Here are some tips to help you along:

Have your posts and top rail installed before you measure for cable. Even with the most detailed plans, measurements can change once the posts are mounted. After the frame is in place, you can make accurate measurements for cutting bulk cable or ordering pre-cut assemblies.

  • If you will be cutting cable and swaging end fittings yourself, exact measurements are not so critical. Simply measure your cable run and “round up” to make sure the cable will be long enough.

  • If you will be ordering cable assemblies that use our Professional Swaging Service, we will need to have more exact measurements.

Measuring Cable for Straight Runs

Thru-post fittings: Measure from the outside face of your first terminal post (end post) to the outside face of your last terminal post.

Surface-mounts: Measure from the inside face of your first terminal post to the inside face of your last terminal post.

It’s a great idea to have a helper! Ask someone to record your cable measurements as you make them to help ensure accuracy.

Measuring Cable for Corners

When running cable continuously around corners, making accurate measurements can be more difficult. Our pre-drilled posts should help in this instance. If you are working with other posts, drilling holes prior to measuring will serve you well.

A good method for measuring corners involves using a stand-in cable, which could be an inexpensive 1/16” wire rope (about $0.20/ft. at most hardware stores). Any type of rope will do as long as it does not stretch. Using a stretchy stand-in is almost certain to affect your measurements, so we suggest using a material that is as comparable to cable as possible.

With the help of your assistant, lace the cable through the necessary posts and around each bend. With considerations made for your fitting type, mark the cable at your terminal posts with a black felt tip pen. Remove the cable and lay it flat on the ground next to your measuring tape. Then, have your assistant help you pull the cable taut and take the measurement.

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