How To Cut Winch Cable & Rope

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Last Updated on June 21, 2022

If you think your winch cable is too long and difficult to spool, or your synthetic rope is fraying so you have to shorten it. And you want to accomplish this with scissors, trust me, it is a bad idea. 

The best method to approach it is with tools and knowledge of the sorts of cable you are dealing with.

How To Cut Winch Cable & Rope

Cutting Steel Winch Cable

Cutting Steel Winch Cable

When you are looking to cut steel cable, use bolt cutters. Bolt cutters from 12 to 14 inches in length can usually securely cut through threaded wires, rods, and lightweight chains. Bolt cutters ranging in size from 30-inch to 48-inch are large-capacity cutters that can often cut copper wire/cable, steel rods, and steel chains.

Small gauge wire cutters, such as the Greenlee 722, are frequently more effective than small bolt cutters. Heavy strength bolt cutters, such as Tekton’s, perform rather well at times, although stranded cable tends to slip over straight cutter blades.

Side and diagonal cutters may work for smaller diameter wire rope, if the jaws are expressly certified for use on tough cable or wire rope, this is a guaranteed way to destroy the cutter blades. Cutters intended for cutting copper or even aluminum wires are not appropriate for cutting tough wires with even lower diameters.

Small-gauge wire rope cutters are frequently limited to diameters of 1/8′′ or less. Those around, like this Knipex number of co-type which can cut wire rope up to 1/4′′ in diameter. Smaller hand tools, however, may not be able to cut tougher stranded wire rope or bigger diameter rope, such as 3/16′′ rope (both literally and figuratively).

Now if you are talking about live coaxial cable even if the voltage and amperage of a coaxial cable are modest, still you should unplug it from the wall before cutting into it. Though the chances of getting zapped are minimal, there are ZERO chances of being electrocuted when it is unplugged.

Cutting Synthetic Winch Rope

Cutting Synthetic Winch Rope

There are many ways of cutting a synthetic rope. Splicing is one method of finishing rope ends to prevent split or ripping. The connecting of opposite edges of yarn, strands, or cordage by interweaving or entering these ends into the body of the process is known as splicing.

Back-splicing is the process of braiding the edge of a rope back into the twisted rope in addition to securing the edge. At the end of the process, melting the ends of a synthetic rope prevents fiber separation. Each of these ways will aid in the prevention of fraying in your rope.

To begin, you must identify the sort of rope you are attempting to cut and finish. Splicing or back-splicing must be used to finish or connect natural twisted ropes. Unless it is a kernmantle rope with a sheath and top part, twisted or braided synthetic ropes are generally completed by sealing. The “Manny Method” can be used to connect Kernmantle rope.


To perform back-splicing first you need to unwind a portion of the knotted end of the rope. It all depends on how much rope you want to secure. Two or three tucks are all that is truly needed to create a solid back splice. So, here’s how to do it:

  • First unwind a portion of the knotted end of the rope.
  • Secondly, you have to make a crown knot. To make a crown knot, divide the three strands so that they are each pointing isolated from the main of the rope. 
  • Take one strand and wrap it counterclockwise around the next thread. 
  • Place the strand that you crossed over with the first strand counterclockwise over each of the other strands. 
  • The last strand’s end will pass via the loop formed by the first strand.
  • Take one end and go over the thread next to it, then under the strand closest to it.
  • Repeat this procedure with the following strand until the ends are entirely twisted neatly into another rope.

Using Tape

Paper masking tape or electrical tape or duck tape, scissors, and a lighter are required to cut and seal the ends of a synthetic rope. While scotch tape is the least appealing choice for trimming rope and is also undesirable on final craftwork, it is often employed in the early phases as a quick substitute for whipping.

Or, tie a pair of strangling or spider knots on each side of the cut and cut in the center. When employing this process, take caution not to get burned on the flame or the molten strands of the cable while they cool.

  • Wrap the electrical tape, paper masking tape, or duct tape securely throughout the rope. 
  • Cut the rope to the required length in the midpoint of the tape. 
  • Burn the end of the rope and leave it to cool completely. 
  • Carefully remove the rope’s loop to reveal the newest endpoint of your synthetic rope.

Joining Kernmantle Ropes 

It is preferable to utilize the “Manny Method” to link two firm braid ropes because it is a long-lasting method. The melting process described above is not going to work if you have two distinct types of cogent braid rope because they will not melt together.

 As a result, the rope will tear and come apart. In that case, you need a new method to make it work, and “Many Method” is undoubtedly the best way for this job. 

You’ll need EMT/Medical Shears, a sharp lacing needle, a lighter to perform the “Manny Method.”

  • Before connecting two ropes, cut the ends of the cords by using this procedure. 
  • Draw the inside strands out slightly and cut them. 
  • Drag the outer sheaths over the inside threads and burns the coated ends to prevent fraying. 
  • Attach a lacing needle to the end of the leash which was not cut or burnt using the left side of one of the ropes. 
  • With the lacing needle, spike the end of the other rope that was cut/burned.
  • Pull the end of the rope through the punctured rope until an inch of the rope is dragged through at the end. 
  • The most challenging aspect of the technique is maintaining the rope tied to the lacing needle without it coming undone. Spike the other rope and repeat the step. 
  • Tighten the ropes by pulling on both ends.  


Whipping rope refers to the process of tying a whipping knot at the edge of a rope to protect it from fraying. There are several forms of whipping. These are

1. Common Whipping 

Common Whipping is easy to do and works with both three-strand and braided rope. Also, use to prevent fraying at the end of the rope or to put a trace at any place on a rope. At the end of a Common Whipping, a Marlingspike Hitch can be used to tug on the top edge just so the whipping rope does not cut into the hand.

2. French Whipping 

In the French Whipping technique, half-hitch knots are utilized to generate a pretty tight whipping, with every single spin closed off from the one before. To produce a beautiful spiral appearance, the half hitches are knotted in the same manner.

3. Palm & Needle Whipping 

Palm and Needle Whipping work effectively on the braided rope with a core because it secures the rope’s inner to its outside layers. To prevent excessive wear, the frapping turns should be as simple as it gets. The frapping loops are put along with the gaps of the rope when employing the Palm and Needle Whipping technique on the three-strand rope.

4. Sailmaker’s Whipping 

Sailmaker’s whipping provides the best finishing to the end of a multiple rope length. It resembles Palm and Needle Whipping, except it may be produced without a needle or a palm. However it is not sewn on the rope, if it is constructed correctly, it will not slip off the tip of the leash or unwind quickly. When whipping, be careful to keep the rope in a straight line.

5. West Country Whipping 

West Country whipping technique, which comprises a sequence of uppercut knots, works especially effectively around the ends of large-width rope and cable. From the starting to the end the completed knot does not come undone.

Fraying is a simple problem to solve. There are specialized methods for finishing certain types of ropes. Depending on the type of fiber, the best method of cutting or linking two ropes can be chosen. Although some choices do not involve the use of equipment and others do, they are quite easy to perform. Now you can prevent fraying on your rope by yourself. 

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About the Author: Brian Silvestro

Brian Silvestro is the founder and chief editor of OffroadersArena. He spends his free time tending to his BMW iX SUV and explaining its merits to anyone who'll listen.

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