|Tools for this investigation: steel cable ties, multitool pliers, diagonal cutters. Greenlite tool roll for contrast.|
|Close up of the fastening end|
The answer to the first question, I found, is that there's a ball bearing entrapped inside that fastening head which forms a happy little friction and pressure jam alliance with the band as you pull it tight. It says it has 115 lbs working load, and I'd guess that would be the band itself, since that jammed-up ball seems very stubbornly stuck once the band is tightened. Apparently, there's also an alternate type that fastens differently. If I get hold of some of those, I'll include them in part 2 of this topic.
To try them out, I thought I would simulate the field repair I did on my old rear rack when one of the welds broke loose. When it broke during a commute, I wrapped two plastic cable ties around, pulled them tight as I could with the multitool, and they held for a long time. Could I do the same with steel ties?
|Simulated field repair of broken rack weld with stainless steel cable ties|
The sort of bad news is, cutting the steel with the multitool pliers did not work so well. First try, rather than cutting the steel band, it sort of bent in between the pliers and jammed them shut. Since they bend easily for folding in the opening direction, there was not an easy way to unjam them. I ended up using another needle nose pliers to pry the multitool pliers open, which was not ideal. Out on the road, I think I could have worked them open, but no use banging my knuckles at home when another pliers did the job. The loose end of the cable tie seems to be capable of being wound around something or itself, too, so in the event of a field repair, the unused length doesn't seem like a big deal. It's very flexible, bendable stuff.
|Stainless steel pliers jammer upper|
These stainless cable ties seem light, strong, and potentially useful in many different scenarios. I'm going to throw some into the bag for future use, and will let you know if/when they come in handy.
Ever used them for a bicycle, or something else? Perhaps what they're actually intended for?