How to Install Steel Cable Clamps

by K.K. Lowell
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Steel cable is a strong, flexible bundle of steel wires wound around a core of more steel strands. It is used on cranes and tow trucks to lift heavy weights, as support cables for utility poles and antennas, and even as the tight rope for high-wire acts in circuses. All these uses share a need to attach the steel cable to something else on one end or both. This is almost always accomplished by forming a loop in the cable and holding it tight with a cable clamp. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration approves only one method of securing a clamp.

Step 1

Grasp the steel cable firmly and form a loop, leaving the recommended length of cable on the short side. For example, when using 1/2 inch cable the short side length is 11.5 inches.

Step 2

Place the first cable clamp over both parts of the cable, locating it one width of the clamp base from the end of the short side of the cable. The U-bolt part of the clamp must be on the short cable side, and the base part of the clamp must be on the long side of the cable. Tighten the nuts securely.

Step 3

Install the thimble in the loop and place another cable clamp as close to the thimble as possible. Again, the U-bolt part of the clamp must be installed over the short side and the base clamp must be on the long side of the cable. Tighten the nuts securely.

Step 4

Install the remaining clamps equally spaced between the previous two clamps. Be certain to orient them the same way as the first two clamps. Tighten the nuts securely.

Check that all nuts are tightened properly. Apply a load to the cable. Release the load and tighten the clamping nuts again.


  • Always wear leather gloves when working with steel cable.


  • OSHA requires a specified minimum number of cable clamps for each size of wire rope. To ensure your safety and avoid possible fines, determine how many clamps are required by OSHA.

Items you will need

  • Cable clamps
  • Thimbles
  • Socket wrench
  • Ratchet

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