How to Swage Wire Rope without a Tool (Step-by-Step Guide)

By the end of this article, you should be able to swage your cables or wire ropes without using complicated or expensive tools like crimpers.

Cable swaging is a handy skill that you can use to prevent the weakening of cable joints. Unfortunately, crimping tools that are used in large-scale wire swaging are expensive. It is unfeasible if you need them just once. 

You’ll need some sort of basic item to crush the wire, so for this article, I am going to assume you have something basic around like a hammer or anything else you can use to crush the wire.

In general. to swage wire ropes without a tool:

  • Grapes, ferrules, and hammers.
  • Clamp loop in large grape so ferrule touches hammering surface and not grape.
  • Position the chisel on the ferrule and hammer it in three different positions
  • Release ferrule and turn it over. Hammer’s other side.
  • Use a smaller grape or set of pliers to press and fasten ferrule.
  • Clamp the ferrule again and pull it to test the loop.

We’ll go into more detail below.

Detailed Steps on How to Swage Wire Rope without a Tool

Normally, swaging is accomplished with specific machinery. It involves shaping or forging metals via a series of ultra-blots delivered by tools like a hammer. It is done in both small and large-scale applications. During the process, two metal pieces are compressed under pressure, bonded, and conjoined.

A circular shape is retained around the cable during the swaging process for the sake of an assembly application.

A crimping tool is used. Unfortunately, the crimping tool is expensive. So, it is not a worthwhile investment if you want to use it once.

And that Is where I can help you.

However, You Will Require Fundamental Tools to Do the Job

A hammer, a set of pliers, a chisel, a vise grip, a metal sleeve or ferrule, small and large-sized grapes, and a sturdy working surface (preferably metallic).

We will dig deeper in the following steps.

man with wiring tools
Video | carandtrain

Step 1: Measure and Insert the Wires Through the Metal Sleeves

measuring and insert the wires through the metal sleeves
Video | carandtrain

The ferrules or the metal sleeves should have a wire going through them. So, stretch out the wire and carefully feed it into the other end of the metal sleeve to form a small wire loop.

Ensure the section of the wire you are feeding into the ferrule match. The wire and the metal sleeve should have the correct diameters. That will keep the wire intact to facilitate hammering.

You may adjust the wire with your hand or a set of pliers to obtain the correct size loop.

Step 2: Press Down the Sleeves with a Set of Pliers or a Hammer

pressing down the sleeves with a set of pliers or a hammer
Video | carandtrain

Nest the wire loop in a grape such that the ferrule rests on the bottom section below the device grip itself. That will facilitate hammering by preventing the grape tool from hitting the ground/metallic surface – the ferrule should hit the hard metallic surface.

Using a hammer (or a set of pliers), press down the ferrules or small-gauge cables. Do the task on a metallic surface to avoid damaging the ferrules. Use a lot of pressure to press down the ferrules so that they can have a proper grip on the wires. However, if the wire is made of aluminum, you do not need to hammer it so hard for this to work. (1)

While securing the grape firmly, position your chisel on the ferrule and give it three punches with a hammer. Hammer until you block the loop on one side.

pressing the ferrule or make any necessary adjustments
Video | carandtrain

Reopen the grape to release the loop. Then, tighten it on one side to make sure it is secure on that side.

Using a small grape, press the ferrule or make any necessary adjustments.

using a small grape
Video | carandtrain

Step 3: Pull the Wires to Test the Connection

pulling the wires to test the connection
Video | carandtrain

Finally, use your body weight to pull and test the wires. If the wires don’t budge, you have swaged them without using any particular tool.

Alternatively, you may grape the ferrule loop and pull the cable from the other end to test the connection. If it snugs, nest the ferrule in the grape and hammer it again.


If the wire loop is swaged well, insert it in the grape again and hammer it. Position your chisel on the ferrule and make another three punches at three positions on one side.

Release the loop and turn it over. Now grape it and make another three punches on the other side.

Finally, while hammering the ferrule, do it in an alternating manner. Do not hammer one point persistently before you move to the next section. Alternate hammering enhances the evenness and stability of the loop. Also, if you notice any kinks or malformations, use a set of pliers to flatten it, or widen the loop. (2)

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) metallic surface –
(2) Reinforcement –

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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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