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Technical Cutting brake lines for flaring

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Kent Vanhelsing, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. Kent Vanhelsing
    Joined: Jun 29, 2014
    Posts: 26

    Kent Vanhelsing

    Here is an easy way to cut square ends to prep brake lines for flaring. An old door hinge will pinch the line tight without collapsing or marring the surface. Lay it down on the hinge pins- that will square it 90' to the hinge leaf. You only need to pinch it lightly in your vice to be secure. Lay a fine tooth wide hacksaw blade against the leaf, cut slow and easy. A cheap V-groove router bit makes an excellent deburring tool. The end of the line in the photo has been done with this technique; nice result, ready to flare. The line used here is the copper/zinc type; not cheap, but makes a really fine line. If your cut is a wee bit off 90', you can square this line with 220 grit on a flat surface. Oh yes, don't use the router bit in a router- by hand will do just fine. :)

    Attached Files:

    Donald A. Smith and bct like this.
  2. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,903

    from 06492 ct

    um...... a flaring tool kit works well.cuts sraight too....
  3. Hard to tell where your from looking at your user name on the post but here in the north west any good tool or parts house sells quality tube cutters like real cheep. You should add one to your tool box. If you have a N.A.P.A. store any where close check them out. Way easier than using a hack saw.
    The Wizzard
  4. Kent Vanhelsing
    Joined: Jun 29, 2014
    Posts: 26

    Kent Vanhelsing

    Sorry, I left out one little tidbit- manufacturers of the copper/zinc line advise against using a tubing cutter due to the compression of this line by the cutting wheel. After trying to be smarter than their metallurgical engineers and cutting it with my expensive Ridgid tubing cutter, I discovered Lo and Behold, they were right; there is a reason for doing it old school.
    Atwater Mike and Donald A. Smith like this.

  5. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 11,369

    from Missouri

    I used a tubing cutter for that tubing then clamp it in my flaring tool holder then use a file to remove the rolled in end of the tubing.
  6. OK, I understand better now. I have never used the product your talking about. I always use Ballkamp product from N.A.P.A. as it comes in a 25' roll and is very nice stuff to work with.
    The Wizzard
    yruhot likes this.
  7. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,617

    Rusty O'Toole

    I cut them with a tubing cutter which makes a nice straight flat cut. Then deburr with a long, tapered reamer. Been doing them this way for years without a problem. Blow out the tube real good with compressed air to make sure no chips remain inside.

    This is for regular parts store steel brake lines, which last for 20 years or more. How long will you be keeping your car?
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2015
  8. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,679

    from So Cal

    Copper/zinc tubing? I was taught by the journeymen mechanics I worked with that you should always use seamless steel tubing for brake lines, and use a double flare. I have an old cutting flaring kit inherited from my dad many years ago, I added the double flare dies from Snap On or Mac to the kit.
  9. Any tubing too soft to cut with a quality tubing cutter used correctly is too soft to be used for automotive lines....
  10. jamesgr81
    Joined: Feb 3, 2008
    Posts: 265


    Copper alloy brake tubing is used on many expensive vehicles. It has superior corrosion resistance as compared to steel. Don't beat up the OP, but it's copper-nickel brake tubing most likely.

    Nothing wrong with the door hinge idea. Doesn't leave a ridge that has to be reamed like a tubing cutter. More than one way to do a job.
  11. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,700


    Handy tip, thanks. I've found that the cheap proper cutters don't do a great job. So I usually use a file to tidy it up.
  12. All we use is copper nickel line. Up here lots of modern DD's have brake lines that rust out. The cuprio nickel is the only line that lasts.

    Always use a tubing cutter and have never seen a problem with the line deforming with the pressure of a tubing cutter.

    I'm curious if this is different line?

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  13. Copper nickel brake line is sold under the trade name Kunifer over here in the UK. It is the product of choice for top quality restorations. It is a completely different material from pure copper. Only rodders here use stainless brake line.
    LeoH likes this.
  14. Not a bad tip if you get stuck somewhere with limited tools. I clean up anything I cut (using a tube cutter) with a file and countersink before I flare it regardless.
  15. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,320


    I do a lot in stainless and have gotten in the habit of cutting it on my bandsaw, deburr outside and square on the beltsander, just touch it with a countersink - you don't want to remove any parent metal, just the burrs. I haven't used a tubing cutter in years, but if your tubing cutter is nice and sharp why not? The bad thing about them is how it pinches the metal, if the pilot for the doubleflare goes in the hole then you are good to go; but on a 37degree -AN flare you can't have that pinch, you need the full bore size. Thats why I don't use a tubing cutter.
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

  16. I have seen Copper nickle lines before. A friend used them on his 39 and said they were the easiest to get a tight bend in them that he had ever used, and he has been doing this for 50 years. Napa sells them now and so does jegs. Plus they will not rust or corrode. Im planing on using them for my 39 sedan.
  17. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,531


    I too tried and converted to the Cupro-Nickel tubing, you can bend it with bare hands and it doesn't rust. As far as being too soft to use a tubing cutter just tighten the cutter maybe a quarter turn each revolution so it doesn't deform the tube. What little deformation there is just helps the double flare since it is in the direction of the second flare.
    clem likes this.
  18. seabeecmc
    Joined: Jan 28, 2005
    Posts: 1,096


    Excellent advice. Great way to hold straight line. Stopped using tubing cutter long ago on stainless lines. Was advised by the supplier (Inline Tube) to always cut stainless line with a cut off wheel. Ron
  19. ago
    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 2,199

    from pgh. pa.

    Cutting stainless with a tubing cutter work hardens the end. Makes it tougher to flare.
  20. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,204


    I've re-lined several cars using the Copper/Nickle brake line and cut them all with a tubing cutter and never collapsed them. Just make sure the cutting wheel is sharp and go slow - little bit of pressure and lots of turns.
    clem likes this.
  21. Dan Timberlake
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 1,392

    Dan Timberlake

  22. Ragtop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2001
    Posts: 1,260


    I took the line lock off my T the other day and needed to make up one new line. I was a little leary when the parts guy told me about the nickel copper but I tried it and I don't think I'll ever go back to steel. Nice to work with and like someone said, it's easy to make nice neat bends by hand. I din't need to cut and flare mine but it sounds like careful use of a good tube cutter will work fine.
  23. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 808


    Manufacturers of all types of brake line tubing will tell you not to use a tubing cutter. The tubing is dead soft annealed to make it easy to flare, and a tubing cutter work hardens the end of the tube. As someone else up above said, stainless tube is the worst for work hardening, but all of it will harden to one degree or another. Tube cutter is the easiest way, but not the best way.
  24. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,679

    from So Cal

    Cutting the tubing with a tubing cutter will work harden it, but cutting it with a hack saw wont? Really?
  25. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 808


    Really. Sharp cutting tools are the key to avoid work hardening regardless of what cutting process you're using. Of course, rubbing on SS with a dull hacksaw would work harden the surface, but if the saw blade is sharp then it'll cut rather than rub and there's no work hardening.

    A tube cutter is the worst case of a dull tool. It doesn't cut. A tubing cutter uses brute force to displace metal to either side of the wheel until it eventually pinches the tube in two. Most efficient way you could find to work harden metal.
  26. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,515

    seb fontana
    from ct

    Well I cut some SS I got with the nuts a s a kit and is supposed to be flareable..I coundn't get it done with my standard snap on double flare tool; don't even think two men and a boy would have helped..BUT I don't know how the end was cut, I'll try again but make a cut with hack saw and see what happens..
  27. hotcoupe
    Joined: Oct 3, 2007
    Posts: 528


    /\/\/\ AGREE /\/\/\, with METLMUNCHR
  28. fatkoop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2009
    Posts: 713


  29. Agreed.

    But the copper nickel line is crazy soft. No issues with that material.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  30. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,920

    Atwater Mike

    I used to get a brake line product under the name "Kant Kink". Very malleable, cut nicely with tubing cutter, rolled easily into a double flare.
    Don't see it advertised lately.
    Suspect it was 'Copper-Nickel'...

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