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Home Bushcraft Kit / Reviews Billy Can MOD - Making a Handle using Brake Cable

Billy Can MOD - Making a Handle using Brake Cable

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The purpose of this guide is to help you in modifying your billy can to give it a new handle using brake cable.

Why remove the solid handle in the first place?

Solid handles aren't as versatile and often when you place them on an improvised hook over the fire they have a tendency to slip to one side, using a somewhat flexible handle (like brake cable) allows the handle to meet the surface of your hook better and allows for improved stability. Also on my cheap billy-can set (3 aluminium billy-cans that fit inside each other) the standard handles are prone to popping out after a lot of use and packing away.



Equipment Needed

  • Brake Cable (From an old bicycle)
  • Electrical Female Push On Crimp Terminals
  • Thin Nosed Pliers (or multi-tool)
  • Wire cutters (or something else capable of cutting brake cable)


  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Crimper


First start by removing the existing solid handles, if your billy cans are anything like mine they will pop-out easily (as they often do accidentally).


On the right you will see the how simply the handle is attached to my billy-can.

Make sure you have enough brake cable to handle the number of billy-can's you wish to do:


And then check that you have electrical connectors that will accept the thickness of your brake cable (I had to open mine up slightly):

eletrical-connector electrical-connector-up-close


Once you have inserted the cable through the connector bend it to create a loop so that it doubles back into the connector, once you have worked out how much slack is needed in order to create the loop then crimp down the first side of your connector using your pliers (as shown to the left).

Next pass the excess cable through the hole on the side of your billy can and back into the connector and then crimp with your pliers, creating your loop as shown below.



Once you have created your loop you will need to work out how much cable you will want to stay as your handle. What I found useful was to put the solid handle back into position to get a gist of how much cable would be needed, at this point bear in mind you will need a little additional cable to create a second loop on the incomplete side.

When it comes to cutting the break cable I found that the wire-cutters on my multi-tool weren't up to the job and this break-cable was tougher than I thought! So in the end I employed an old chisel, a brick and a hammer which swiftly & cleanly did the job. Remember to wear eye protection if you use this method! Once you have your desired length it's time to cut that break cable.

When you have the right length repeat the same looping process mentioned above to get your second loop:


Next crimp down on the top neck piece of both the connectors (where the cable first entered) so that you then have three points on the connector that are crimped. I repeated the process on all three of my billy-cans to complete the conversion of my set. The billy cans still easily fit inside one another, it's saved a fraction in weight and the handles now have better stability on improvised pot-hangers that I make when I am in the bush.


Comments (1)
1 Saturday, 17 May 2014 06:36
How simple! Bushcraft at work Top idea

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