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  1. #1
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    Cable housing cutter

    What is a good cable housing cutter? I used a klein cable cutter on shifter cable housing and did not like the result. When I get a new one which cable housing cutter should I get?
    fesch
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  2. #2
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    Felco are probably the best. Park/Pedros ones are fine.

  3. #3
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    Dremel.

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Dremel.
    I never liked a Dremel as it creates a lot of heat and can easily melt or warp the housing liner. A good, quality cutter works great.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    I never liked a Dremel as it creates a lot of heat and can easily melt or warp the housing liner. A good, quality cutter works great.
    That's kind of like saying that cutters are no good because they mash up the cable - they will if your technique is wanting.

    With cutters, the compressed inner liner will need to be opened up with an awl. With a Dremel, the slightly melted inner will need to be opened up with an awl. If the disc is set to its highest speed then it's not going to create enough heat for long enough to damage the cable any more than by using cutters.

    In the case of brake cables, the added advantage of the Dremel is that a perfectly square finish is guaranteed with just one action (if one holds the tool square, of course!), without having to finish the job with a file. The same finish is simply not possible with cutters alone.

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  6. #6
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    I've got a spin doctor (Performance house brand) that seems to work fine, better than anything else in the toolbox, anyway. Got them on sale and don't use them that much, so what the heck.

    JMJ

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    That's kind of like saying that cutters are no good because they mash up the cable - they will if your technique is wanting.

    With cutters, the compressed inner liner will need to be opened up with an awl. With a Dremel, the slightly melted inner will need to be opened up with an awl. If the disc is set to its highest speed then it's not going to create enough heat for long enough to damage the cable any more than by using cutters.

    In the case of brake cables, the added advantage of the Dremel is that a perfectly square finish is guaranteed with just one action (if one holds the tool square, of course!), without having to finish the job with a file. The same finish is simply not possible with cutters alone.
    Yup, the liner absolutely needs to opened up, but if it's melted then it's diameter will be slightly smaller there and will be more prone to drag the inner cable. Personally, I found it easier to screw up cable housing using a Dremel than my cutters. I also found it creates more heat on the highest setting.

    Um...I've never had any issues making square cuts...

    I'm not saying a Dremel shouldn't be used, rather that good quality cutters are a very good choice as well. Use what works best for you.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the info. I read a lot of reviews where people did not like one or another of the cutters. I am not seeing a overwelming vote for one cutter over others...

    I've wanted a reason to buy a dremel, so I will have to think about that as well.
    fesch
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  9. #9
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    When possible used the properly designed tool. But I've used Dremel, GOOD wire and bolt cutters.

    Keep a length of old cables for brake or derailleur housing. If a piece of cable is inside the housing when it's cut then it barely compresses. I also use old cables with the dremel to keep melty bits out of the housing.

    I used the bolt cutters and cable method as an emergency method (didn't have housing cutters) and the results were as good as with the park tool.

    But if you don't already have 12" bolt cutters then you may as well buy the housing cutters. I happen to have them for fencing.
    Life is too short to race through it. When life is a blur, you'll miss the magic.

  10. #10
    conjoinicorned
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    i've used park, felco, shimano, hozan and dremel.

    i don't notice any difference between them. except the dremel...i don't usually have my dremel sitting on the workbench just waiting to be used, so i always just grab the cutters.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  11. #11
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    @FESCH after you buy cutters

    Buy the Dremel
    . It's like having a tiny machine shop at your fingertips. It's usefulness is way beyond just bikes


    Name brand doesn't matter. My rotary tool is Mastercraft, it feels cheaper than a Dremel but it gets the job done. I would recommend buying authentic Dremel bits, even if you cheap out on the tool. There may not be a difference with the cheap chinese bits, but at 30,000 rpm defects and flaws are magnified

    Get a Flex shaft, and the bench clamp. They make it much easier to use
    Life is too short to race through it. When life is a blur, you'll miss the magic.

  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Felco. Hands down the best. Stay's sharp forever and besides who always has their dremel sitting on their workbench anyway?

  14. #14
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    I keep my Dremel on the bench, and the cutting wheel in the tray. It's the way to go for me in order to get clean, straight cuts on many things, including housing.

  15. #15
    I'm just messing with you
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    This will drive everybody crazy, but I use a pair of lineman's pliers, a bench vise, and a hammer. Grab the housing where I want it cut, lay the jaws of the pliers on the anvil of the vise and whack the top-side jaw of the pliers with a hammer. Cuts right through every time slick as a whistle. Yeah I have to open the end of the cable back up, but you oughta at least be checking that anyway.

    I've got a dremel, but I can have the cable cut my way faster than I can get the dremel case out of the cabinet, never mind putting a cutting wheel in and slow-cutting the housing so it doesn't melt.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  16. #16
    bikexor
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    I went and got the $13 generic cable cutters they sell at Ace... they specifically say "NOT FOR STEEL" on them and guess what, they're right! First cut dented the cutting surface and they've only gotten worse... so much for being a tightwad.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    This will drive everybody crazy, but I use a pair of lineman's pliers, a bench vise, and a hammer.
    Me too.
    I usually hit the plier handle, not the head.

  18. #18
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    Next time, I'm just going to hold the Dremel in place, then smack it with a hammer. That otter do it.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by EBasil
    Next time, I'm just going to hold the Dremel in place, then smack it with a hammer. That otter do it.
    Video or it didn't happen
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  21. #21
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    I have been using the same pair of Felco cutters professionally for almost 10 years, they need a decent sharpening but they still cut pretty well. For home use anything will work OK. My favorite reasonably priced cutter would be the shimano though.

    never thought of using the dremal, can't remember the last time I used mine I've moved on to BIGGER and better rotary tools

  22. #22
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    I have used Felco, Pedros, Park, and Shimano cutters. But the big deal is what kind of housing you are cutting. Spiral wound brake housing can be cut with dikes or lineman pliers if you can find the gap in the winding, and cut between it. Coaxial shifter housing needs blades which pass each other rather than meeting like dikes or lineman pliers. I use different cutters for brake versus gear housing because brake housing will dull gear housing cutters, and dikes will not cut gear housing well at all.

    I cannot ever see using using a rotary tool to cut housing. I can see using a bench grinder to finish off the ends, but a file works just as well with no heat.

  23. #23
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    Spiral wound brake housing can be cut with dikes or lineman pliers if you can find the gap in the winding, and cut between it.
    So you cut the cable at an angle?

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    So you cut the cable at an angle?
    No, I use the blades to score the plastic on the housing until I can feel the gap, then cut.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeditiousCanary
    No, I use the blades to score the plastic on the housing until I can feel the gap, then cut.
    But if the blades of whatever cutting tool you use are lined up with the edges of the coil, then you can't do anything other than cut at an angle (because the coils don't run at right angles to the length of the cable). It's neither here nor there, of course, if you then straighten the cable end with a file; however if you're doing that then there's zero point in finding the edge of the coil in the first place. I'm just a little confused by the motive behind your method.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeditiousCanary
    I have used Felco, Pedros, Park, and Shimano cutters. But the big deal is what kind of housing you are cutting. Spiral wound brake housing can be cut with dikes or lineman pliers if you can find the gap in the winding, and cut between it. Coaxial shifter housing needs blades which pass each other rather than meeting like dikes or lineman pliers. I use different cutters for brake versus gear housing because brake housing will dull gear housing cutters, and dikes will not cut gear housing well at all.

    I cannot ever see using using a rotary tool to cut housing. I can see using a bench grinder to finish off the ends, but a file works just as well with no heat.
    Hmm, believe what you like, and spend money on unnecessary special purpose tools if that is your pleasure. I cut brake housing with the lineman's pliers and add the hammer and vise to my method for shifter cables, and it works great every time. The only problem is keeping track of both halves of the housing when I use the hammer, because one end of the cut usually goes flying.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    But if the blades of whatever cutting tool you use are lined up with the edges of the coil, then you can't do anything other than cut at an angle (because the coils don't run at right angles to the length of the cable).
    Not really. As you apply pressure, the coil spreads open, and allows for a clearer cut. It is not square, but it prevents creating a burr and the need for a second cut, or more filing than would otherwise be needed.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Hmm, believe what you like, and spend money on unnecessary special purpose tools if that is your pleasure.
    The issue is using the correct tool for the job. I'll come back to this in a few moments.

    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    I cut brake housing with the lineman's pliers and add the hammer and vise to my method for shifter cables, and it works great every time.
    There are a lot of issues here. First, I have three tools for cutting housing, one each for: coil wound brake housing, gear housing or compressionless brake housing, and hydraulic housing. You have to use three tools to cut one type of housing, at the risk of damaging all three tools, and cannot cut hydraulic with your setup (Not that you need to, just saying.). Lineman pliers are not striking face tools. They are meant to be used with the application of hand pressure only. As a result, they are hardened much more than striking face tools and run a much higher risk of shattering or chipping when you hit them with a hammer. If you already have lineman pliers, you probably spent about $20 for them new, which is about how much a decent set of cutters like the Felco ones would cost (Felco are about $60, but the style of cutter is my point). If you break your lineman pliers, you will have to buy another set, versus just buying the right tool and reducing the chance of breaking your lineman pliers by hitting them with a hammer against a hard surface.

    Also, lineman pliers, or other cutters which meet instead of the cutters passing just mash gear housing and compressionless brake housing flat, and requires a lot more post cut clean up to work well. I suspect you do not do this anyway, so you probably have no idea how much better your bike could work and feel than it does, or do not care. But if you are only working on your own bike, this is something you have probably never gotten any feedback about. As a professional mechanic, your work is appreciated (or not) by someone other than yourself, who many have much higher standards for positive, accurate, and light shifting. As such, you have to adjust your skills to a higher level than many people even know exists.

    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    The only problem is keeping track of both halves of the housing when I use the hammer, because one end of the cut usually goes flying.
    Which is something I never have to worry about, and only further supports my point about the right tool for the job. Basically, you are advocating using a hammer to install a screw.

  29. #29
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    It is not square...
    Therefore it must be on an angle.

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
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  30. #30
    conjoinicorned
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Hmm, believe what you like, and spend money on unnecessary special purpose tools if that is your pleasure. I cut brake housing with the lineman's pliers and add the hammer and vise to my method for shifter cables, and it works great every time. The only problem is keeping track of both halves of the housing when I use the hammer, because one end of the cut usually goes flying.

    or, believe what you like. i have a pair of klein linesmans, cost me $60. my park tool cutters cost me less than that. with the cutters i don't need a hammer, i don't need to look for the housing, and i don't need any more housing prep.

    one man's "unnecessary special purpose" is another man's "right tool for the job" i guess.

    YMMV as always.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Therefore it must be on an angle.
    Which I did mention. Rotary tools have this issue too, and usually require a second cut to be square, unless you are just trimming a bit off the end. I hate Rotary tools as a rule. they are good for metal shaping, and polishing, but I would never use it as my main tool to cut housing. Takes too long to spin up, cut, and spin down compared to hand cutters, not to mention cutting wheels, dust, extra cleanup from heat you never get with hand cutters. But if it works for you, good on ya.

  32. #32
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    Which I did mention.
    Indeed. So, you leave you cable end on an angle? If you think that this brings "positive, accurate, and light shifting", you really want to try a perpendicular cut: it's like a whole new level of positive, accurate, and light braking. (Obviously your method doesn't apply to shift cable.)

    I hate Rotary tools as a rule.
    You hate rotary tools? You feel hate for rotary tools?
    Last edited by SteveUK; 05-21-2010 at 01:08 PM.

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  33. #33
    I'm just messing with you
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferday
    or, believe what you like. i have a pair of klein linesmans, cost me $60. my park tool cutters cost me less than that. with the cutters i don't need a hammer, i don't need to look for the housing, and i don't need any more housing prep.

    one man's "unnecessary special purpose" is another man's "right tool for the job" i guess.

    YMMV as always.
    But, can you wire up a house using your park tool cutters? I rest my case.

    The really tough part of the flying housing after cut is that my vise is placed where it usually bounces off the back of the bench, then ends up behind another bench. There's probably enough housing back there to cable up another bike.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Indeed. So, you leave you cable end on an angle?
    No, I use a file to clean it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    If you think that this brings "positive, accurate, and light shifting", you really want to try a perpendicular cut: it's like a whole new level of positive, accurate, and light braking. (Obviously your method doesn't apply to shift cable.)
    See previous response above regarding the use of a file. I am a bigger stickler over this than many other mechanics, which is another reason I do not like rotary tools. The housing makes it hard to get a square cut because it gets in the way. Plus, you have to plug it in, keep buying cutting discs, replacing them...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    You hate rotary tools? You feel hate for rotary tools?
    Yeah, they talk trash about my mum, and are third rate compared to a right angle die grinder.

  35. #35
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    fukc tools i use my teeth






    and sometimes a heavy duty set of park or shimano works ok... just be sure to stay away from pricepoint's cutters... they cant cut wet pasta...
    What mountain bike forum do pirates use? .....



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  36. #36
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    A nice quality set of wire cutters work just fine. I've never used a special tool and have always had good results. With that said, I was an electrician so I have the tools already. But special tools are not always necessary and cutting cable/housings is one example of this.

  37. #37
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    cutting derailleur housing with normal "dikes" or wire cutters will dull them quickly in a shop environment.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dunerinaz
    But special tools are not always necessary and cutting cable/housings is one example of this.
    I disagree with this.

    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs
    cutting derailleur housing with normal "dikes" or wire cutters will dull them quickly in a shop environment.
    I agree with this.

  39. #39
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    I've always used a pair of Klein cutters I already had for cutting coax cable. They're "semi round" so better than regular wire cutters. They still squish the housing to a certain extent, but then even proper bike cable housing cutters do that too in my (limited)experience.

    I'm curious what cutting wheel people use with the dremel? A regular metal wheel?

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Dremel.
    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Why should I or anyone else care about your opinion? Are you riding my bike?

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus
    Troll, troll, troll, troll....
    Do you feel better for that?

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    Do you feel better for that?
    It is not their fault that you contradict yourself, and goad people with a load of self importance. You do it all on your own.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeditiousCanary
    It is not their fault that you contradict yourself, and goad people with a load of self importance. You do it all on your own.
    His own pungent stench follows him around. Yet he fails to realize it's source!

  44. #44
    AZ
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    Kobalt Tools stranded cable cutters , available at Lowes for about $18.00 best as I remember . They work very well , dont crimp the housing , dont require a strike from a hammer .

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeditiousCanary
    It is not their fault that you contradict yourself, and goad people with a load of self importance. You do it all on your own.
    It is a fool who thinks that they are without contradictions; however, Dictawhatever's use of that quote actually serves better to demonstrate his weak comprehension than it does my contradicting myself. Here's a link to the original thread.

    For all your short time here, you appear quite similar to craigsj, my antagonist in that thread. The similarity in a tendency for the irrational is striking.

    As far as opinions go, I, like anyone else, can choose who's opinion they value. And as for self-importance: well, how can I disagree with somebody so much more eminently qualified than I to recognise such a virtue?

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
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  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus
    His own pungent stench follows him around. Yet he fails to realize it's source!
    That's shear poetry!! Wonderful! I really get under your skin, don't I? Perhaps you should be encouraged to elucidate. How do I make you feel? Why do you have such strong feelings for me? Come on, let it all out...

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    That's shear poetry!! Wonderful! I really get under your skin, don't I? Perhaps you should be encouraged to elucidate. How do I make you feel? Why do you have such strong feelings for me? Come on, let it all out...
    Haha..Don't you just regret making that arrogant statement? Too bad your boys couldn't dig you out of that one...Sorry you can't escape your own stench. How about a lesson in humility?

  48. #48
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    Wow, information overload Lots of opinions and someone can use just about any tool you can think of to do it...
    fesch
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dictatorsaurus
    Haha..Don't you just regret making that arrogant statement? Too bad your boys couldn't dig you out of that one...Sorry you can't escape your own stench.
    I don't regret anything I've said. My boys? What on earth are you rabbiting on about?

    Come on, I've opened up and invited you to express why you have such strong feelings towards me. Currently, the trail of dust is virtually perceivable as you run away from the opportunity I've given you to sensibly express your feelings. What's the matter? Can't you get past huffing and puffing?

    How about a lesson in humility?
    Please do; in your own time...

    What use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings? -
    Diogenes


  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    I don't regret anything I've said. My boys? What on earth are you rabbiting on about?

    Come on, I've opened up and invited you to express why you have such strong feelings towards me. Currently, the trail of dust is virtually perceivable as you run away from the opportunity I've given you to sensibly express your feelings. What's the matter? Can't you get past huffing and puffing?



    Please do; in your own time...
    All I need to do is quote you and you start flapping your feathers. Watching you is entertainment

    Sorry I don't you seriously enough to have any sort of feelings towards you

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