"Inspiration is Beauty"
Pony Tails And Cable Ties
February 23, 2015         (updated on May 6th, 2015)
I've tried all these cable tie solutions, none of them were optimal.

Fig.1
I’ve tried all these cable tie solutions, none of them were optimal.

I have been looking for a good cable tie solution for a long time. To me a good cable tie has to have some key attributes:

  • Not damage my equipment!
  • Be quick to apply/remove
  • Keep my cables organized
  • Not slip off on its own
  • Not snag on other items in the bag
I have tried almost everything: zip-ties, wire twist ties, Velcro straps, rubber bands, etc. While each of them would hold my cables they all had severe drawbacks. In one of those rare flashes of brilliance I figured out my solution!

Fig. 2  The standard Ball Bungee anchor.

Fig. 2
The standard Ball Bungee anchor.

I was sitting with some friends at a bar and a friend next to me removed the hair band from her pony tail and set it on the table. I mindlessly picked it up and started fidgeting with it. During a lull in the conversation I noticed the hair band looked a lot like a miniature ball bungee anchor. You know the kind we all have in our grip bag to mount flashes and stuff when on location. Then BAM!, if I could add a some kind of catch, it would make a perfect cable tie.
Fig. 3 Things you'll need.

Fig. 3
Things you’ll need.

Here’s what you’re going to need:
  • A saw
  • A drill
  • 5/32"(4mm) drill bit
  • sandpaper
  • 1 foot of string
  • Some woman’s hair bands/elastics (approx 2"(5cm) in diameter, make sure to get the kind with no metal)
  • 3/8" wooden dowel (use poplar or oak, pine is too weak)
  • A spray can of clear lacquer (optional)
Step #1
You’ll need to cut the wooden dowel into approximately 3/4"(2cm) long pieces.

Step #2
Using the drill and drill bit, drill a hole in the middle of the 3/4" dowel pieces. Drilling a hole through a cylinder can be tricky. I suggest using either a brad point bit or using something to create a pilot hole like a nail or punch. (It’s not completely necessary but it’s best if the hole runs perpendicular to the grain of the wood.)

Step #3
You’ll need to sand all your dowels so they are smooth to the touch. I started with 100 grit sandpaper and finished with 220 grit. At that point I thought they were good enough.

Step #4 (optional)
If you want, you can spray a couple of coats of clear lacquer on the dowels to give them a finished appearance.
Fig.4 Here's how my dowels turned out.

Fig.4
Here’s how my dowels turned out.

Step #5
Once the dowels are cut, drilled, sanded, and lacquered you’re ready to assemble everything. There is no way you can push the band through the hole, you’ll need to use the string to pull it through. Thread some string through the hole in the dowel, then through the hair band, and finally back through the hole in the dowel.

Step #6
This is really important, the hair band has a welded section which is its weakest point. You need to spin the hair band around so the weld is on the opposite side of the the string.
Fig.5This is how the weld should be oriented before you pull the band through.

Fig.5
This is how the weld should be oriented before you pull the band through.

Step #7
Using the string carefully pull the hair band through the hole in the dowel. Pull it till there’s just enough band to wrap around the dowel. Then pull the loop tight and you’re done!
Fig.6 This is about how far to pull the band through.

Fig.6
This is about how far to pull the band through.

Fig.7 Wrapping the small loop back around the dowel locks it in place.

Fig.7
Wrapping the small loop back around the dowel locks it in place.

Step #8
After you have strung all the hair bands you can start going through your equipment bag and organize all your cables. To use the bands just wrap the loop around your cable then lock the loop under the dowel catch. They’re easy to put on and quick to pop off.
Fig.9 Here I have one holding my phantom cable together.

Fig.9
Here I have one holding my phantom cable together.

Quick tip:
If your ties are too small to reach around a particular cable you can daisy-chain them together to make a larger one.

I personally made myself 20 of these guys and have been using them for about 6 months and none of them have failed. I do expect them to break at some point, but at six months I think the solution was durable enough to use and rely on.

Good Luck!
I hope this helps you out.
Todd
 

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