Organize & Clean

How To Trim Your Coax TV Cable

updated May 29, 2023
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Coax cables, sometimes known as coaxial cables, are one of the main culprits causing a mess behind home theater setups, usually because an excess length is left behind when cable/DSS is installed. A trip down to our local hardware store revealed the smallest they carried was three feet. So instead of living with the coil or making an appointment for the cable guy, we decided to do it ourselves with just a few tools. The tools and instructions will help shortened your coax cable to use without needing for the cable man.

What You Need

Equipment and Tools

  • Coax cable
  • Coax cable cutter
  • Crimp or screw-on F-connectors
  • Wire cutters or some strong scissors


1. Determine how long of a cable you need, and cut it with scissors. We wanted several inches, so choose six inches just to be safe and allow us to have some room for error. If you want to be frugal, reuse the end with the connector already attached, then you’ll only have to add one.

2. Strip the wire using the “outer” setting on the cutter. Give yourself about an inch of exposed silver insulation. Effectively, you are removing the black plastic coating. Put it in, clamp, and twist the cable to score it all the way around and pull to reveal the silver underneath.

3. Repeat using the “inner” setting to cut away the insulation to expose the copper wire. Go down about half way, and repeat the same twist then pull motion.

4. Attach a connector by sliding it down over the insulation and crimping it around the cable using the upper portion of the cutter/crimper. Be careful with how much you crimp, it can pop off. A few simple crimps will do fine, don’t make our mistake and over crimp to make sure its secure.

5. Voila! You now have a shortened coax cable to use without nary a need for the cable man.

Originally posted on Aug 16 2007

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