The other day, I accidentally cut the power cable on my lawnmower (you can guess how).

I later repaired the cable by stripping off the cable coating and wrapping the relevant wires around one another. I then "bandaged" it back up using electrical tape.

Problem is: If you put strain on the cable by extending it to its full length, the electrical tape loosens and the wires unwrap, causing it to break.

What can I do to strengthen the cable? Is there something I can do to make sure that the two cable parts stay together?

  • Depending on the type of cord, NEC 400.9 -> 110.14(B).
    – Tester101
    May 26, 2015 at 20:01

4 Answers 4


The usual official blessed method here is to replace the whole cable. Odds are excellent that your mower manual says that. So, officially and for maximum safety, that is what you should do.

If you are going to do otherwise, you need both a better repair method and to isolate the functions of the repair - part one being the strain relief or physical end to end strength, part two being the electrical connections.

Staying close to your current methodology, you could overlap the cords by roughly 24 inches and tape the center 12" firmly together (that being the physical strength connection) then loop the free ends back to make the electrical connection using wire nuts of a size appropriate for the conductors in the cord, or a soldered connection, or a crimp connection, and then tape that whole mess up. Twisting and taping is not really a sufficient splice method.

Practically speaking, if you need the full length of the cord (the problem raised in your question suggests that you do), you won't have it anymore - so that takes you back to "replace it."

One reason that this sort of repair/splice is officially frowned upon (other than potential poor workmanship exposing connections) is that the cord does not cool as well where it's bundled together, so it can overheat, especially if (as is too common) it's rather near its limits when in good repair.

A more involved repair can be done by using hollow braided rope as the physical strength connection. Yellow polypropylene seems to to be the most common form of this seen in the wild. If you push on it, it gets larger in diameter, and can be slipped over a cable, and with a bit of help from something like a pen or pencil you can expand the holes in the mesh enough to slip the cut end of the cable through the side. If you use something like a 4 foot section of rope and slip the cables in 18-22 inches before poking them out the side, you can get a nice long grip on the cable , and make your electrical splice in the sections that are outside the rope - while the rope will provide the end-to-end strength. Once in place, smooth the rope down to stretch it to maximum length on the cables, then tape it firmly in place.

A final alternative is to put a plug on the cut end of the cord attached to the mower, and a receptacle on the one attached to the plug. Use twist-locks, or use normal extension cord strain relief methods.


For a quick & temporary fix, tie a knot around the spliced portion. That will prevent there from being any tension on the splice. (You can also use a knot to take the strain off of multiple extension cords that are connected).

But seriously, just replace the power cable.


What can I do to strengthen the cable? Is there something I can do to make sure that the two cable parts stay together?

You can use a product intended for the purpose. Note strain relief clamps at each end.

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As most prior answers have pointed out, generally it is better to replace the cable.


I would just replace the cable to the mower. It wouldn't be that difficult to do.

The other option which is NOT recommended due to the fact that it's not considered safe and a proper repair would be to perhaps put a Heat Shrink Insulated Butt Splice in the cable. You can get them at electrical stores. They come in different sizes for different wire gauges. You basically take the ends of two wires and attach them with this butt splice in the middle. The heat shrink than on the outside can be heated with a heat gun to help with water not getting in. Than you could wrap in electrical tape. So you would need a crimper tool, a heat gun and tape. And it would not be safe, but I am sure is done often by home owners. As the other poster says tying a loose know in the cables is probably a really good idea, for strength.

So as you can see replacing the cord would probably be easier. Plus it gives you confidence to fix more and more broken household items!

  • 2
    They are rated in gauge size and all the ones I see online are rated for 600V. So he will indeed be able to find some that are 12 gauge and 600V rated. They say you may use them for automotive, marine, outdoor.... May 26, 2015 at 15:39
  • wiringproducts.com/… May 26, 2015 at 15:40
  • @Ecnerwal I'm fairly sure butt splice connectors are UL listed, though I'd have to search the white book to be sure.
    – Tester101
    May 26, 2015 at 16:24
  • @Janessa Butt splice connectors don't offer any form of strain relief. They'd hold better than tape, but not much.
    – Tester101
    May 26, 2015 at 16:26
  • @Tester101, I agree the tape isn't very good mechanical strain relief. It's a good point because I was assuming the butt splices would offer some help... May 27, 2015 at 4:07

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