Extension cable loosing flexibility

This is about those extension power leads ( usually orange coloured from B & Q etc). Quite often sold for use with electric lawn mowers.
These cables seem to have 'a mind of their own' every time you reel them up and unreel them.
It's like a 'memory effect' they have, ( as if they are not flexible enough ) and want to keep moving in a direction that they must have been stored in previously.
This probably sounds like a minor thing. But the total time wasted and frustration trying to unravel the thing mounts up time after time.
I've tried that trick sailors use in giving it a small twist every time you reel it around your arm, but its just a bit too stiff to do that successfully. Has anyone else found a good way to deal with this? It has crossed my mind that this cable is just too old and has lost what flexibility it did have once.
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Boy, do I need to get out in the yard and make some youtube videos. I have dealt with long lengths of many types of things, wire rope, hose, wiring, and other things. up to 9,000 feet long.
When anything is wound on a spiral, like on a level wind fishing reel, or a reel of rope you buy at a supplier, a thimble of thread, the line is fed straight on. If you put the reel on a shaft and pull it off straight, it comes off just like that. Straight. But if you stand the reel on end and pull the end of the line up and unreel it like that, it comes off in a spiral. Just like a spinning reel. That is an important detail for storing hoses, cables, etc.
A lot of storage devices are reels. Like a hose reel. Like a level wind fishing reel. It just reels it up, and then unreels it, doing so without getting the spiral. But when one wraps a 100' length of extension cord on their arm, they are making a spiral, and a rather tight one at that. But when unrolling it, one does not put it on a shaft and pull it straight off, but pills it off sideways. It is going to come off as a spiral, and if you pass the wrong end through the center, you come off with a series of magical overhand knots.
PLUS, this fairly tight spiral is then stored to heat and cool with the weather, or just be under strain so that it flexes inside to relieve tension. So, when you go to unwind it and use it, the spirals are set into it depending on the nature of the materials.
There is a way of storing hose/wire extension cords that works great. It is taking one loop in your hand, and letting it hang about three feet down. Now reach for the next long loop with your palm up, and when you bring it to the hand holding the other loops, rotate your palm inward. This makes a one in/one out lay in the roll. You can pull it off with no spiral. This works great for cable and wire rope where you want it to come off easily with no spiral. I use it to store a lot of things, mainly my 100' 220v. welding machine cord, and my 5/8" air lines.
Another way of storage that will keep it from coiling is to figure 8 it. Laying it on the ground, just form a large figure 8. Tie in three places, the outsides, and in the center.
Another way is slipknotting that will give you fast management of long cords. This is easy once you've done it a few dozen times.
All materials that are coiled have different properties of stiffness, material it is made of, how it reacts to heat and cold, diameter, how tight it can be wrapped without causing problems, etc. This leads to different storage means. One way does not work on everything.
One of the most common mistakes is to wrap it in too small of coils.
HTH, and I'll do some youtubes on this, as it has been asked for a lot.
Steve
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Hey, it's his coil, and he can shorten the life of it, cause kinks, cause breaks, or cause cracks if he wants to and is averse to listening to any suggestions. I wish I had the money yearly that people throw away from buying GOOD stuff, then storing it improperly. Or even just people who hang up garden hose with water in the bights with subfreezing weather coming. I'd be a zillionaire.
Steve
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re: "I wish I had the money yearly that people throw away from buying GOOD stuff, then storing it improperly."
Well over 10 years ago, my son got hired by a friend of friend (some rich bastard) to help him clean out his garage. As I drove up to bring my son home I noticed a heavy duty outdoor extension cord - on a cord reel - lying in the pile of junk. It looked brand new. I asked by son about it and he said the guy said it was "cut".
I told my son to toss it in the van.
About 8 feet from one end the insulation and 1 conductor was cut. I bought a plug and a socket and ended up with 2 heavy duty extension cords, one 8 foot, one about 40, for under $5. I still use both of them all the time.
Rich don't mean smart.
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On 02/21/2011 07:04 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Could be someone used to working somewhere that has strict safety guidelines. I am not sure if it is a OSHA reg or just my employer's own internal reg but extension cords may only be used with factory-installed, molded plugs and sockets. No repairs allowed; if it's damaged in any way one end is cut off and the cord is discarded.
I got a real nice 49-foot 12 AWG extension cord that way :) (found it next to the trash can; left it sit there for a week to give everyone a fair shot, eventually got sick of being nice and threw it in the trunk of my car, and bought a $5 repair socket. Only fault I could find, other than the missing socket, was a slight nick in the outer jacket about a foot from the end, so I cut that bit out when I put the socket on it.) Now it doesn't meet safety guidelines for work, but for occasional use around the house I am perfectly comfortable with it!
nate
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You will notice about half way through, this method corrects a spiral that was in the line, letting it go on to the spool in his hand correctly.
Steve
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Mostly, I would agree with you. I spent about six years at sea. On boats, you usually use long pieces of rope, and if you try to wrap it around your arm, your arm isn't big enough. Laying it on deck, and forming a loop about three feet in diameter lets you pull the rope to you, which lets the line uncoil naturally. It also gives you a much more manageable sized coil to heft over your shoulder. Long lines like that are then usually tied off with three short ropes.
Steve
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