Here’s how I do rod-style cut levers…

To start, I locate where the eyebolts go and drill the holes with either a #79 (.0145” diameter) or #80 (.0135” diameter) drill.  I glue the eyebolt above the coupler using CA – the other one is installed later.  The center eyebolt is offset to coupler centerline so that the cut lever end is centered over the coupler. Westerfield’s excellent CB&Q XM-23 kit comes with etched eyebolts as seen below.

Next, I test-fit the other eyebolt to the car body.  Actually, on this model I have the eyebolt going horizontal due to not being able to drill into the end sill from above – the one-piece body does not have the space for the pin vise and drill bit.  I was able to do the center eyebolt from above, however.  Also, the end sills angle-away and do not have material to drill into (the cut lever shaft needs to be straight in order to work).  I do not CA the outer eyebolt at this time.

To get consistently sized and shaped cut levers, I made up two simple fixtures for bending the wire.

The first fixture, for cutting the handle length, is a rectangle of .060” sheet styrene about 3/4” x 1-1/4”.  On it I cemented three pieces of .015” thick styrene sheets with gaps for the shape of the cut lever handle end.  The horizontal gap defines the length of the vertical handle. I normally use .010” Tichy phosphor bronze wire.  First I bend the end into a ninety-degree angle with needle nosed pliers.  The bent end is longer than the desired handle length.

The wire is inserted into the fixture groove and is covered with another piece of sheet styrene.  Holding this tight, I use a pair of flush cutters to cut the handle length.  I also run a small fine file to remove the small burr.

The second fixture is made of similar styrene as the first one.  On it I cemented two pieces of .015” thick styrene with a gap for the wire.  I drilled some holes (using either of the above mentioned drills) a distance away from the end of the lower narrow styrene strip.  These are for cut levers of different lengths.  The rightmost hole is about ½” from the end of the lower narrow styrene strip.

The wire handle end is inserted into an appropriate hole and the groove.

The styrene cover is held over the fixture and the wire bent by hand.  The bend is completed to a nice ninety-degree angle with needle nose pliers.  

I keep the coupler end short to avoid interfering with uncoupling tools, which would result in damage to the lever.  I also bend the coupler end upward a little.  Here is a completed set.

To make installation much easier, I take the outer eyebolt and CA it to the cut lever.  Using gravity causes the eyebolt to be vertical and square to the cut lever handle.

Then I just slip the coupler end of the lever into the center eyebolt on the end sill and insert the handle end eyebolt into the drilled hole.  I use Thin CA with a small brush to set it all in place.  Here is the cut lever installed.