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Old 07-03-2018, 01:30 PM   #1
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basic wire stripping question ...

Making my first ever attempts at electrical work, adding plugs and lights to my van......

I am having difficulty stripping 14AWG stranded wire: a few of the wires break off and are pulled with the sleeve. And it seems that my stripping tool is often not cleanly cutting the wire's coating.

The stripping tool I have was given to me by a friend, and is rather old (both the tool and the friend). My first thought was that the tool is dull, hence not cutting cleanly, and thus I am tugging wires and vinyl. It might be time to buy a new tool.

However, I now have learned (perhaps) that a stripping tool notch that is marked "14" is for solid wire, and that with 14AWG stranded wire, I should be using the "12" notch -- implying that 14AWG stranded is larger diameter than 14 AWG solid. Does that sound right?

How can I improve my wire stripping technique?
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:24 PM   #2
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Some years ago I bought a wire stripper similar to the one in the link below. One of the best investments I made. Far, far fewer broken strands.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...063W/204660476


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Old 07-03-2018, 02:31 PM   #3
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Thanks.

This tool does 8-20 solid and 10-22 stranded, which suggests that the 8-solid notch corresponds to 10-stranded, ....., and 12-solid notch corresponds to 14 stranded.

Yep, might be time for a new tool. Or to try the 12-notch on the venerable old stripper.
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Old 07-03-2018, 02:43 PM   #4
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The type that herb has a linked to above has been morphed by the europeans.....these are the cat's pajamas....


No wire nicks and they are self-adjusting for wire gauge ..... the only setting is strip length..that's the little slider on the top jaw.


There are a handful of brands of these, with quite a range of price tags. The only thing they dont strip well is teflon insulation.


https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...3042-ND/415940
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
Some years ago I bought a wire stripper similar to the one in the link below. One of the best investments I made. Far, far fewer broken strands.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-To...063W/204660476


Herb
That’s the one I use. Easy and does a great job. Just be careful of where you put your fingers. Got pinched several times until I figured it out.
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Old 07-03-2018, 05:43 PM   #6
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Being separated from completing a job because of a tool you need is a pain.


I have an old set of wire strippers that has seen thousands upon thousands of wires. Some wires are too big for one and too small for the other size setting. Have you tried the twist? Can help in a pinch.



Sometimes you can take one of the notches, hold it tight and twist the tool around the wire a few times - 90 degrees to the wire. This will often get the sheath cut deep enough to peel off with relative ease.


Another trick I'll use is to score the sheath with a sharp knife then use the stripper on that score.


Often I will use the smaller size notch to score the sheath then the next size larger to strip. Less wire loss there.


I could probably use a new wire stripper myself - but I like my old tools and there's very little that I can't do and I used to build and repair guitar amps.
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Old 07-03-2018, 07:19 PM   #7
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Your old strippers are probably well worn. For very little, you an replace them with a pair of Ideal's that will last many years, and when they are sharp will strip with ease. Something like these are under $20, and work great. By the way, a couple missing strands is not the end of the world, and still works ok fi the wire's too short to try again.
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Old 07-04-2018, 04:35 AM   #8
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Another issue these days with stripping wire via an Ideal etc tool is the junk wire we're buying even if accidentally. Ya know the stuff---that which is NOT really the AWG its claimed to be, poor quality insulation that's also not to any real specification. Keep in mind AWG wiring tends to strip cleanly with tools made for that use---I myself won't hesitate to replace any stripping tool that's past its ability to deliver proper strips.

I have these in two versions, one for 18-12 AWG and another that covers smaller wire diameters too: https://www.amazon.com/Ideal-45-120-...70_&dpSrc=srch

Like SMB123 I've worked on a lot of guitar amps etc and long ago learned the pitfalls of poorly stripped wires. Working with 3-phase power in the 70's into the 80's made this process even more critical. Through the 2000's I was installing huge live sound systems, my experience with proper wire stripping serving me well then too.

Anyway hope some of this helps.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:15 AM   #9
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No self respecting electrician would carry that Klein monster around. Ha. The smaller style Ideal is what most guys have in their pocket or tool pouch. I have a dozen of the Ideal ones and most have an extra hole of varying size caused by cutting a hot wire and blowing a hole in the cutter part. Every time you buy a new one, within a week, you blow a hole in it and keep using it for another year with the extra hole.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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Thanks, all. This is very helpful, and suggests two things: I still need to work my way up the learning curve -- for example, I was not being careful about holding the strippers at 90 degrees -- and I need new strippers.

Yesterday evening I stripped about a dozen ends the old fashioned way: very carefully shaving the sheath with a sharp utility knife and then trimming the flapping bits with a nail clipper. Nary a wire was lost, and after my frustration with the old tool, it was satisfying but slow.... a bit like whittling wood.

Some of my wire is Ancor, and some is another "marine" wire. With the dull tool I had much better luck with the Ancor wire.
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