All About Wire Stripping

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Wire stripping is a necessary component of nearly any electrical project. It refers to the process of removing the outer protective layer of insulation while making certain to not slice the components beneath. Wires are usually crafted out of metal to compliment their ability to conduct electricity. They are also usually enclosed within an insulating case to prevent electrocutions.

Despite the presumptions surrounding the idea of wire stripping, the process is far from complicated and can be executed with little more than a sharp knife, at least as far as most cables are concerned. However, when speed is a factor and accuracy is a necessity, it is best to utilize the necessary wire stripping tools.

Different wires and cables usually require different approaches to wire stripping:

Electrical cords- These are best stripped with a knife of appropriate sharpness. Accuracy is crucial and best achieved by a steady and concentration lest one cuts a few quarter inches too deep. While this introduces a level of difficulty, anyone that eventually masters the cutting technique will usually find stripping electrical cords a pretty easy task. The actual task involves applying light pressure into scoring a circle around the jacket of the cable without actually cutting all the way through. While a knife can prove effective, most people are advised to utilize a stripping tool where possible.

Plastic sheathed cable- Stripping plastic sheathed cable is performed in two primary stages. First the outer sheath is removed by sliding the sheathed cable into the notch of the stripping tool that matches the wire gauge and squeezing and sliding to expose the inner wiring. You can then proceed to strip the individual conductors. Plastic sheathed cables can be score sheathed using a knife, as is done with electrical wires. Stripping tools are more effective because they combine sheath removal and stripping within a single tool.

Underground cable- Underground feeder cables cannot be stripped by scoring since the sheath surrounds each conductor. The plastic sheath must be peeled away with a knife by pulling it along the cable to remove the sheath in thin slices. The key is to control the depth at which peeling is done. Where nicks or gouges are accidentally perpetrated on the wires, cut the cable at that point and start over.

Coaxial cable- These are stripped using a test cutter that has blades which are adjusted by tuning the adjusting screws to control the depth of each cut. The plastic sheath can be peeled away with a knife, but the stripping tool is more effective.

Communication wires- Anyone interesting in installing high speed internet lines will have to use a special cable stripper to work with these small cables without damaging the conductors beneath the plastic sheath. Because the cables aren’t labeled, experimentation is the only way to determine the best depth for cutting.

Thin wires- These are pretty difficult to strip without causing damage. You’ll need to use a stripper, adjusting it depending on the gauge of the wire.
James Christopher, Creative Writer