Help regarding speaker wire stripping - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought some new speakers and speaker wire and banana plugs. I was stripping the wire a little rough because i was unsure how to do it properly at the time so some copper strands came off with the clear jacket and a few strands also got cut. It was messy lol. Anyway I connected the wire to the banana plugs and hooked everything up and things do sound good. However, I was fooling around with some spare wire I had and now can strip the wire without damaging any strands. I`m wondering if it`s worth it to go back and re-cut properly, or if since i`m getting sound out of all the speakers, there would be no difference. Thanks
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post #2 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 10:49 AM
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If you only cut off a few strands of wire the first time I think you're fine. If you cut off 50% of the wire I would say to recut the wire and start over.
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post #3 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 10:49 AM
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^^ Yeah was just about to post basically what SS said
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply's. I don't think I cut off that much, but is it a case of either you get sound or you don't, or can you get sound, but of a lesser quality if you've cut too many strands? Also, a second question I have is, I have mon$ter wire and it has plastic down the middle of the copper. When I fan out the copper in the banana plug, this plastic becomes exposed....should i just leave it there, or snip it off? Thanks again.
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post #5 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VG1385 View Post

...should i just leave it there, or snip it off? Thanks again.

I would snip it off, btw how did you strip the wire rough allowing some copper strands to come off? I have an inexpensive wire stripper tool that cuts just right, good investment IMO and I've been surprised how many wires I've actually used it on doing stuff around the house.
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I was cutting the clear jacket and tearing it off with the strippers, not realizing I could just pull it off with my fingers after i cut the jacket lol. I was tearing it off and bringing copper strands along with it, and fraying some of the remaining. I am considering going back to re do it, but it is a bit off a hassle to get to the back of the receiver. As I said, I am getting sound out of all the speakers. So I don't know if having more strands would make any improvement in sound quality, or is it an if it works, it works scenario?
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post #7 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 11:52 AM
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A sharp knife is easiest if you aren't going to do this often and don't want to buy strippers. Start cutting straight through gently on one side, bending the cable until you see you've just made it all the way though the insulation. Us that as your reference and sort of 'roll' the conductor over the blade (careful of fingers). If you get most of the way through, just try to pull the rest of the insulation off. It's most likely PVC so it's not strong.
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VG1385 View Post

I recently bought some new speakers and speaker wire and banana plugs. I was stripping the wire a little rough because i was unsure how to do it properly at the time so some copper strands came off with the clear jacket and a few strands also got cut. It was messy lol. Anyway I connected the wire to the banana plugs and hooked everything up and things do sound good. However, I was fooling around with some spare wire I had and now can strip the wire without damaging any strands. I`m wondering if it`s worth it to go back and re-cut properly, or if since i`m getting sound out of all the speakers, there would be no difference. Thanks

I just refrain from trimming my thumb-nail for a few days beforehand. The nail will cut through the insulation quite easily, but won't damage any wire strands. A cut or two with the thumb-nail, and then just pull off the insulation.
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post #9 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 01:10 PM
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Klein tools J1005 crimper/cutter. Amazing how such a multipurpose tool can look so simple.

Very well made and worth the small cost. I bought my pair in 1999, still look and function as new.

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post #10 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

A sharp knife is easiest if you aren't going to do this often and don't want to buy strippers. Start cutting straight through gently on one side, bending the cable until you see you've just made it all the way though the insulation. Us that as your reference and sort of 'roll' the conductor over the blade (careful of fingers). If you get most of the way through, just try to pull the rest of the insulation off. It's most likely PVC so it's not strong.

That's exactly how I do it with speaker wire....
I also strip it a bit extra-long, then use a soldering iron and tin just the last little bit of the end, so the strands don't spread apart. Then, cut off the end, so that the tinned part is just a fraction of an inch long, but the rest of the strands are still flexible enough to make a good, solid connection in the connector.
That keeps the strands from shorting, and allows the maximum contact area within the plug.

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post #11 of 26 Old 03-28-2012, 05:43 PM
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I'd do it again, just so I knew I did it the best I could. But I'm weird YMMV

Likely you will not be able to hear the difference - but if you were worried enough to ask - then you will always worry. Do it again. Best you can. Put your mind to rest.

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post #12 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 02:03 AM
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I literally just use my kbar to strip wires lol

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post #13 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VG1385 View Post

I recently bought some new speakers and speaker wire and banana plugs. I was stripping the wire a little rough because i was unsure how to do it properly at the time so some copper strands came off with the clear jacket and a few strands also got cut. It was messy lol. Anyway I connected the wire to the banana plugs and hooked everything up and things do sound good. However, I was fooling around with some spare wire I had and now can strip the wire without damaging any strands. I`m wondering if it`s worth it to go back and re-cut properly, or if since i`m getting sound out of all the speakers, there would be no difference. Thanks

The small change in wire gauge in the last 1/4" - 1/2" will have negligible a effect on the wire.
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post #14 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 06:58 AM
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I use a bic lighter. Yeah, it sounds silly but it's quick and clean. I heat the wire where I want the break to be, wet my fingers and pull the insulation off. I do use wire cutters and strippers, but prefer they pyromaniac approach.


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post #15 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 07:21 AM
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X-Acto knife or single edge razor blade. Run the blade lengthwise over insulation. Open the insulation along the cut, pull out the wire, trim off the excess insulation.
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post #16 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 07:36 AM
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I've used almost every type of wire stripper from expensive, spring loaded, adjustable types like this
to the inexpensive type like this
.

I prefer a box cutter / utility knife for speaker wire.
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post #17 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

X-Acto knife or single edge razor blade. Run the blade lengthwise over insulation. Open the insulation along the cut, pull out the wire, trim off the excess insulation.

Man, that seems like a lot of work to strip wire. I use the Klein tool, grab the end of the insulation with it, apply a bit of pressure and pull the insulation off. You don't have to "cut" the insulation - just pinch it and create a stress point that will break when longitudinal pressure is applied. Tool never touches the wire, never get strand breaks. Works for solid core, flexible multistrand, or even delicate thin gage single or multistrand for electronics work. On tougher insulation, it may require flipping the tool once to dent the opposing side of the insulation.

It would take me forever to split insulation like you describe... and I'd probably cut my finger or worse in the process!

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post #18 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 08:41 AM
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Whatever suits your needs. Not a lot of work in reality. Takes about 15 seconds. You won't get cut as long as you remember to cut away from your fingers/hand (Just like my granddad taught me).

But... some just use their teeth to bite down and pull.
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post #19 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

You won't get cut as long ...

You haven't seen me work!

One of the reasons I hate table saws. I figure if someone is going to cut off a finger, it's going to be me. I just don't know what day that is coming.

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post #20 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 11:40 AM
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I build a lot of electronics projects and have for over 35 years. I just use the yellow handle type shown above. They cost less than $5 and work great. I don't even bother to set the stop. After enough practice you get a feel of just how deep to cut.

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post #21 of 26 Old 03-29-2012, 12:09 PM
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LOL... it ain't rocket science.
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post #22 of 26 Old 03-30-2012, 10:28 AM
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Klein sidecuts;...score the insulation, pull it off,...never even touching the conductors.

Several decades of that, and it's a piece of cake

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post #23 of 26 Old 03-30-2012, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

LOL... it ain't rocket science.

Indeed. I use a blade because I'm lazy. Cutting the sheath is easiest with some type of blade, and I'm too lazy/disorganized/impatient to change tools. I've used every method mentioned including 'teeth', but I'd never admit that to my wife or dentist.
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post #24 of 26 Old 03-30-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VG1385 View Post

I recently bought some new speakers and speaker wire and banana plugs. I was stripping the wire a little rough because i was unsure how to do it properly at the time so some copper strands came off with the clear jacket and a few strands also got cut. It was messy lol. Anyway I connected the wire to the banana plugs and hooked everything up and things do sound good. However, I was fooling around with some spare wire I had and now can strip the wire without damaging any strands. I`m wondering if it`s worth it to go back and re-cut properly, or if since i`m getting sound out of all the speakers, there would be no difference. Thanks

Teeth. Grab the wire between one of your front canines and the first molar, bite down where you want the insulation to part, and give the wire a good hard yank.
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post #25 of 26 Old 03-30-2012, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Teeth. Grab the wire between one of your front canines and the first molar, bite down where you want the insulation to part, and give the wire a good hard yank.

Your dentist will thank you

...used to worry about getting poisoned (lead and other chemicals) by stripping wire insulation with your teeth, now you need to worry about the cost of losing a tooth and looking like the guy from 'The hangover'


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post #26 of 26 Old 03-30-2012, 05:55 PM
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I am simply astounded that nobody else uses a lighter! It's easy, quick, clean and the pain is just a little kinky

Carry on.

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