Wire Stripper Tool Recommendation? - AVS Forum
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Audio Theory, Setup, and Chat > Wire Stripper Tool Recommendation?
maveric23's Avatar maveric23 05:07 PM 01-21-2007
I'm so sick of the copper strands of my expensive wires getting cut by my cheapo wire stripper!

What is the best wire stripper that I can buy? I'm interested in a tool that the pros use. Ideally, it will strip wires quickly with little effort and above all, not cut the wires!

Many thanks in advance for any helpful recommendations!

Glen B's Avatar Glen B 07:31 PM 01-21-2007
In my experience no one stripper works with all wire types. I use different strippers (see links) according to the gauge and wire type. Stripper #1 works best for me on wire gauges 18 and smaller. Stripper #2 works best for me on gauges 14 thru 10, including all teflon insulated wire and thermoplastic insulated wire like type THWN/THHN.

#1 - http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

#2 - http://www.mytoolstore.com/ideal/ide11-24.html
PartyDart's Avatar PartyDart 10:05 PM 01-21-2007
Agree, dont think ya can get the perfect tool. Im sure you have tried it but try a little grace with a wire cutter only not cutter stripper combo. i just do a test run and alot of the time i use 1 size smaller and make 3-4 light cuts, spin and twist wire and tool a little and pull the plastic off my self. Good luck
maveric23's Avatar maveric23 11:13 PM 01-21-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen B View Post

In my experience no one stripper works with all wire types. I use different strippers (see links) according to the gauge and wire type. Stripper #1 works best for me on wire gauges 18 and smaller. Stripper #2 works best for me on gauges 14 thru 10, including all teflon insulated wire and thermoplastic insulated wire like type THWN/THHN.

#1 - http://www.radioshack.com/product/in...entPage=search

#2 - http://www.mytoolstore.com/ideal/ide11-24.html

Thanks Glen, those look awesome!

I think that I'll check out the Radioshack tool. However, what do you use for 16 gauge?
whoaru99's Avatar whoaru99 09:53 PM 01-22-2007
I have the Stripmaster and won't do a wiring project without it...
maveric23's Avatar maveric23 12:18 PM 01-23-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

I have the Stripmaster and won't do a wiring project without it...

I am also considering Stripmaster. What model do you recommend? Also, do the blades last long?

Can you recommend a retailer with the best price?

Thanks for your help!
whoaru99's Avatar whoaru99 06:03 AM 01-24-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by maveric23 View Post

I am also considering Stripmaster. What model do you recommend? Also, do the blades last long?

Can you recommend a retailer with the best price?

Thanks for your help!

The one I have is the standard Stripmaster with either 10ga-18ga or 10ga-22ga blade set - not certain which one it is off hand.

I've had mine for probably 10 years, maybe more, and have not yet had to change the blades; OTOH, I don't use it every day. So, yes, IMO the blades last a long time.

Can't offer a suggestion on a retailer. I have an inroad to a local wholesale electrical supply outfit so I got mine there. It's been so long ago I have not a clue what I paid for it.
Avliner's Avatar Avliner 06:19 AM 01-24-2007
Most pros do use KLEIN tools (the # 1 brand from electricians though).

You can have a look at them either @ Home Depot or Lowes.

Cheers.
sambow87's Avatar sambow87 09:46 AM 01-24-2007
Is it bad if some of the copper wires are cut while stripping, about 4-6 fell off when I pulled the insulation off? I mean, should I cut the wire and start over?

Thanks,

Sam
misterkit's Avatar misterkit 10:42 AM 01-24-2007
I got mine from Home Depot. Im pretty satisfied with it. Its got Blue Handles. Very easy to use.
TommyV's Avatar TommyV 11:03 AM 01-24-2007
Mine is a craftsman I paid about $10 for at Sears and it works great. I usually buy craftman handtools because they have a lifetime no questions asked replacement warranty.
bryan.carlson's Avatar bryan.carlson 05:44 PM 01-24-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by sambow87 View Post

Is it bad if some of the copper wires are cut while stripping, about 4-6 fell off when I pulled the insulation off? I mean, should I cut the wire and start over?

Thanks,

Sam

If it bothers you go for it, but you certainly won't hear a difference and you'd need some pretty fancy gear just to measure the difference.

The best strippers I've found are Ideal Reflex Premium T-Strippers (ther're about $20 or so). A tip for never cutting those small wires is to oversize by one notch on your stripper. In other words, if you're stripping 18AWG wire, use the 16AWG stripper notch. With a little practice, you'll be getting perfect strips every time.

http://www.idealindustries.com/ht/WireStrippers.nsf
maveric23's Avatar maveric23 01:10 PM 01-25-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 View Post

The one I have is the standard Stripmaster with either 10ga-18ga or 10ga-22ga blade set - not certain which one it is off hand.

I've had mine for probably 10 years, maybe more, and have not yet had to change the blades; OTOH, I don't use it every day. So, yes, IMO the blades last a long time.

Can't offer a suggestion on a retailer. I have an inroad to a local wholesale electrical supply outfit so I got mine there. It's been so long ago I have not a clue what I paid for it.

I think that I'm now leaning towards the Stripmaster because of the replaceable blades. That's very appealing...
neff2k's Avatar neff2k 03:30 PM 01-25-2007
The T-Striper series is what I use for everything. More control over the amount of pressure you put on the cable. I agree with bryan above one size above or don't squeeze them completely when you don't want to break the copper. Idea is to score the break, then pull the plastic off. Been using this method on speaker cable for years, no problem.
paddlefoot's Avatar paddlefoot 08:14 AM 01-26-2007
Your Teeth
alo50's Avatar alo50 10:14 PM 02-19-2013
If you're doing real specialty type of work and don't want any knicks or loss of strands especially when working with very esoteric wire like pure silver I use a thermal wire stripper. It uses high heat to melt the insulation off. I'll have to warn you that they're not cheap and like I say mostly reserved for very special wire with special insulations.
Gizmologist2013's Avatar Gizmologist2013 12:06 AM 02-20-2013
Been using the Miller 101 s for about 35 years. I remove the spring and hold them a little bit differently than most but with practice, you can easily strip 12 awg all the way down to 30 awg tone arm lead wire.
Bigus's Avatar Bigus 09:38 PM 02-21-2013
Just a simple straight bladed Klein tool. Learn the feel of pressure required and you can strip anything from delicate to massive blindfolded. Would never consider anything else.
Splicer010's Avatar Splicer010 09:42 PM 02-21-2013
arnyk's Avatar arnyk 05:50 AM 02-22-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by paddlefoot View Post

Your Teeth

The good news is that using your teeth avoids nicking the conductor.

The bad news is that some modern insulation is so tough that you might actually pull some teeth out in the process.
mtbdudex's Avatar mtbdudex 12:56 PM 02-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by PartyDart View Post

Agree, dont think ya can get the perfect tool. Im sure you have tried it but try a little grace with a wire cutter only not cutter stripper combo. i just do a test run and alot of the time i use 1 size smaller and make 3-4 light cuts, spin and twist wire and tool a little and pull the plastic off my self. Good luck

Holy smokin 5 year old thread alert!!
Fwiw, I use 4 tool's and same method as this old poster stated.

It's therapy to work like this, get into hobby mode and think about what you are doing.

High voltage wire:
a) Cut the wire with the small wire cutters
b) peel the outside jacket back via bottom steel tool (I forgot name)
c) Strip the wires with the wire stripper (method above - but actually 1 size bigger, no nicking)
d) Twist the wires together 2 turns before placing twist cap on with pliers, then twist tightly via end cap to ensure good connection and vibrations don't cause loosening over many years.

Speaker wire/other wire
a) Cut the wire with the small wire cutters
b) Strip the wires with the wire stripper


I've had the above tools....25 years or more??
Sent from my 32GB iPhone4 using Tapatalk
johnwill1379's Avatar johnwill1379 05:07 AM 06-03-2014

I would personally go with a tool like the Maxim 6, you can get them from rs components amongst a lot of other places.

 

I wouldn't bother going with anything that uses heat to strip the insulation of wires, it takes precision to get the right time and a lot of practice as a little to long or a little to much pressure  and your gonna get a lot more problems than just a few strands missing.

 

Using a knife, I still can't believe people do this, its time consuming and no where near as accurate (unless you've been doing it for 30 years and at that stage nobody will change your mind). Professional automatic wire strippers are made for the job, a knife just doesn't compare.

 

Tools like the Minim 2.5, Maxim 6 and Maxim 16 have replacement blades, and I have been using them for over a decade now and are the most durable and long lasting tool I have come across, all my colleagues use them now after they've seen them in action.

 

Hope this helps


arnyk's Avatar arnyk 01:16 PM 06-03-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwill1379 View Post

I would personally go with a tool like the Maxim 6, you can get them from rs components amongst a lot of other places.

I wouldn't bother going with anything that uses heat to strip the insulation of wires, it takes precision to get the right time and a lot of practice as a little to long or a little to much pressure  and your gonna get a lot more problems than just a few strands missing.

Using a knife, I still can't believe people do this, its time consuming and no where near as accurate (unless you've been doing it for 30 years and at that stage nobody will change your mind). Professional automatic wire strippers are made for the job, a knife just doesn't compare.

Tools like the Minim 2.5, Maxim 6 and Maxim 16 have replacement blades, and I have been using them for over a decade now and are the most durable and long lasting tool I have come across, all my colleagues use them now after they've seen them in action.

Hope this helps

The Maxim at > $60 appears to be a high end version of one of these which can be obtained for about $3 incl shipping:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Automatic-Wire-Stripper-Cable-Cutter-Adjustable-Crimping-Tool-0-2mm-to-3mm-New-/281347979991


mtn-tech's Avatar mtn-tech 11:38 AM 06-04-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The Maxim at > $60 appears to be a high end version of one of these which can be obtained for about $3 incl shipping

These "pinch and scrape" automatic strippers work better for standard stranded building wire / primary wire with larger strand gauge - some electricians may use these tools (the ones I've watched don't - they use Klein strippers) but they don't work well on finely stranded speaker wire. Most versions of standard 14 AWG building wire / primary wire has 19 conductors of .027" diameter (approx 20 AWG strands) but most purpose built audio cable usually has a much higher strand count with much smaller gauge wire like this finely stranded speaker wire that has 41 conductors of 30 AWG - these are from the same company:

Building wire: http://www.southwire.com/ProductCatalog/XTEInterfaceServlet?contentKey=prodcatsheetOEM120
Speaker wire: http://www.southwire.com/ProductCatalog/XTEInterfaceServlet?contentKey=prodcatsheet374

The thicker strands can stand up to the gouging of these "pinch and scrape" automatic strippers and no strands are typically lost. Finely stranded speaker wire with 30 AWG strands will often be damaged by them and it is better to use a manual stripper (like the Ideal strippers mentioned above) or the better automatic strippers which work by actually cutting the insulation to a specific depth instead of scraping it off:

http://www.kleintools.com/catalog/adjustable-wire-stripperscutters/katapult-wire-strippercutter-8-22-awg


mtn-tech's Avatar mtn-tech 11:57 AM 06-04-2014
I've seen this question several times before so this must be a problem for a lot of people.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwill1379 View Post

I wouldn't bother going with anything that uses heat to strip the insulation of wires, it takes precision to get the right time and a lot of practice as a little to long or a little to much pressure  and your gonna get a lot more problems than just a few strands missing.

Using a knife, I still can't believe people do this, its time consuming and no where near as accurate (unless you've been doing it for 30 years and at that stage nobody will change your mind). Professional automatic wire strippers are made for the job, a knife just doesn't compare.

Totally disagree with this - heat works very well with some types of speaker wire insulation. A hot soldering iron held still, quickly roll the insulation on the hot tip and then pull on the end of the insulation - it will easily break where it is heated. Using this method is easy and there is NO damage to the copper conductors, but some insulation types won't work with this method - you just have to try it.

Too time consuming? If home theater / audio is your interest / hobby and one of the only things that you can do yourself is terminate your speaker wires and connect your system why would this be an issue? If you are in that big of a hurry you should just buy pre-terminated speaker wires.

Using a razor knife to strip speaker wire is actually quite easy. I put a very shallow cut all the way around by rolling the insulation on the knife with light pressure on the other side, then slightly bend the wire at the cut on each of four sides and cut the insulation a little deeper, and then pull off the insulation - it will break at the scores. This takes about 30 seconds and I can get a perfect strip every time.
mtn-tech's Avatar mtn-tech 12:02 PM 06-04-2014
For those just twisting the wires and using bare wire connections, it is even more important not to damage the outer strands. Every time you remove bare wire from the binding posts and re-twist the wire you will break off additional strands that were damaged by automatic strippers. Not ideal for the speaker wire, but even worse these small pieces of copper can find their way into cooling vents of your source components or AVR with disastrous results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bryan.carlson View Post

The best strippers I've found are Ideal Reflex Premium T-Strippers (ther're about $20 or so). A tip for never cutting those small wires is to oversize by one notch on your stripper. In other words, if you're stripping 18AWG wire, use the 16AWG stripper notch. With a little practice, you'll be getting perfect strips every time.

http://www.idealindustries.com/ht/WireStrippers.nsf

+1 - I agree with those that suggested this type of stripper the most - these "manual" strippers will take a little longer but by using the next size up to cut most of the way through the insulation and just breaking the remaining insulation when pulling it off will leave the actual copper untouched - then you can twist the ends without breaking off a lot of the fine strands or terminate with your connector of choice.
RayDunzl's Avatar RayDunzl 04:18 PM 06-04-2014
Don't forget to put a little anti-corrosion goo on those new ends...

Unless you are soldering connectors, then put the goo on those...

Industrial - No Ox ID
Tweaky - Deoxit, Stabilant 22
Steve Crowley's Avatar Steve Crowley 05:08 PM 06-05-2014
Klein tools are what most electricians use. There are battery powered strippers that melt the insulation which are nice. A little tricky to use at first but when you get the hang of it, very nice terminations. Remember to flux your wires before you solder them. Unless you use rosin core solder. Thank goodness for having some leaded solder as that lead free solder is not as good. In the SMT industry there is problems with BGA connections getting black pad causing bad connections. If you are using an soldering iron make sure the tip is properly tinned and the solder you are using is the correct melting point as the soldering iron you are using. Good luck.
Skytrooper's Avatar Skytrooper 06:16 AM 06-06-2014
I like my Paladin Stripax Pro 6. When installing my 7.1 speakers, they did not damage one fine wire. It may also be that I used good speaker wire. It was 14 ga. with 105 strands.

Steve Crowley, you are right about lead free solder. We had to re solder many surface mount capacitors in the output stages of two way radios.

7.2 System. Also this tool was a real time saver, not only for my Home Theater, but also other wiring projects.
87Echo 12:03 PM 06-26-2014
Hello all,

New to forum but 30 years as electrician. I can tell you that Greenlee and Klein are the most popular wire strippers we use. The Ideal T-stripper is another good one. I found that just "grabbing" the insulation with maybe just a little cut and pushing with your thumb is the best way to remove the insulation without any damage to the conductor. I also will twist the conductors back counter clockwise to keep them from separating and will fit neatly under the terminal.
Of course leave some slack in case you want to redo it or have an issue.
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