Ask any experienced electrician, and they’ll tell you that stripping the protective insulation or plastic sheath from the outside of an electrical wire is trickier than simply squeezing that wire stripping tool. Every lasting, reliable and above all safe electrical connection requires a precise, accurate and crisp execution of wire stripping – and that means not a single nick to those critical metal wires to prevent overheating, bad connections and even dangerous shorts.
Sure, it can be done with a knife with incredible technique, but a bespoke and high quality wire stripping tool is the better bet for precision cuts and splits – especially as the range of hand-held electricians’ tools are all so affordable. Ensure you then know your way around that tool before getting started, because manual wire strippers requiring at least two user actions differ quite fundamentally from automatic wire strippers that ‘split’ the wire rather than cut it. Beyond that, here’s how to safely and properly use your particular wire stripping tool:
DO disconnect the power
Remember, part of the reason for that protective insulation to be there in the first place is to protect human beings from live conducting wires – so just imagine the hazards when working to bite into, split and remove that layer with a metal tool. But whenever you’re working around electricity, any live wire should be rendered safe by disconnecting it from the power source. To be sure there’s no electricity running through it, test it with a voltage meter and then proceed.
DO watch your fingers
If your wire stripping tool has the ability to split or cut, that means your fingers need to be looked after. Many basic wire strippers are essentially scissors, so a similar level of caution should keep you safe and sound.
DON’T damage the conductor
The notch in the blade of a rudimentary wire stripper is to make it easier to slice through the outer protective layer without going so far as to even nick the critical live wires that lay within. Even so, caution will be required as you carefully squeeze the user’s handle – and then a close inspection for any potential damage will be necessary once you’re done. If you notice any damage to the wires, bad connections are possible – as is the risk of overheating and fire. The best way to implement clean wire stripping with no unintended damage is to properly match the wire gauge with the correct notch size or tool adjustment.
DON’T remove too much
Inexperienced tradespeople will often remove too much of the wire’s protective insulation, but don’t forget that those live wires are covered, insulated and protected for very good reasons. Therefore, only remove the amount that will enable a proper connection, so that any exposed conductor is kept to a bare minimum once you get to cleaning up and finishing off the job.
To finish off our run of wire stripping tool DO’s and DON’Ts, don’t forget:
* DO buy a specialist wire cutting tool
* DO take the time to learn how to use it
* DON’T buy the wrong or a poor quality tool
* DON’T cut safety corners and DON’T rush.
Did you know there are countless types, sizes, varieties and brands of specialist wire stripping tools on the market? To strike the perfect balance between efficiency, safety, high quality and affordability, reach out to our experienced industry guides who can help match your user needs with the perfect product that will perform and last.