I’m new to the forum and I would like to ask for a wire stripper recommendation. I’m still learning what to call everything, so I hope I explain this clearly.
In my work, we use Belden 8450 22AWG line level cable. The specs can be found here:
I have to cut lots of short lengths, 12-36 inches and strip them. I’m not as experienced as some using hand tools. The wire has a twisted pair in a foil shield, with a ground outside the shield. Sometimes the foil comes off with the outside, sometimes not. I spend a lot of time practicing, good thing we have a lot in stock.
I’ve used Miller 101S wire strippers, but I can’t seem to get the depth set correctly so I don’t nick the conductors.The square angle of the cutting edge seems to be the issue. The Miller also gets dull over time.
I just got a pair of Irwin Vise Grip 2078300, but they don’t seem to give me a consistent result. I like the way it works, it’s easier on my hands than the Miller, but they seem a bit too brutal for such a thin wire. I can get the outside off, but it’s not getting the foil, which has to be unwrapped and cut before I can strip the twisted pair inside. There is a dial on the side to adjust, I’m still trying to figure out how it affects the wire stripping action. (Maybe you have some tips for adjusting that knob?)
I’m searching for a wire stripper that will have enough control to strip off the outer cover and the Beldfoil shield, but not nick the conductors. And if it works with a squeeze and release action, that would be a bonus.
I really appreciate your advice. Thank you.
You want one of these precision-adjustable bad boys.
If you have the cash, get two, trust me. Leave one set for your most common cable, have the other for twiddling around to whatever else comes across your bench.
Thank you for the link. They are marketed as Data Cable strippers, have you used it on the kind of cable I’m using? That foil shield and the exposed ground is a tricky cut.
They’re not very expensive, so I might buy one to try. I wish there was somewhere local that sells stuff like this, so I could check it out in person.
Yes, I’ve used them on cable like you’re describing. They work better than anything else I’ve tried, which is still not perfect – that’s awkward cable.
Depending on how uniform the jacket thickness is, the blade may or may not cut perfectly the same depth, because the guide will be following the surface. But at the very least, you’ll get a jacket that’s scored deeply enough that it easily cracks when you bend the cable over your thumbnail and then pulls off easily.
I own 3 of those now. Two I leave set for the jacket cut and center-conductor cut of a particular coax, and the third I use for general tasks like beldfoil, cat5, and whatever else comes up.
I’ve modified all mine, taking them apart to run a deburring tool over the sharp edges of the adjustment window, and drilling a peek hole so I can accurately line up the blade with a mark on the cable. If I pick up a fourth, I’ll take photos of that process, because the manufacturer needs to know what they’re missing!
I’m glad you’ve had experience with beldfoil, that stuff is tricky.
None of the wire stripper review videos I watched on youtube ever used one on this stuff.
I’ve got one on the way.
The tips you offer will help me acclimate to the tool when it arrives.
I am so very grateful for your help. Thank you.
For small cables like that (specifically automation sensor cables)
I use Ideal 45-235.
It’s interesting reading just now, that’s not what they are meant for, but they do work very well for it.
In fact I was always looking for something, or just using a razor knife, and we had a technician in our plant and I saw him use those strippers on a cable. I didn’t hesitate to ask what the part number was. I ordered them that day.
My first guess would be these as they won’t nick the conductors on teflon jacketed wire.
On that foil, I use a simple snap-blade knife. The key is not to cut it but just to score it, then a bend and a yank of that foil shield and it’ll pop off. Obviously, avoid the drain wire with the knife.
Yes, using a small razor knife on that stuff seems overkill, but you’ll get (and keep) a very good sense & feel for it, and quickly, too. You’ll be using your fingers rather than your whole hand - that’s another key.
Search up the right gauge No-Nik strippers from Clauss, too, for perfect cuts on those wires.
Here’s a chart of sizes & handle color-code.
Looks to me like you’d need NN025 (light green), maybe NN028 (black). These aren’t made anymore, but you might find one or two here & there.
Isn’t having the right tool just awesome? I got the tool yesterday. I played around with it this morning, and accidentally dialed in the right setting. It’s quite breath-taking. It takes off the foil, doesn’t nick the conductors. I’m ordering more for the shop, I think the team will love them.
I am so very grateful for all the responses and a huge shout-out to Nate for a great tool!