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Old 10-20-2018, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default strip large wire question

Hi, i strips larger guage wire with linesman or a sharp knife. Sometimes i have left marks on the conductors. I havent cut thru any strands but alot of times i have slightly marred the conductors. A few times i did it in front of my boss who tells me not to sweat it as long as i didnt cut thru strands and to quickly move along instead of reterminating.

Is slight marking inevitable?
Do you redo your splices when this occur?

I hate to think i am leaving something in service that might fail down the road.




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Old 10-20-2018, 10:11 PM   #2
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I personally don't sweat it. When you mar, you are simply deforming the metal by the tiniest bit, you aren't really removing material. (Unless you are using a file to cut your sheathing?).
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:32 PM   #3
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You’re not supposed to but on medium voltage and fairly high power I’ve never seen a problem if you nick it. The biggest problem is on some cables like MV-90 the shield layer is really thin and super easy to damage to the point where you have to cut it back and start over when you’re taking the outer jacket off.

The way I strip large cable is the way I was taught and the way splicers do it that went to utility training schools, and 3M trainers on medium voltage terminations. So its the way the high end techs do it. You take a sharp knife and score a ring around it. Then score a straight line from the ring out to the end. Keep scoring deeper until you penetrate on the end. Now use fingers, dikes, or on 500+ Kcmil horse nippers to grab the edge and peel it. You may have to roll it around the tool to peel it open.

On thermoplastic this works fine. But when dealing with hard or tough insulation like CPE rubber or EPDM you need to score/cut/peel a 1 inch strip out first. This gives you an opening to get hold of the insulation to peel it back and this is where horse nippers give you the leverage you need to peel it.

I carry a 50 pack of blades on the truck. When I’m stripping out 350+ Kcmil cable often I go through a half blade per cable end. I know guys that swear by a (conveyor) belt knife or a hawk bills but I do just fine without them.
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Old 10-20-2018, 10:46 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=paulengr;5096168] You take a sharp knife and score a ring around it. Then score a straight line from the ring out to the end. Keep scoring deeper until you penetrate on the end. Now use fingers, dikes, or on 500+ Kcmil horse nippers to grab the edge and peel it. You may have to roll it around the tool to peel it open.

/QUOTE]

I try to get some of the butchers we have to do this. For one good reason is that you only have one piece of litter to manage.
It frosts my B alls to see a dozen pieces of insulation laying on the floor under one of those whittlers.

I bought a Ripley tool years ago and one of the guys spotted it and uses it when he can. That thing only puts out one piece of litter too.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:42 PM   #5
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Over the years ive learnt to put my finger or thumb against the blade to set the depth. Ring score then starting from the score mark score towards the end then just before the end cut deeper so you have some where to grab hold to tear the insulation off. Smaller cables i will score then bend which causes the insulation to tear at the score mark. My pet hate is seeing some one tearing the insulation by twisting wire cutters which chews into the cable.

Now i just wish i could work out how to strip romex.
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Old 10-20-2018, 11:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpop View Post
Over the years ive learnt to put my finger or thumb against the blade to set the depth. Ring score then starting from the score mark score towards the end then just before the end cut deeper so you have some where to grab hold to tear the insulation off. Smaller cables i will score then bend which causes the insulation to tear at the score mark. My pet hate is seeing some one tearing the insulation by twisting wire cutters which chews into the cable.

Now i just wish i could work out how to strip romex.
I used the adjustable depth knife to score it.


Now strip the romex is easy but not the dammed UF cables they are it own game with stripping it.
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Old 10-21-2018, 02:09 AM   #7
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Score it, and use your needle nose like a sardine can opener, grab a corner and wrap it around your NN's. When you get good you can score n peel at the same time. For SO cord, bend it in half, and just press your blade gently into the sheath at the bend, do multiple passes.
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Old 10-21-2018, 07:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
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For SO cord, bend it in half, and just press your blade gently into the sheath at the bend, do multiple passes.
One of the odd satisfactions of electrical work.
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Old 10-21-2018, 07:56 AM   #9
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[quote=Southeast Power;5096174]
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulengr View Post
You take a sharp knife and score a ring around it. Then score a straight line from the ring out to the end. Keep scoring deeper until you penetrate on the end. Now use fingers, dikes, or on 500+ Kcmil horse nippers to grab the edge and peel it. You may have to roll it around the tool to peel it open.



/QUOTE]



I try to get some of the butchers we have to do this. For one good reason is that you only have one piece of litter to manage.

It frosts my B alls to see a dozen pieces of insulation laying on the floor under one of those whittlers.



I bought a Ripley tool years ago and one of the guys spotted it and uses it when he can. That thing only puts out one piece of litter too.


Tried basically all the Ripleys. Some are junk some aren’t. The vee one is probably the best. The problem I ran into with them is you have to adjust it for each size. Works great if you’re doing lots of the same cable. Second problem is it works good on single conductors but on multiconductor cables where the jacket is molded around the conductors and depth is uneven, it doesn’t work. Third problem is it gums up on soft materials where it plows. Fourth problem is you can never get the depth right on fine strand without cutting strands. So if you have lots of the same cable and it’s the type the Ripley tool is meant for it works good. You can score insulation perfectly once you get a feel for it. The Ripley stuff has no “feel”.

Ripley and others make the “hook and blade” type tools. Basically junk. The banana peeler is good for one thing only hard insulation like distribution cables but you need to buy the right one or get the adjustable.

I do a lot of motor terminations for instance which is almost all fine strand and almost all very soft insulation on the motor side. The Ripley is useless on that. Works ok on THHN if I had lots of extra cable to practice adjusting the depth (rare in a peckerhead) then I could just do the other 2+ cables pretty fast after 2-3 test cuts and a final. So kind of a waste of time for me.

Know you you mean with whittling. But there is a place for it. Some termination kit (medium voltage) instructions call for “pencilling” on epdm in some termination kits. 3M stopped because it results in uneven edges which is worse than the extra stress of a straight edge. In some molded pieces like elbow connectors you’re supposed to round an edge. Emory works really good for that. But the common method of whittling down insulation instead of an even straight cut/score looks bad, takes longer, makes even more damage, and the uneven cuts in shielded cables cause high stress points that fail cable early. It’s just bad technique. I cringe every time a termination kit calls for pencilling.


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Old 10-21-2018, 09:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
I used the adjustable depth knife to score it.


Now strip the romex is easy but not the dammed UF cables they are it own game with stripping it.
I use my razor knife on larger cables. Like what has been said already, score around the cable, then a hard slice down....
It peels right off.
It does score the wire a bit on that hard downward slice but I don't believe theres any issues with it.

On softer jackets like SO cord, same practice, just be a bit more gentle with it.


I used to hate UF, still do on 3wire, but I found these strippers are great at removing the jacket on 2 wire UF.

I was doing my routine stripping UF with a blade, slow and tedious, when a guy I was working with came over and said, here use these. I went and picked up a pair the next day.


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Old 10-21-2018, 11:11 AM   #11
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Thanks for the great replies, looks like I need a new technique.


Quote:
Originally Posted by paulengr View Post
You’re not supposed to but on medium voltage and fairly high power I’ve never seen a problem if you nick it.

So your saying you have seen it as an issue on >600V?


I work residential and my problem is with #4 and larger service cables. I seem to encounter it a lot... whether its my (bad) technique or that of some installer in the past that I notice while on a service call.


Even in my own house, where I have #3 feeding my panel, the installer nicked the conductors. Its been in service that way for like 4 years but I never bothered to pull the meter to reterminate...


Do you feel on 120/240 hot spots are an issue?
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Old 10-21-2018, 01:43 PM   #12
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Generally no. As you go up in voltage all your skills get pushed to the limit. Sloppy techniques at 240/120 are just sloppy but cosmetic. They cause failures at higher voltages and currents.

Look at this for instance on high power connections which is why a typical technique of just cutting off strands in a connector instead of cutting it off and reterminating the ends matters. It causes the constriction resistance effect, same as loose connections.

https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elib.../BT93012FU.pdf

On an 8000 W 240 V air handler it probably doesn’t matter but when it was a 4160 V, 8000 HP compressor motor on Thursday little “cosmetic” things like nicked semicon or nicked or cut strands do. And the guys that do 250 kV underground feeders are absolutely neat as a pin and use special tools to do it that are basically machine shop tools, way past my skills.


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Old 10-21-2018, 03:08 PM   #13
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I use my strippers to score the cable then my knife to run it parallel. Then I peel it off. Super easy.
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Old 10-21-2018, 05:18 PM   #14
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For medium and high voltage cable, gently working through the insulation layer over the semicon with a rat tail file works well to avoid scoring. A heat gun helps with peeling back the outer insulation.
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Old 10-21-2018, 08:10 PM   #15
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lilbuster. Welcome to Electrician Talk.
Please take a few minutes and fill out your profile.
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Old 10-22-2018, 10:05 AM   #16
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I use a very cheap adjustable razor knife (see pic). This allows you to adjust the blade out a tiny bit, just enough to score the insulation. Then use you needle nose pliers to peel off the insulation.


When the blade gets dull, just break it off and start with a new sharp blade.
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Old 10-23-2018, 02:15 PM   #17
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I use a very cheap adjustable razor knife (see pic). This allows you to adjust the blade out a tiny bit, just enough to score the insulation. Then use you needle nose pliers to peel off the insulation.


When the blade gets dull, just break it off and start with a new sharp blade.
those type were forbidden where i worked (they were worried pieces would get in the ware sent to the customers, We used retractable utility knives.
stripping wire with them took practice as not nicking the conductors but you learned to score the insulation lightly and bend it to break through the rest of the way.
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welcome to the forum lilbuster!
I saw the post that was deleted about the led's and cfl's and voltage drop and I replied to it but it has been deleted.

the guys on here are really decent but they can get a bit carried away with ribbing. so we learn to take it with a grain of salt.
some tend to get a bit testy after a few or after a rough day.
most of the time it's from having to deal with diy who are asking and attempting to do dangerous work. or engineers/ inspectors who don't know their arse from a hole in the ground.
we get a lot of that on this forum.

anyhow the post i left was unless an led is dimmable they will not noticeably dim down but flicker on and off when the voltage drops below the minimum threshold.


but back on topic one thing that helps is if you have scraps of wire practice scoring and bending it never hurts to practice and your not losing anything if you nick too deep on the scraps.
Heck you and your mates can have contests doing it for beer!
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