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Wire Strippers

Member for

20 years 8 months
Yes I know this is a menial little question. I really hope someone answers it though :( .

I'm teaching myself how to build cable. I bought 1500 feet of Canare L-4E5AT foil shield mini star-quad. My current pair of wire strippers severs the wire strands or hacks the wire in two.

Do you guys recommend any brand and type of wire strippers for tiny gauge cable like star quad?


Member for

20 years 8 months

Faeflora Wed, 08/29/2001 - 22:14
Thanks for the replies. I'll try the rad shack strippers de-cammed and also exacto knives. I was using razors already actually.

Here's another question-

Am I doomed if I sever a few of the wire strands? Should I just hack off that part of the wire and start on a new piece? Right now, I consistently sever 2-8 strands on each small star-quad wire. :(

Member for

20 years 11 months

Aaron-Carey Wed, 08/29/2001 - 22:37
hehehe I like atlas' comment... :)

I have gotten every music industry job I had by showing up with a soldering iron, instead of a mic pre, or fx, or a demo tape. I always write my title as " solder jockey extrordinaire". Hey its a noble calling ( right? errrrrr....)


there are some killer strippers out there, edisyn being one of my favorites, but for any job where Im doing multipair, i get two of the radio shack ones that have the screw for setting size.

With mogami, first you gotta slice the big outer shell, then I set one wire stripper for the first inner shell guage, then set the other stripper for the size of the three individual wires.

piant one of the strippers so you know which is which at any time. having 23 multicore sets done and of the right size, its a real bummer if you accidentally grab the wrong stripper and you get one runt!

This is a time for your very best Huckleberry Finning or mark twaining or gotta make it look to your friends as if its the funnest thing in the world, so they will help you with this tedious monotony!

have fun :)

Member for

20 years 8 months

Faeflora Thu, 08/30/2001 - 12:16
Hey, I'm an ignorant pre-newbie, I gotta learn how to do this!

I guess I'm taking the challenging path by choosing to cable my whole studio with star quad and making all my cables on my own. It can't be -that- fucking hard though can it?

I've read all the rules about heating the work, not the solder, heat the work just enough to flow, that you want smooth and shiny joints not dull matte, tin the iron, twist and tin the cable ends before joining, hold the work still, don't have air blowing directly on the work, use a damp sponge, don't breathe the fumes etc.

Regarding the Mark Twainesque co-op cable manufacturing plant, I've recruited my girlfriend :) :) :)

Member for

20 years 11 months

Aaron-Carey Thu, 08/30/2001 - 12:53
Originally posted by Faeflora:
a damp sponge, don't breathe the fumes etc.

:) :) :)

uh oh...NOW I know whats wrong with me!!!!

first couple hundred may not be so good, but towards the end youll get it most likely.
It truly is an ART and can be very difficult.
When I finish a cable, I twist it spin it around, smack the whole loom on the ground, with the idea that a good mechanical connection is a good electrical connection as well.
SOunds harsh, but better to test them now then to stick it into a patchbay and spend the rest of your life trying to find/fix one bad joint!

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/30/2001 - 20:55
I think you would be better off using a multipair cable for the built in wiring. We use MR202-xxAT. The L-4E6S makes a nice mic cable. I don't trust a foil shielded cable as a mic cable. I used to use the Xcelite strippers like they sell in Radio Shack for years but I got turned on to these Ideal T-Stripper tools a few years ago. You don't have to adjust the screw for different wires, it has notches for different gauges and the cutter blade can cut through a snake without any trouble. I also found that Olfa knives with replaceable snap off blades are great for cutting the outside jacket. Get a good soldering gun with a holder with a sponge tray and also a work vise to hold the connector. Weller for soldering iron, Panavise for work vise. Having a convenient workvise makes a big difference. Good light and ventilation will make it a less unpleasant job too of course. :)

Member for

20 years 8 months

Faeflora Fri, 08/31/2001 - 00:44
Oooh, I bought a panavise with a suction cup base. I also bought a weller :) . I even bought a little desk/chair/light combo from Rite-Aide for 30 bucks!

I have a lot of time available. I'd rather save money and do it myself than buy snakes.

The first 100 cables will likely be crappy??? ;) .

I'll let you all know what happens. Mostly, I'm worried about hurting my body with the lead. I read that I can use lead-free solder if I solder at a higher temperature. I wonder how lead-free solder affects the sound of the cable?

Member for

20 years 2 months

recordista Mon, 09/17/2001 - 14:00
Originally posted by Faeflora:
Any reccomendations for ventilation systems?

4" muffin fan on the bench, sucking air (and fumes) away from you and the work. Put a variac on it (for an AC fan) or use a variable DC supply (for a DC computer fan) to quiet it down by running slower. Pointing it it out the door or window is usually good enough but I've seen guys hook them up to dryer hose for use in tight spaces.

Member for

20 years 8 months

Faeflora Thu, 10/04/2001 - 12:13
Here's a little update on my cable project:

Well it's been about 30 days and I've made about 30 cables. I'm now averaging 1/2 hour to strip the outer rubber and foil shield, 4 inner wires, twist the ground, tin the tips, and to solder the joints. TRS 1/4" Neutrik are a pain compared to the XLR Neutrik.

It's not that bad. I rigged up a bathroom exhaust fan and duct taped a dryer hose to the output pipe. I then stuffed the dryer hose with filter paper from a 3M heater/AC ventilation screen. This 3M filter is supposed to filter out viruses. I don't know if it'll catch formaldehyde and lead but the room smells fine when I'm using it. Oh, and the dryer hose kinda ends up nestled in my carpet so I have a "carpet filter". Haha :) but it works. I just have to avoid licking that spot on the rug.

I tried using a filter mask from home depot but I think it fucked me up as more than when I didn't have it. I think that the vapors got trapped inside the mask, that the filters didn't work well enough.

I bought a bunch of wire strippers but returned most of them. I now just use the artist razor blades- the triangular type on that metal stick. They work nicely :) .

I had problems for a while learning how to make a good joint. I had the iron temperature too high and was soldering too slowly and all the rosin would seperate from the solder and float to the top. Argh!

I'm doing allright now though. I think I like it. It feels good to be building my studio like this.