How to strip wire with side cutters

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to strip a wire but didn’t have a pair of wire strippers? So how do you go about that? Do you use a knife to cut the insulation or a lighter to melt and pull the insulation off? Or do you wait until you find your own wire strippers while you can use a pair of auxiliary auxiliary pliers or side cutters? Well, in this article I am sharing how to strip wires using side cutters or any regular pliers with integral cutters.

I like to use wire strippers to strip electrical wires because they are the best wire stripper. They are easy to use and have multiple slots for different wire sizes. This is why I always carry small wire strippers in my holster with my other EDC pliers. However, when I don’t have them (which it rarely happens), I would rather use side cutters over any other DIY hack for wire stripping.

There are people who use a utility knife to strip the wires while others prefer to burn the insulation material off the wire. While both hacks work for stripping wires, I find them boring. Sometimes they result in a rough cut in the insulation, which isn’t great. This makes side cutters a better option for taking insulation from wires and cables when wire strippers are out of reach.

How to strip wires/cables using side cutters

1. Hold the lateral / diagonal incisors and open the jaws

Get a trusty pair of side cutters or any regular pliers with the included cutters and pull the handles to open the jaws. Some pliers have a spring-loaded mechanism that keeps the jaws open. So you don’t have to separate the handles every time you want to use it.

2. Put the insulated wire or cable between the cutters

Put the wire or cable you want to separate between the breakers. Place the wire in the middle of the cutters or toward the tip so that the blades don’t cut completely into the cores when pressing on the handles.

The incisors on the pliers tend to be more aggressive as they get closer to the axle. So be sure to place the insulated cable or wire away from the hub to avoid cutting the core. Also, place the cutouts where you want to remove the insulation.

3. Hold the insulator by the cutouts

Hold the insulation material firmly enough to the cutters so that you only cut the insulation material without cutting the wire.

4. Pull insulation

While pressing the cutters firmly into the insulation casing, pull the pliers out with one hand while pulling the cable back with the other hand. You can use your thumb to push the tip of the tongs out. When you slide the pliers, they should be taken with the piece of insulation material you just cut from the main sleeve.

5. The wires have been stripped!

I have successfully stripped the wire without a stripper. This method works best with insulated wires, not cables. But you can try using it on both, anyway.

Well, this is how wire stripping is done with wire cutters or any type of pliers with blunt cutters. It can be tricky at first but with some practice, you can master the art of slicing in the insulation material without cutting or scratching the core. Most people often begin by cutting some strands of wire or bending the core before they can master the art of applying just enough pressure on the jaws to cut the sheath without reaching the wire.

However, I don’t recommend using wire cutters to strip cables and wires as a first approach. Always use a pair of wire strippers and if possible mechanical wire strippers. It produces a clean cut and does not damage your connectors.

However, when you can’t find your own wire stripper, you can follow the steps above to strip wires and cables using side cutters or regular pliers.

Finally, I hope you found the pliers hack useful. If you do, feel free to smash the share button.

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