How to Strip Copper Electrical Wire for Jewelry Making

Copper electrical wire.  A lot of times it is remnants left over from a remodeling project given to me by friends or family.  In either event – the big problem when I get this type of wire is how to strip it!

The wire strippers I’ve seen in the hardware store usually just remove the last inch or so of the plastic cover.  I need to strip at least a foot at a time, and usually more than that.

Typically, I use a box cutter knife and turn the blade at an angle so it slices the top layer plastic off the wire.  I try to do this working away from my body, so there’s no chance of cutting myself.  It works, but sometimes I end up nicking the wire.

A great idea I heard about recently is using a vegetable peeler.  I would have never thought of that!

I tried it today and it worked really well.  It was easy to get the right angle to slice just the insulation without nicking the wire.  I use  the type that is like the red or orange one in the picture.  Mine has a blade that swivels.  I put one end of the wire in my bench vise and pull the wire taut while I am peeling.  I pull the peeler towards me which is an easier motion for me than pushing away from my body like I was doing with the box opener.  I think I have more leverage that way.

Here’s a picture of my freshly stripped wire and the old peeler that has a found a new home in the garage workshop.


How many swipes do you have to make?
You just have to make one pass – it cuts a nice slice down the entire length and then you peel off the coating. It really is much simpler than anything else I’ve tried.
Like any other tool – it takes a couple of slices to get the angles right, but it works like a charm once you get it down.
Another hack I find interesting about the vegetable peeler is that we typically use only one of the two blades, So when yours gets dull (and you have no words to strip), either switch directions or trade peelers with an opposite handed person- it will feel brand new!

Lisa Yang’s Jewelry Blog, USA


Lisa Yang was the “Expert” for the Beadwork site at The site is now The Spruce Crafts. You can find articles and projects written or updated by her in the beadwork section and the jewelry making area. She is no longer working with The Spruce, but is very proud of the projects she’s published there.

She enjoys sharing the projects she makes, the tools she uses, the products and information she finds, and the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way.

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