How to Strip Heavy Gauge Wire

Stripping heavy gauge wire is necessary if you want to sell the copper for a profit, hook up a component or recycle the wire.

Stripping heavy gauge wire is often necessary for electricians.Stripping heavy gauge wire is often necessary for electricians.
Stripping the wire removes the outer coating. Nicked wires fail to connect properly, thus resulting in wasted time. Wire strippers are useful in stripping small-gauge wires although they do not work on heavy gauge. Using a pocket knife or other sharp knife in the correct manner allows you to strip the wire in a quick and efficient manner.

Sit in a sturdy chair with a wastebasket in front of you. Lean forward and position your feet about 1 to 2 feet apart. This is so that you can place the wastebasket in between your feet.

Hold the heavy gauge wire with your non-dominant hand. Allow the wire end to extend approximately 6 to 8 inches out of your hand.

Make a circular cut all around the circumference of the heavy gauge wire with the knife blade. Use caution to avoid cutting too deeply, this may nick the surface of the wire.

Point the end of the wire away from your body.

Slide the knife blade into the circular cut and then angle the blade away from your body so that it skims along the surface of the wire. This action cuts away the coating on the wire. Do this on each side of the wire. Allow the coating to fall into the wastebasket.

Repeat the action by extending the wire further out from your non-dominant hand each time. Continue to make circular cuts and strip the wire until the coating is completely removed.

Things You Will Need

  • Chair
  • Wastebasket
  • Pocket or other sharp knife


  • If you will be using the wire rather than selling the copper or recycling it, cut away any nicked sections so it will connect properly.

About the Author

Chelsea Fitzgerald covers topics related to family, health, green living and travel. Before her writing career, she worked in the medical field for 21 years. Fitzgerald studied education at the University of Arkansas and University of Memphis.