Sharpen Hand Tools for Longer Life

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Tech Tips, Sep 2009

Look sharp

How many times have you gone to use the wire stripper and it wouldn't strip? Because a wire stripper must bite into the insulation before it is pulled away, the edge on it must be clean and sharp. Sharpening a hand tool requires special equipment, and usually it is easier to buy a new one. But if you're in the middle of a project or it's late at night, buying a new one may not be the instant solution.

extra life from a wire stripper

With the use of a fine needle file more life can be coaxed out of an old stripper. First, open the jaws of the stripper and secure it in a vise. Then run the needle file in a diagonal direction across the slanted edge of the stripper, making sure the file is flat against the slant all the way. After several passes on both jaws, you should see the slant become shiny. The top edge of the jaws will now be quite sharp, and much more useful than before. This method can also be used to resurrect diagonal cutters and scissors.

Landry is an audio maintenance engineer at CBS Radio/Westwood One, New York.

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