The correct tools and techniques to properly cut and rip Romex or similar electrical cable
Cables are cut to length at the rough-wiring stage; ripping is done when wiring devices.
Cutting cable doesn’t require much instruction—just use lineman’s pliers or heavy-duty diagonal cutters to snip it in half.
Opening up nonmetallic cable to expose the individual conductors inside is called “ripping.” To rip a flat (not round) cable, you can use either a utility knife or a cable ripper, as shown at right. To use a cable ripper, you slide it over the cable, squeeze the body so that the cutter penetrates the outer sheath, and drag it off toward the end of the wire. Use a utility knife to rip round cable, carefully follow the wire’s contours to avoid cutting or nicking into the wires inside.
When ripping either kind of cable with a utility knife, always work on a flat horizontal or vertical surface and cut away from your body, never toward it.
1 Slide a cable ripper onto a flat cable. Press the handles together and pull to score the sheath.
2 Bend the cable until the scoring cracks, and then peel away the outer sheath and all separation materials to expose the wires.
3 With diagonal-cutting pliers, cut off the peeled sheath and other separation materials, leaving just the wires.