Post by Bob Nielsen
Back in the mid-20th century there were chemical strippers for the
enamel on wire. They were probably not too good for the environment
(or even the health of the user) and are no longer being sold, but
they did the job intended. You just dipped the end of the wire into
the "stuff" and wiped the enamel away.
Yes, the late, lamented StripX from General Cement. It seems to have
vanished from their product offering.
However, a visit to a good hardware store should turn up Klean-Strip
KS-3 Premium Stripper. It seems to be the same stuff that GC sold, and
it does a good job on enameled magnet wire.
I think I paid about $6 or $7 for a quart. It's thick, almost gell-like,
product and will cling to the wire. Dip it in, swishing around to get a
good coating on the wire. Remove and let it sit for 10 minutes or so and
the insulation sloughs off.
On the solder pot technique, I have an adjustable temperature solder pot
that I purchased to strip a 150 or so toroids that I wound last fall. I
found that the enamel works as a thermal insulator as well and you need
to mechanically or chemically remove a bit of the insulation in order to
get a good thermal contact between the molten solder and the copper.
Once the thermal contact is made, even through just a few scrape marks,
the heat transfers rapidly and the rest of the insulation melts off. Of
course, the removed insulation floats to the top of the molten solder
and requires skimming off.
I wound up using the KS-3 stripper to get the insulation mostly removed
and then finished it up (and tinned the leads) in the solder pot. Before
inserting into the solder pot, wiping the leads with cake type rosin
helps as well.