Friday Findings-Reclaiming Copper Wire

Friday Findings-Reclaiming Copper Wire

Hi there welcome to another Friday Findings
video. On my blog and in these videos several times I have mentioned that I’ve used copper
wire that was reclaimed from electronics. So, today I thought I would tell you just a little
bit more about that. Here is some copper wire that was reclaimed
from electronics. This finer gauge wire was mostly taken from the insides of televisions
and I’ll tell you more about that. And then this heavy gauge wire, this is 12 and 14 gauge
wire was taken from the inside of Romex cables. Now I’m not going to be telling you how to
do this, I actually didn’t reclaim either of these myself. My husband got this wire
and my son got this, but I’ll tell you a little bit about it.
First of all, all you really need to get this wire is a sharp knife to cut the cable. Of
course you want to make sure that the cables aren’t plugged in anymore, that they’re discards.
And then you just split open the sheathing and you can pull out your copper wire.
The wire from TV’s and electronics is a little bit more complicated. Most of these come from
a yoke that’s on an old television. It looks like this. When you take apart the televisions
there is a tube on the back and then there’s this piece. This is from a small one.
And I will warn you that old TVs can hold a charge for some time and you can get yourself a nasty
shock so make sure that you do your due diligence and take all the safety precautions necessary
if you want to reclaim this wire. There are plenty of videos out there showing how to do it. Now one way that folks will get at the wire
that’s in here -there’s actually four coils of wire in here two that you can see and two
on the inside. And some folks will take this, wrap it in
a towel and bash it with a hammer. I asked my son why he didn’t do that. And he explained
if you do that and you want to use the wire it can end up with nicks and dings. I’ll leave
that up to you. And once the wire is pulled out it looks like this. And then you just
have to find an end of wire and start unwinding it.
Sometimes it looks like this. You can see it’s kind of reddish tint and then sometimes
it’s just copper. These ones have some sort of shellac or resin coating on them. And another
place you can find copper is in motors. So, if you have some electronics that are going
to be discarded make sure you take your safety precautions and then take a look inside. You
may find yourself some wire that you can use. And if you’re not sure what gauge it is, you
can buy yourself one of these little gauges that you can just slip the wire into to see
what size it is. Now I’ll tell you the truth I’ve done the
math. If you’re interested in making more than a few dollars an hour in reclaiming this
wire, it’s actually less expensive to just buy fresh wire. However, if you want the satisfaction
of recycling some wire and using something that would otherwise go on the landfill, and
if like some of us you have more time than money, then it might be something you’d be
interested in doing. I thought I would just show you real quick
one more thing and that’s how to remove this coating that’s on the wire. I do that with
just the use of a tea light. And then you want two pairs of pliers because the wire
will get hot and we’re actually going to burn off the coating.
Nobody in my household has mentioned any off odors or bad smells coming from me burning
off this coating. But I would still strongly recommend that you always do it in a well-ventilated
area. You can see how the flame flares up a bit
when it gets to the coating. And then you’ll know that you burned it all off when it doesn’t
flare up – see there it flared up. And you just kind of gently pull it through the flame.
And then, the final step is just to use some of fine grit sandpaper and sand off that black
fire scale. Just pull it through. Don’t pull it through too many times. Just do it minimally
because every time you pull it through you are work hardening your wire especially for
this fine gauge wire. You can make it so brittle that you won’t be able to use it.
And then I’ll just show you an example.This pendant, all the wire wrapping that was done
on it was done with reclaimed wire. So I hope this has given you some ideas for
maybe ways that you can recycle, save a few pennies, keep some things out of the landfill.
It’s very satisfying to reclaim something that would otherwise be thrown away.
Thanks so much for watching Keepsake Crafts’ videos. If you like this video please make
sure you’ve subscribed to my YouTube channel so you’ll see more like it. And check out
the other two videos up on the screen. Also check out my blog,,
where I have lots more creative ideas and inspiration. Happy creating. Bye bye.


  1. Electrical cords – the long orange ones for big power tools – have a bunch of smaller paper wrapped bunches of wire, too.  I learned that after mowing OVER the cord once (well, more than once…) and having to learn how to splice it back together.  LOTS of tiny wires, or at least they seemed that way before I learned about really fine wires like 28, 30, and 32 gauge.

  2. I know it's been a really long time since you posted this video but I thought I'd let you know certain car parts have tons of copper wire. My husband is a mechanic and he gave me rolls of thick and thin wire, that's how I came across your video…I'm looking for creative ideas on how to use the wire in making jewelry. If you're interested in what parts the copper comes from I will ask him and let you know.

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