How to Splice Cloth-Covered Wiring

How to Splice Cloth-Covered Wiring


Splicing cloth-covered wiring refers to joining two pieces of electrical cable that have an outer braided cotton or cloth insulation. This type of wiring was commonly used in homes and buildings constructed before the 1960s. While more modern wiring uses plastic or rubber insulation, cloth-covered wiring can still be found in some older structures. Splicing this vintage wiring properly is important for safety and maintaining electrical connectivity.

Reasons for Splicing Cloth-Covered Wiring

There are several reasons why you may need to splice cloth-covered wiring:

Supplies Needed for Splicing

Splicing cloth-covered wiring properly requires the right supplies. You will need:

How to Splice Wires

Follow these key steps when splicing cloth-covered wiring:

1. Turn Off Power

Before starting any electrical work, always turn off power to the circuit at the main breaker panel. Verify power is off by testing with a non-contact voltage tester.

2. Remove Cloth Insulation

Use gentle twisting motion and wire strippers to remove about 3/4" of the outer cloth insulation from each wire end you are splicing. Avoid nicking the inner metal conductor.

3. Clean Wires

Use sandpaper or steel wool to gently polish the newly exposed sections of wire. Remove any oxidation, dirt and debris. Clean wires allow better electrical contact.

4. Join Wires with a Wire Nut

Hold the two stripped wire ends to be spliced side-by-side with ends even. Twist a properly sized wire nut over the ends to hold them firmly together.

5. Solder for Permanent Connection

For a more permanent splice, apply solder after joining the cleaned wires with the wire nut. Heat the splice with the iron and flow solder into it. Allow to cool completely.

6. Wrap with Electrical Tape

Wrap the spliced area with overlapping layers of electrical tape for insulation. Stretch tape tight for a smooth wrap without gaps.

7. Install Heat Shrink Tubing

Slide properly sized heat shrink tubing over the taped splice. Apply heat to shrink the tubing for a snug outer protective layer.

8. Test and Restore Power

With splicing complete, carefully restore power and test operation. Turn breaker on and verify proper function.

Key Splicing Tips


Splicing older cloth-covered wiring may seem intimidating, but following basic procedures can give you solid, long-lasting results. Take the necessary precautions and work carefully when upgrading the wiring in your historic home.