A Tool For The Ages

Michael Williams November 21, 2012

Over 30 years ago, I started using this funny looking tool called an R4366. I was told that it had been around for more than three decades earlier when the craft used it in our factories forming cables for the old cross-bar and step switches.

Western Electric Company - Factory Cabling Department, ca. 1925

We used it for ring and stripping multi-pair trunk cables so they could lay out and create spider web-like harnesses that would eventually be used in a central office switch or customer PBX. As the industry began using more fiber, the R4366 was added to the fiber optic toolkit, where it was used for stripping and butting tight buffer optical fiber cables. One blade is used to butt PVC sheathing and another blade strips the sheathing to expose the insulated fibers that are to be terminated. Today, it is still the best tool for the latest 10 Gig copper cables when it comes to installation efficiency and accuracy in avoiding cable nicks.

The R4366 tool is self adjustable for plastic, rubber or even thick fabric insulated cables. With one “ring” of this tool, the blade scores the jacket from .018" to .031" (using the simple slide adjustment) while always protecting the internal conductors.

When I use this tool (in the field and during training sessions), I’m inevitably asked: “What is that neat tool?” I just say it’s an R4366 and available as material ID 700011158. I always keep a few on hand to give away as prizes when I’m conducting training sessions!

What do you think of this cool tool? Are there any tools that you find valuable?

About the Author

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the senior technical manager responsible for providing engineering support to NAR/Global customer base and inside/outside sales personnel at CommScope. His duties include working closely with sales and marketing to provide applications engineering support in order to provide value added to customers. He also reviews bid specifications with consultants, Business Partners, and end-users to position CommScope’s entire product portfolio with emphasis on higher value-added/technology solutions. After spending four years in the US Army as an airborne ranger, he attended Arizona State University where he received his degree in engineering. His work history includes positions with Bell Labs, Western Electric and AT&T before joining CommScope in 1990.