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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
is it just my imagination? Seems like they break just setting them in the back or the truck. Anyway..I wish the
days of those durable tin spools would return.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,788
Likes: 14
Yup the wire is more expensive and the spool is cheaper. You surely can't drop one. I had one bounce down a step ladder and by the time it got to the floor it rat nested.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
wewire2 Offline OP
Yep, and then you end up cutting off the top layer of wire that got
damaged. We have to handle wire with care but those things are made to
break. I'm gonna write a letter! Haha! There oughta be a law!

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
Stands to reason they are just like anything else. The less they put into a product, the bigger the profit margin. Like cars for example. There are many 60's and 70's models on the road today then late 70's & 80 models. Light fixtures are the same. They seem to get flimsier year by the year

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,369
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
At the risk of making a commercial interruption ...

The ECN store carries Rack-A-teers, who sell a variety of clever gizmos for dealing with fragile wire spools.

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
The plastic spools of the past were pretty rugged.

On one spool of #12 I bought this year, the plastic broke when I was cutting the outside wrapper off.

Still, any old spool is a vast improvement over the cardboard cartoned TW and THW wire of the 60s and 70s.

[Linked Image from]

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
Im not that "seasoned" of a sparkie however, I have come across a couple of the those cardboard boxes of wire and used them... I'll pass on them.

For a half cent, the spool makers can make a lot more durable spool and no one would grip paying that half cent more

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,333
Likes: 7
Another trip down memory lane with the cardboard box!!

Those were the days! Heck, I thought the tin spools were the greatest thing, then along came plastic ones. The current ones are like the new soda cans, or the 16+/- oz plastic water bottles.

Less is more$$$ for some.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
While we're on this subject, it seems as if the wire insulation is getting flakier as well. I did a job recently where the customer supplied his own THHN that I think he bought from a big box store. It was #12 solid. When we were done, we ended up having two shorts. In both instances, the insulation had taken the slightest little nick and gave out. I sure remember it being a lot more durable, largely due to the thicker nylon outer covering. It seems like that is almost non-existent now.

I don't even want to talk about how flimsy the jacket has become on Romex cable.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Lowes and Home Depot both dictate prices to suppliers.

Consequently even the biggest NEMA players re-craft their gear towards 'value engineering' so as to not lose that end of the market to their competitors.

Without naming names:

You'll find slightly thinner bussing, panel can metal, and all around bare bones packages in the big box stores.

Some attempt to recoup margins will be made in the nickel and dime items: grounding rails, lugs, AFCIs, GFCIs (C/Bs) and such.


I expect further scandals as counterfeit branded NEMA goods pop up.

Heck, it now turns out that you can't even trust the fish you buy to be correctly labeled.

(In Red China the locals so mistrust their own manufactures that they'll pay a hefty premium to get Made in USA.)

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