What to do with 1/2 mile of telephone wire?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by thebugguy, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. thebugguy

    thebugguy Not just another fungi

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Folks-

    I just had the electric co-op take down about a dozen old poles leading out to a 30 year old cabin (long since burnt down) at the far end of my property. They are taking their wire, but leaving the poles and the telephone wire for me. I'm sure this stuff has a technical name, but I can't find one for it- it appears to be two unbraided strands of copper wire separated by about 1/8" of relatively stiff plastic insulation. All told, there is about 1/2 mile of the stuff, but it has been snipped into 200' to 300' foot lengths.

    What can I possibly use this for? We have no landline connection to our house (which we might regret)- the trench for the water and electric service has already been filled, so I don't need it for that. Is there a market value for this stuff? Should I sit there with a jackknife and whittle off the insulation to sell the copper as scrap? Weave baskets out of it?

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,

    tbg
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    7,154
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    How about burning off the insulation, then sell the copper?
     

  3. skruzich

    skruzich Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    873
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Georgia
    build a fire and burn off insulation and sell it as number one copper.
     
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,854
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Put a magnet to the wire. I think it is copper clad only and therefore has no recycle value.
     
  5. TnAndy

    TnAndy Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,427
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Location:
    EastTN: Former State of Franklin
    Start your own really local phone company ?
     
  6. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    833
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    We were in Encinitas, CA two weeks ago, at a street fair. It was hot. I was sweating just standing there. They blocked off Pacific Highway (Highway 1) through the town of Encinitas.

    One of the booths or stands were selling handmade baskets woven in Africa. They were multicolored and made from fine telephone wire. They were strong and beautiful, and all different shapes and sizes.

    Good Luck and happy weaving,

    Alex
     
  7. Evan Fryman

    Evan Fryman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2003
    Location:
    Oregon, Coos Bay
    Use it for wiring L.E.D. Lighting ? Inside or outside Lighting drive way ?
    Make a Long Wire Antenna for Radio Reciever / Crystal Radio ?
    Use it for Bean or Grape runners ?
     
  8. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    lol, our phone service was out on Sunday because some thieves dug up 100 ft of telephone cable. They thought it was some dead cable, but I hear they hit some live cable. The paper said people do that to get money from the copper they turn in.

    I have no idea how thick the copper is in the wire, but I see copper yard decorations all the time. Just an idea!
     
  9. tikaani

    tikaani Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    92
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Location:
    former ozarker
    its twisted pair. It is all copper.
     
  10. thebugguy

    thebugguy Not just another fungi

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Uncle and Skruzich-

    I'd never thought about burning the plastic off- I only ever used a knife as a kid. However, I would be concerned about burning off what must amount to tens of pounds of plastic in my back yard- can you say "dioxin"? Apparently, "low temperature" burning is illegal in many places because of the potential toxin production. Have to think about that a little more...

    Alex-

    Thanks for the encouragement, but this is external, pole-to-pole type cable, not the multicolored fine wire inside the house. I could probably make a nifty hammock after a few dozen tries...

    Evan-

    Thanks for your suggestions as well- knowing me, I'll probably keep a big old spool of it around forever, just waiting for the right project...

    And lastly, I sure hope it's solid copper- if not, I'll wind up having to pay to take it to the landfill- bummer! I'l check it out the next opportunity I have...

    cheers, tbg
     
  11. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2004
    Location:
    Northern California Mountains
    don't burn it that is a bad idea.. not healthy...

    You should be able to sell it as is... Though a 1/2 mile of one pair may not weigh that much...
    I have rewired a few large data centers and sold the old cable for scrap....
    Though we were usually selling 1000 lbs plus...
     
  12. woolyfluff

    woolyfluff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    186
    Joined:
    May 23, 2004
    I was given a spool of telephone wire boy the useage I have found ouver the years I would just hangon to it you never what you can use it for
     
  13. skruzich

    skruzich Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    873
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Georgia
    LOL, put it in a burn barrel and burn it. Geee, i dont know how much i have burned off in my years and thats how they remove the insulation anyway. If you sell it that will make the difference in 50-75% of the money you get.




     
  14. skruzich

    skruzich Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    873
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2003
    Location:
    Georgia
    Yeah you can sell it for 15 -25% of what you would get if it is bare number one copper. Totally worth burning the case off!
     
  15. thebugguy

    thebugguy Not just another fungi

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Skruzich-

    It's true that industrial recycling outfits just burn the insulation off as well, but they don't do it in a 55 gallon drum- they use high-temperature incinerators as a means to combust the petrochemicals as fully as possible before releasing them.

    I'm sure we can go around and around regarding the idea of environmental contaminants, but let's not. I just have to weigh the potential returns ($25-$50- $100 worth of copper?) against the costs (potentially creating and releasing compounds toxic to me, my neighbors, and whoever else might use the land after me). I just don't think it's worth it.

    Thanks, though, all of you, for your suggestions.
     
  16. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    southern Iowa
    you may ask yourself if burning the plastic off would cause more damage to the enviriment than the copper is worth? I know cost to the envierment would be spread to all of us and the money from the copper would be yours alone. I hope you can find a use for it other than burning.god bless the earth.
     
  17. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    You have about 1/2 mile of this wire in 200' to 300' lengths? The wire is not suitable for modern comunications. I would think that you could use it for fencing, or maybe low voltage lighting. It's free!
     
  18. bob clark

    bob clark A man's man

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    southern Iowa
    plant some grapes . dont just sit around and whine about it, sit around and wine about it
     
  19. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    If it has many different colors of insuation, give it to your kids to play with. When I was around 10, my friend's dad got a bunch of it and we spent an entire summer making jewelry, baskets, you name it.
     
  20. thebugguy

    thebugguy Not just another fungi

    Messages:
    52
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Bob-

    Believe me, I've thought about planting grapes loooong before this wire plopped in my lap. In fact, there is a wine-producing vineyard just a couple miles from me as the crow flies. DW will give me the hairy eyeball for sure, but saving it for trellises sounds like a good idea...

    cheers, tbg