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I have a pre-lit incandescent Christmas tree that was attacked by my cat. I'm trying to splice the wires back together.

My string of lights has a "thick" rubber wire (16 gauge) and a "thin" rubber wire (18 gauge) twined together. The 16 gauge wire has standard stranded copper inside. The 18 gauge wire contains what looks like cotton or polyester thread.

What in the world am I looking at? I can't imagine it's electrically conducting, so what is its purpose, and how do I splice it?

light strand with copper and white

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The filament is there to add strength to the cord. Everything else stretches more than the poly-fiber so when you pull on it(the cord) it strains against the fiber instead of the delicate electrical connections. As far as splicing it goes...you could tie a knot in it if there's enough slack or just ignore it and be careful with that spot in the future. And keep your cat away from it:)

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