(I'm sorry, an Advertiser ate my homework. Let's try again.)
Thanks for all the great tips!
I was most of the way through your post before I remembered that the preferred method on a boat is crimping. Do you do that too?
Like the paranoid man who wears suspenders because he doesn't quite trust his belt, I crimp _and_ solder whenever possible. That's why I like those little Butane Torches; they can get into the oddest places, and there is no cord to worry about.
There are three factors to consider here- Mechanically Solid, Electrically Conductive, and Relieved from Strain. I'm quoting myself here:
"But one should have the best Wire-Strippers and Crimpers that one can find."
My Toolbox has a mix of the Cheap, (Screwdrivers, Hammers), and the Quality, (Wrenches, Sockets, Test Equipment. And Wire Strippers and Crimpers). The right tool for the job.
Straight Crimping works great on solid wire. Stranded wire... not so much. Especially if Saltwater gets in. (Electrolysis.) Solder not only makes the Electrical connection better, it keeps Saltwater out. (A certain Manufacturer of Marine AC Plugs and Sockets, based on ancient Hubbell Patents, depends on a strictly mechanical connection for stranded wire. Oh, how the Green Death blossoms in dark, tight, warm, and damp places!)
Crimps come in two varieties- Insulated and Bare. I prefer Bare. Slide a Shrinkwrap off to one side, Crimp, Solder, slide Shrinkwrap into place, and hit with the torch. It's much more difficult to Solder with Insulated Crimps, but still possible.
Let's now discuss Strain Relief, an oft-neglected subject:
An old technique was called "Lacing". Once the wires are cut to the right size, and run out, Lace the bundles tightly together with waxed twine. (Keep Power and Signal separate!) Tugging on any individual wire pulls on the bundle, and distributes the guilt. Wire Ties achieve the same thing these days.
For individual connections, Shrinkwrap is good for Strain relief as well. Keep the Shrinkwrap tubules on the long side, and layer and torch them. (BTW, Apple doesn't have a clue when it comes to Strain Relief. That mucky vinyl that they specify just disintegrates.)
Any tight holes that the wires go through should have rubber grommets. They are quite cheap. Unless there is good reason, keep wire bends loose, not tight. Use Wire Clamps on long runs.
Wires can be a pain around Whirly Bits. Keep them well away from Engine Whirlies, Propeller Shafts, and Propellers.
I like Colors. Six spools of Colored wire costs just the same as six spools of Basic Black.
Oh, I may get grief over this... Don't depend on Labeled Wires! The Labels _will_ smudge or fall off. Ring out each Colored wire, and then Label your _Wiring Diagram_. (There are gummy-cloth, numbered roll, Labels that are OK. But make sure "_1_ _9_ " at each end has some basis in Reality.)
Stranded wire has a convenience factor over Solid. It's more flexible. Yet, for long runs that are going to be there for a while, stick with Solid. Crimping works better with Solid, and it is far less susceptible to Corrosion and Electrolysis.
Where Stranded shines, is in connections that move around a lot. Extension Cords, Shiphold Appliances, Microphone Cables, and such. Don't forget the Strain Relief!
Strain Relief particularly applies to Daisy-Chained Extension Cords. Tie ends up in a Figure 8 so that the strain actually tries to keep the ends together. For Outlets, try to knot the Cord around something before plugging the end in.