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#75948 - 03/22/07 07:59 PM old work boxes
Merlin Offline

Registered: 01/27/04
Posts: 170
Loc: NW Indiana
Has anyone got any good suggestions for old work boxes in plaster walls. I am updating this old house and some of the wall that I cut in boxes are 1 1/4" thick. (1/2" plaster over 3/4" tongue and groove) Most o/w boxes are only good for 1". I just recently got some Arlington boxes. Anyone ever used these? How do you like them?

What is the preferred method of cutting in o/w boxes - Sawzall, rotozip, keyhole saw, ????

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#75949 - 03/22/07 08:26 PM Re: old work boxes
ShockMe77 Offline

Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Rahway, New Jersey
Roto zip works nice but creates a lot of dust.

My suggestion would be to use old work metal gem boxes w/ madison bars because they fit into the wall nicer and the cutout doesn't need to be as big as an old work plastic arlington box. When cutting out for an old work plastic box, there is less room for error that the device plate can cover up.

I hope I explained that ok.

Good luck!

#75950 - 03/22/07 08:34 PM Re: old work boxes
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9026
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
This thing helps the dust
Vacuum adapter
Greg Fretwell

#75951 - 03/22/07 10:22 PM Re: old work boxes
Elviscat Offline

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 214
Loc: Seattle Washington USA
Jigsaw works good, sawzall'll do in a pinch... if you're lucky you'll be able to back the tabs far enough off to work with your wall, I got was able to get them in in a house with about 1 3/4" plaster (3/4 PLASTERBOARD over 1/2" drywall, over lathe and plaster)

if you can't you could always shoot a couple screws into the toungue and groove, of course you'd have to leave a couple extra ground wires w/ ring crimps on the end ;\) for grounding purposes ;\) ;\) as a last resort

hey, how about those "smart boxes" they sell (or used to) in the webstore? those'd probably work well with the toungue and groove...


#160685 - 03/24/07 10:52 AM Re: old work boxes [Re: Elviscat]
jfwayer Offline

Registered: 05/15/05
Posts: 30
Loc: Fairmont, WV, USA
For plastic rework boxes (tricks from trade school)
1) reverse the wing it gives you a little more depth
2) substitute longer screws

#160689 - 03/24/07 11:33 AM Re: old work boxes [Re: jfwayer]
Jim M Offline

Registered: 08/10/01
Posts: 453
Loc: Chestertown, MD, USA
Since you have tongue and groove behind the plaster just run long screws thru the flange on the old work box into the wood.

#160691 - 03/24/07 11:58 AM Re: old work boxes [Re: Jim M]
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 725
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
The gray plastic old work boxes made by P&S have metal wings that will open up for plaster/lath wall thickness. I have used literally hundreds of them in old houses where the other brands won't work. Lately I have used smart boxes also, they work very well altho a lot of times they tend to move back a bit just as the installation screws botton.

#160694 - 03/24/07 01:00 PM Re: old work boxes [Re: BigB]
macmikeman Offline

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 718
Loc: Honolulu, Hawaii
My smart box trick is to first screw in a long 6/32 screw into each of the device holes so I have something to hold the box steady using my linemans pliars while screwing in the box with drill in the other hand.

#160715 - 03/24/07 05:44 PM Re: old work boxes [Re: macmikeman]
BigB Offline

Registered: 03/31/04
Posts: 725
Loc: Tucson, AZ USA
thanks Mike I'll try that

#160760 - 03/25/07 10:22 AM Re: old work boxes [Re: BigB]
Deltaelektrik Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 1
Loc: sebastopol, CA USA
Trick I learned from a coworker (Sergeant Rock). Take a regular deep plastic nailon box and remove the nails. Take a saw (sawzall) and cut off the plastic nail holder flanges. Cut the box in next to a stud. Pre drill 2-3 holes in the box on the side that will go next to the stud. Use 2-3 screws to attach to the stud. The beauty of this is you end up with a deep box for your wiring instead of the usually cramped confines of an old work box. Of course it only works in normal situations where you can get next to a stud. Would work beautifully in your situation since the screws could go in the T+G. The smart box is essentially the same principle. Smart boxes don't seem to be readily available from my suppliers. Another must for interior plaster cutting is to use rotary rather than reciprocal cutting. Anyone who has hooked and vibrated a lath board and watched 10" of crack appear knows about this!

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