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#39595 06/26/04 05:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 308
Edward Offline OP
What does quality and workmanship mean to you?

*Use high quality receptacle VS $0.49.
*Use thicker walled deep plastic boxes VS thin walled.
*Use LIGHTOLIER & JUNO for all can lighting.
*Use CASABLANCA for all ceiling fans.

*Have at least 6" of conductors out from device and J boxes.
*Check wire nut connections.
*Make sure all the behind the wall wiring is nice and neat.
*Have only 1/4 inch of the romex jacket in a box.
*Oversize conduit runs for future circuits.

What is your idea of quality and workmanship?

"unseen and unexpected details in workmanship, is the only difference between mediocre and magnificent"


Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 33
I always use quality products, even in residential I use commercial grade. For a few extra bucks its worth it. As far as workmanship goes I don't cut corners, its just not worth it. Besides, some of the work I do is repairng/replacing crappy work done by someone else. I just changed a panel out (upgraded from 125a to 200a) and the 2" pvc conduit feeding up to the panel came apart in the wall because some jackass used black abs couplings which are shorter than the grey ones we use and the glue was some white stuff that just came apart. It was a pain in the butt to fix.

One of the better ones-
Electricians do it without shorts.
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
In midieval German literature, the worst character flaw was to be "without shame."

I am always comparing my work to that of others; I hope to do at least as well. When I return to an earlier job, I can't help but second-guess my work. I am all to aware of where I cut corners, got tired, or had to make sudden changes.

As for components, I do not equate price with quality. For most jobs, economy devices have prooven adequate. I do NOT use back-stab connections. Sometimes, a more expensive component will pay for itself in labor/time savings, or by allowing some design flexibility.

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
When I started "handymanning", I used the $0.49 receptacles. I got calls to "come back and fix it" because it broke again (1 week later, and several "whips" of the vacuum cleaner cord to unplug it). Changed to using "commercial" grade receptacles. Never gone back.

Now, does this mean I buy the $49.99 "dee-lux" receptacles listed in other posts? No... more $ does not automatically guarantee quality.

However, I think there is a balance point that marks the "cheap" from the "trustworthy" in devices - much like hand tools. Even within the same brand family, there are different grades of materials and construction. If you can find a brand / model you trust, it doesn't matter if it says Klein, Crescent, Channellock, Vaco, Craftsman, Ideal or "Made in China / Mexico / VietNam". The product has proven itself, and you trust it. More importantly it won't wind up in "Photos submitted for discussion" section in a few months!

As far as "workmanship" and planning for the future (a forgotten art, according to some of the work we see in the photos section)...

Deep (2 1/2") 1900's (4"x4" junction boxes) where you plan to use dimmers or GFCI's.

3/4" Home Runs where 1/2" would be "good enough".

Using Ideal, Buchanan, 3M, or other reputable wire nut brand, not just "UL Certified product of China Elctric" knockoffs.

Marking j-boxes with what pipe goes where (not always practical in the last days before final rough-in inspection, but the attempt is welcome)

Pigtailing devices instead of daisy-chaining.

Stamped steel fittings instead of die-cast.

Nylon (unbreakable) or metal faceplates instead of phenolic "crack-when-you-tighten-'em" ones.

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 06-26-2004).]

Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 328
DougW, we had the metal faceplates here but I changed them out (w/ hubby & Dad) to place the plastic ones as I felt metal and electricity weren't a good mix with my young kids. Perhaps I went backwards and shouldn't have been worried..?

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
[hijack]Naah, just a reflection of the way my old boss did it. Personal choice 'n' all that. Nylon's fine IMO, and what I use normally, and it should stand up to most normal (ab)use [/hijack]

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
This could mean anything. One persons idea of quality may not be anothers. Same goes for workamnship. Reminds me of the "Neat and workmanlike manner" code article. Good idea, not enforceable.

Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
The materials I use are:

Square D QO---I occasionally cut live wires & the QO always trips, the cheaper ones don't. The Visi-trip indicator lets my customers know which breaker trips & if it has reset properly.

Pass & Seymore devices with nylon covers---I used Leviton for years & tried the P&S---I felt like I had a commercial grade Leviton in my hands. Also, for what I'm guessing is a better design, the devices & covers fit together right...I was having to adjust the Leviton. As for the covers, nylon is unbreakable & non-conductive.

Steel City boxes---Usually deep & sometimes double-deep. They have a new type called "wrap-mount" for steel studs. I was having to modify bracket boxes for the heavy guage steel studs.

On quality I take my time & do it right. If I'm using stranded wire I use clamping type devices, or pigtail solid wire onto them (God bless you if you can get a sranded wire under the screw as well as a solid wire...I can't). I tape the devices after connections. I also tape wire old habit from machine wiring. I calculate for voltage-drop. I wire receptacles at 20 amp where 15 is allowed here in residences.

Although most of my work is commercial now, I built the business on "residential after the builder". In residences I throw a drop cloth at the door to wipe my feet & more under my work area. I'm polite with my customers & don't swear or play music. If I make holes in the walls or ceiling, I patch them. Some other items are clear communication, clear & simple conracts, and neat appearance.


Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
Dave & I seem pretty close on the materials front...
I'll go Square D QO or Siemens for panels.. (mostly depends which wholesale house I'm near) Always try to get at least 1 or 2- 1" future stubs out of the panel into accessible attic or crawlspace if it's a semi-flush installation... I'f I can't get flex out, I'll leave 2 10-3's in 4S boxes & capped off in the panel with a "future" flag on them.

For outlets, P&S BR-15 is my minimum, In cases of severe "wall warting" or other high use/abuse areas, I'll offer an upgrade to Hubbell 5262 series.. Minimum switches, P&S CSB15AC (rated 120/277V) this also means less stock I need to carry... GFCI are P&S 1594 with the trip indicator light... Again, I offer Hubbell as an upgrade in certain circumstances...
The min. 6" of wire at the boxes is a given (code) & even when I don't use a ground wire at a box, (IE Nonmetallic box, no device, just blanked) I'll make sure I leave a ground pigtail incase someone a little on the lazy side comes along after me...
For wirenuts, I actually like the new 3M's the best, but my supply house doesnt have em yet, Ideal is my norm, occasionally 3M scotchlocks... If someone before me has cut wires just wayyy to short to get any kind of wirenut on, I'll break out the Wagos, as I can be sure they're on correctly.

Can lights I use Halo or Juno
Ceiling fans I recommend Hunter or Casablanca.. But my customer usually supplies these..
For boxes I usually get Bowers or Appleton.. Wire I think is usually Encore, Cerro or BICC General... (again, what the supply house carries)
Bridgeport or T&B fittings... 2 screw connectors instead of the plastic romex connector things.... I'm starting to ramble now! [Linked Image]

You get the picture [Linked Image]


Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 259
I look at my work like the work I would like to see done in my own home. I don't cut corners, hack or cheap out.
I am amazed by the crappy work I see out there.

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