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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
dmattox Offline OP
Anyone have any tips for doing cutin work in lathe and plaster? Jigsaw and sawsall seem to be a sure way to end up needing a patch. Skill saw works well but is a huge mess. Hand saws are really slow. Anyone got a tip?

Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 267
Try a roto zip

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 265
dmattox Offline OP
I actually tried that but burned through a tile cutting bit with my first hole. Is there a bit you would recommend?

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 109
I use a 4" side grinder with diamond blade or a rotozip most of the time. If the wall has wooden lath I cut the plaster then change blades in the roto zip and cut the wood. Running the shop vac helps keep the mess down some. If I need to do a clean job (no dust)I use a hand saw, slow but less messy. A sawzall tends to grab and pull the plaster loose and make cracks. Rod

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,457
Hand saws are really slow
First you have to accept this type of work in itself is really slow. What works for me is lay out your cut and then chip out the plaster with a plaster removel tool. (screwdriver) Then cut the lath with a sharp hand saw or a roto zip with a wood bit.

Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
Sawzall or jigsaw with a carbide blade.


Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 209
I found that the cordless saws like my Makita 4" 12volt make a nice clean cut and the blade spins so slow that the dust just drops to the floor without spraying all over the room. Prior to this I was using my 4" mini grinder with a "dust muzzle" attachment. This was a neat little plastic guard that hooks up to a 1 1/4" vacuum hose that sends most of the dust to your shop vac.the dust muzzle is at:
Good luck,

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
I know the problem with the sawsall is the blade grabs on the backing boards then the plaster comes loose all over. If used a sharp blade is a must. You can kill 1 normal blade per hole.

Screw driver chipping out works.

I had luck with a hole saw. Several cuts and then chipping out the corners for a box.

Those roto zip blades allways burn up on me. Maybe I have the wrong type.

I hered the idea of screwing a piece of pllywood all around the hole to be cut. This is to keep the lath from comming loose.


Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 333
I use a 3 3/8" cordless makita saw with a diamond blade for the plaster and a sharp blade in a jigsaw for the lath. The jigsaw can be handled with one hand and the lath stabilized from bouncing with my other hand.


Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
If the plaster has metal lath, a hacksaw blade is the way to go. It's helpful to use the blade so the teeth cut on the push stroke. You can get a hacksaw-blade holder that allows using the blade like a keyhole saw.

A hacksaw blade can be used for wood lath, too. The best way to loosen as little of the lath as possible is to make the vertical cut farther from the nearest stud first, then the cut closer to the stud; the closer, the better.

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
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