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Tricks of the Trade #68432
08/09/06 09:01 AM
08/09/06 09:01 AM
Zapped  Offline OP
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 482
Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Through our experience, rather than education, we all come up with interesting time savers and "tricks" that we either develop through necessity or stumble upon by ourselves (or learn through an "old-timer".

What is your favorite trick that you'd like to enlighten the rest of us with?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Tricks of the Trade #68433
08/09/06 12:23 PM
08/09/06 12:23 PM
earlydean  Offline
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Griswold, CT, USA
Use the EMT bender as a vise to hold the EMT while you hack-saw. Insert the end of the pipe into the hole at the bender end, lie the pieces on the ground, push with your knee on the bender handle, and hack the pipe.
Sure beats using the inside of your knee for a vise.

Use the exhaust of your truck to soften PVC.

Use NEMA 1 enclosures inside concrete walls by taping the conduit ends and stuffing with newspaper.

Terminate stranded wire under a screw by twistng counter-clockwise prior to tightening the screw. Or, leaving a 3/4 inch tag of insulation on the stripped end.

Bend 1/2 inch EMT, 30 degrees at a bite, on your knee by using the notch between your lower leg and the knee-cap.

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68434
08/09/06 12:37 PM
08/09/06 12:37 PM
trobb  Offline
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 110
Iowa City, IA
Not my trick, but interesting nonetheless. I had a Priest that I worked with that could strip 14g or smaller with his teeth. I bet his dentist loves him. Even better? Teeth are dull on the side, so it's hard to nick the wire.

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68435
08/09/06 02:42 PM
08/09/06 02:42 PM
walrus  Offline
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
Bangor Me. USA
My trick is to do the least amount of work possible. I'm saving myself for after work [Linked Image]

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68436
08/09/06 03:17 PM
08/09/06 03:17 PM
steve ancient apprentice  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 169
west springfield,mass
Haveing tried all things to cut emt without getting all cut up with a hacksaw I bought my own cordless tool set and put a fine tooth metal cutting blade on the circular saw. Its much easyier,faster, and no knuckle busting. The old waysof doing things are gone. They can also take the sazsall to cut emt and stick it . Try the circular saw with the metal blade. Myboss saw me do this and he said why didnt he think of this. Oh well, im only 12 years older than him.

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68437
08/09/06 04:22 PM
08/09/06 04:22 PM
Rewired  Offline
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 558
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
When fishing a wall or ceiling cavity sometimes a piece or two of 1/2 PVC conduit has enough flex to be bent and shoved in the opening yet is rigid enough to move straight up or down a wall cavity or across a ceiling without getting bunged up like a fish tape does, and can push past insulation ( If you really must go through an insulated cavity) and debris if some exists... Used it in a 1 floor balloon frame house many times, fished from the basement to the attic and never had to cut a single hole [Linked Image]


Re: Tricks of the Trade #68438
08/11/06 04:43 PM
08/11/06 04:43 PM
DougW  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
I have a piece of a vinyl sewing tape measure taped to the handle of my bender near the head.

It's convenient for calculating little offsets.

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68439
08/12/06 01:44 AM
08/12/06 01:44 AM
Larry Fine  Offline
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 693
Richmond, VA
I wire backwards. I also have just about zero waste. Allow me to explain:

Let's say I'm wiring a receptacle circuit run. I've installed my boxes and drilled my holes; let's say I'm going overhead, and let's start with the last box.

I run the NM from the previous box, through the holes, to the last box, leaving a bit of slack at each turn. (I haven't cut the wire from the roll yet.) I'll strip and hook the wire, put it into the box, and staple.

I staple my way from here back towards the next-to-last box, adjusting the length as I go, until I get to the top-plate hole. I now cut the wire to suit this box, strip and hook the wires (except the ground) and let it just hang for now.

Now, I take the roll the the next box and feed it through the holes to the box I just cut and stripped at. I strip and hook the wires (except the ground again) and twist the two grounds gently together.

I cut one ground short (for the greenie), and then poke all four insulated wires and the 1-1/2 ground wires into the box through one KO. Now I staple both wires up the stud, and then staple my way toward the roll again.

Notice the only waste I have is the half of ground I trim. I never just run all the wire segments and cut them. If one is a hair too short, it becomes pigtail stock (unless I can use it somewhere else).

If one is too long, the excess might or might not be suitable for pigtails. I prefer leaving the wire I'm working on attached to the roll as long as I can, not cut it off as soon as I can.

The same method works for, say, a group of recessed lights. If I'm going to work on the last can, I feed the wire toward it from the previous box, not away from it so I have to cut the wire to get an end.

If I did that, I'd have two unlanded ends which haven't been stapled, and I might have either too much slack or not enough, both of which are wasteful. The best part: it's faster, too.

To me, a foot-long hunk of wire is more valuable while it's still part of the roll than after it's been cut off. Let the carpet guys be the one who try to sell remnants.

[This message has been edited by Larry Fine (edited 08-12-2006).]

Larry Fine
Fine Electric Co.
Re: Tricks of the Trade #68440
08/12/06 05:55 AM
08/12/06 05:55 AM
SteveFehr  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
Chesapeake, VA
I do it the exact same way, Larry. At 50 cents a foot right now, the stuff is too expensive to waste! It makes me sick to see what people throw out on these job sites- my average scrap lumber is less than 12" long, and I don't have any scrap wire to speak of, aside from small bits at the end of the 14-3 rolls that are hard to find a home for.

Re: Tricks of the Trade #68441
08/15/06 01:56 AM
08/15/06 01:56 AM
Kenbo  Offline
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 233
When teaching calculations I always show an alerative way to work out but call it a "Cheet"

They always remember the "Cheet" lazy b*&^%$s

der Gro├čvater
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