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old work boxes #75948 03/22/07 09:59 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 171
Merlin Offline OP
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, ????

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: old work boxes #75949 03/22/07 10:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
ShockMe77 Offline
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!

Re: old work boxes #75950 03/22/07 10:34 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,571
gfretwell Offline
This thing helps the dust
Vacuum adapter

Greg Fretwell
Re: old work boxes #75951 03/23/07 12:22 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 214
Elviscat Offline
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 wink for grounding purposes wink wink 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...


Re: old work boxes [Re: Elviscat] #160685 03/24/07 12:52 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 30
jfwayer Offline
For plastic rework boxes (tricks from trade school)
1) reverse the wing it gives you a little more depth
2) substitute longer screws

Re: old work boxes [Re: jfwayer] #160689 03/24/07 01:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 457
Jim M Offline
Since you have tongue and groove behind the plaster just run long screws thru the flange on the old work box into the wood.

Re: old work boxes [Re: Jim M] #160691 03/24/07 01:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 778
BigB Offline
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.

Re: old work boxes [Re: BigB] #160694 03/24/07 03:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
macmikeman Offline
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.

Re: old work boxes [Re: macmikeman] #160715 03/24/07 07:44 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 778
BigB Offline
thanks Mike I'll try that

Re: old work boxes [Re: BigB] #160760 03/25/07 12:22 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 1
Deltaelektrik Offline
Junior Member
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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