Cutting outlet holes in plaster/wood-lath walls.

Discussion in 'Misc DIY' started by BETAC-T, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. BETAC-T

    BETAC-T Guest

    I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    etc.

    Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:

    I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath
    from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent
    stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching
    in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the
    wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long
    time for each hole.

    I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would
    help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    area of plaster than using the by-hand method.

    The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and
    forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    be small enough to do this.

    I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw
    sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    (which is probably why they are only on TV).

    So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must
    have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    etc.

    Any ideas? Thanks.
     
    BETAC-T, Apr 9, 2007
    #1
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  2. BETAC-T

    Guest

    roto zip tool or similar



    On Apr 9, 1:14 pm, "BETAC-T" <> wrote:
    > I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    > a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    > etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath
    > from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    > I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    > least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent
    > stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching
    > in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the
    > wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long
    > time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would
    > help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    > area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and
    > forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    > be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw
    > sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    > anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    > (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must
    > have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    > don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    > etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.
     
    , Apr 9, 2007
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. BETAC-T

    Heathcliff Guest

    On Apr 9, 12:14 pm, "BETAC-T" <> wrote:
    > I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    > a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    > etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath
    > from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    > I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    > least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent
    > stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching
    > in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the
    > wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long
    > time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would
    > help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    > area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and
    > forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    > be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw
    > sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    > anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    > (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must
    > have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    > don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    > etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.


    I remember the first time I had a project that involved cutting into
    the plaster walls. As I had a fairly large area to remove I thought a
    circular saw was the way to go. I was really surprised when I touched
    the saw to the plaster and it generated a rooster tail of sparks!
    Didn't cut it very well either. That plaster is quite cement-like (at
    least mine is). Since then I have used a sabre saw or a reciprocating
    saw a few times, but as you say it is problematic in terms of
    cracking, knocking the lath around, etc. It is also likely to break
    off the "keys" that hold the plaster to the lath, leading to problems
    later as the plaster gradually develops waves or bulges. Also, after
    a few minutes the teeth on the saw blade are not just dull, they're
    gone. You could try a rotozip. Bit life might be an issue if your
    plaster is like mine.

    When I need to cut the plaster now I use a a low-tech method: carbide
    scribing tool (normally used for scoring cement board for tile
    backing.) The scribing tool can be found in the tile section of a big-
    box store for about $10. You just drag it along the line you want to
    cut, a few passes will score all the way through the plaster. You
    could probably then just pull out the piece of plaster you want to
    remove and then cut the lath with a rotozip.

    -- H
     
    Heathcliff, Apr 9, 2007
    #3
  4. BETAC-T

    RBM Guest

    If you are installing one or two boxes in wood lathe, you could carefully
    chisel through the plaster, find the wood and essentially mark the box
    centered over one piece of lathe, cut that piece out completely and half of
    the pieces of lathe above and below that piece. Now the box fits in the hole
    and can be screwed to the remaining half pieces of lathe above and below.
    This is best done slowly and with a sharp key hole saw. yes, it's a PITA. If
    you are doing a renovation, and need to cut in lots of boxes, I'd use a raco
    type "LB" bracket bang on box, either gem or 1900, which bangs on the front
    of a stud, which is a much stronger and permanent job, but will require some
    plastering. Here is a link to Raco boxes, scroll down to find LB bracket
    boxes: http://www.hubbellcatalog.com/raco/RACO_boxes.asp?FAM=RacoBoxes




    "BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    >a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    >etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood
    > lath from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break
    > out. I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so
    > at least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the
    > adjacent stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a
    > little, reaching in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then
    > carefully cutting the wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work
    > very well, and takes a long time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all
    > would help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a
    > wider area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back
    > and forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that
    > would be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can
    > saw sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't
    > found anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work
    > anyway (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they
    > must have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since
    > they don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new
    > outlets, etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.
    >
     
    RBM, Apr 9, 2007
    #4
  5. "BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut

    out
    > a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet

    receptacles,
    > etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood

    lath
    > from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    > I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    > least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the

    adjacent
    > stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little,

    reaching
    > in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting

    the
    > wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a

    long
    > time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all

    would
    > help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    > area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back

    and
    > forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    > be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can

    saw
    > sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    > anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    > (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they

    must
    > have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    > don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    > etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.
    >


    Cutting into wood lathe and plaster is never fun. I have always warned the
    customer that there may be collateral damage. One thing that I do is put two
    inch masking tape around the hole before I begin to cut to help keep the
    plaster from breaking off on the surface. Unfortunately once you fully cut
    the center lathe it is completely unsupported and leaves that portion of the
    wall susceptible to future cracking.

    I have thought of possibly cutting out a portion of the center and upper or
    lower lathe. Then insert another vertical piece of lathe off to the side
    and screwing through the wall to tie it into the upper, center, and lower
    pieces of lathe. In theory this would keep the existing lathe stable. I
    have never tried this though, but if you do please post back with your
    results.

    As someone else mentioned, I also score the plaster, but I have been using a
    razor knife which dulls the blade quickly. The carbide scribing tool sounds
    like a good idea instead.

    You can try a Rotozip. I think that they make carbide bits for plaster.
    The high speed bit may cut through with less vibration than the forth and
    back motion of a hand saw.

    For round holes for ceiling fixture boxes I have used a 4" carbide tipped
    hole saw with very good results.

    I have been fortunate lately in that many of my customers with wood lathe
    and plaster have decided to remove it all. It makes it easier for plumbing,
    electrical, heating/air conditioning, insulation, and to find and repair
    structural problems.

    Makita used to make a small diameter cordless circular saw and diamond
    tipped blades to go with it. I haven't looked at their product line lately
    to see if it is still available. I have one and used it on bigger holes for
    bath fans and such. It does a nice job, but there is a tremendous amount of
    dust as a result
     
    John Grabowski, Apr 9, 2007
    #5
  6. BETAC-T

    Bob F Guest

    "BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    >a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    >etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood
    > lath from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break
    > out. I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so
    > at least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the
    > adjacent stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a
    > little, reaching in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then
    > carefully cutting the wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work
    > very well, and takes a long time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all
    > would help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a
    > wider area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back
    > and forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that
    > would be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can
    > saw sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't
    > found anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work
    > anyway (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they
    > must have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since
    > they don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new
    > outlets, etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.


    I use a carbide bit in a roto-tool. I cut through the plaster, but not the
    lath with it. Then pop the plaster out. I then cut the lath with a keyhole
    saw, drilling starter holes as needed first.

    Bob
     
    Bob F, Apr 9, 2007
    #6
  7. BETAC-T

    volts500 Guest

    BETAC-T wrote:
    > I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    > a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    > etc.
    >
    > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >
    > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath
    > from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    > I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    > least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent
    > stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching
    > in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the
    > wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long
    > time for each hole.
    >
    > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would
    > help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    > area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >
    > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and
    > forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    > be small enough to do this.
    >
    > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw
    > sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    > anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    > (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >
    > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must
    > have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    > don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    > etc.
    >
    > Any ideas? Thanks.


    Looks like you've been getting some very good advice so far. If it
    makes you feel any better, my wife is good at cutting holes in lath
    and plaster for electric boxes. When I re-wire old houses that have
    lath and plaster, all I have to do is mark where I want a box and she
    goes at it. I go to the basement and run the circuits, drill holes in
    the sill plate where the boxes are going to be and stuff the cable up
    into the hole. By that time she's done cutting in the holes and all I
    have to do is reach in and pull out the wire.

    The moral to the story is that brute force does not apply when cutting
    holes in lath and plaster. Easy does it. Use sharp tools. Let the
    tool do the work. Buy a couple of saws if you have to, as plaster
    will dull a saw blade quick.

    The trick to cutting the lath, as others have mentioned, is to _remove
    the plaster first_. The trick to removing the plaster is to _score_
    it first. Once the lath is exposed one can usually reach in with a
    pair of lineman's pliers and grab the middle lath to hold it still
    while cutting the lath. Sometimes needlenose pliers work better, or
    cut out some of the lath so the lineman's pliers will fit. Go easy
    towards the end of the cut. Cut as far as you have to in the upper
    and lower laths, on both sides, then just snap off the lath with the
    lineman's pliers.

    Again, easy does it, start out slow, speed will come with practice.
     
    volts500, Apr 10, 2007
    #7
  8. BETAC-T

    BobK207 Guest

    On Apr 9, 4:56 pm, "volts500" <> wrote:
    > BETAC-T wrote:
    > > I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    > > a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    > > etc.

    >
    > > Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:

    >
    > > I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    > > saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath
    > > from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out.
    > > I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at
    > > least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent
    > > stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching
    > > in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the
    > > wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long
    > > time for each hole.

    >
    > > I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would
    > > help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider
    > > area of plaster than using the by-hand method.

    >
    > > The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    > > thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    > > used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and
    > > forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would
    > > be small enough to do this.

    >
    > > I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw
    > > sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found
    > > anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway
    > > (which is probably why they are only on TV).

    >
    > > So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must
    > > have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they
    > > don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets,
    > > etc.

    >
    > > Any ideas? Thanks.

    >
    > Looks like you've been getting some very good advice so far. If it
    > makes you feel any better, my wife is good at cutting holes in lath
    > and plaster for electric boxes. When I re-wire old houses that have
    > lath and plaster, all I have to do is mark where I want a box and she
    > goes at it. I go to the basement and run the circuits, drill holes in
    > the sill plate where the boxes are going to be and stuff the cable up
    > into the hole. By that time she's done cutting in the holes and all I
    > have to do is reach in and pull out the wire.
    >
    > The moral to the story is that brute force does not apply when cutting
    > holes in lath and plaster. Easy does it. Use sharp tools. Let the
    > tool do the work. Buy a couple of saws if you have to, as plaster
    > will dull a saw blade quick.
    >
    > The trick to cutting the lath, as others have mentioned, is to _remove
    > the plaster first_. The trick to removing the plaster is to _score_
    > it first. Once the lath is exposed one can usually reach in with a
    > pair of lineman's pliers and grab the middle lath to hold it still
    > while cutting the lath. Sometimes needlenose pliers work better, or
    > cut out some of the lath so the lineman's pliers will fit. Go easy
    > towards the end of the cut. Cut as far as you have to in the upper
    > and lower laths, on both sides, then just snap off the lath with the
    > lineman's pliers.
    >
    > Again, easy does it, start out slow, speed will come with practice.


    BETAC-T

    You've gotten good advice...esp "easy does it"

    I have a 1930 house with wood lath & plaster...over the years I've
    added electrical boxes.

    Sawzall does not work.....too much damage. :(

    A sharp keyhole saw or new Sawzall blade in their handle works as well
    but you've got to be careful.

    I finally settled on Dremel with diamond bit thru plaster.

    Dremel with wood bit thru wood lath.

    Rotating bit stresses the lath/plaster less than any other techhnique.

    If the plaster is smooth (not a fancy texture, like about 1/2 my
    house) after the plaster plug is removed I drill through & screw the
    plaster to the wood lath.

    Smooth plaster is easy to fix / match......the trick textures are a
    pain.

    I do one box at a time & only very occasionally.

    If I were doing a large number of boxes at once I would setup a jig/
    guide & screw or double back tape it to the wall

    And "go to town" with two rotozips (once w/ plaster bit, one with wood
    bit)

    Instead of mounting a "tiger box", I glue (construction adhesive)
    plywood blocks to the opposite the wall interior face & screw the box
    to the blocks. Reinforces the opposite wall & doesn't stress the new
    hole. I use deep boxes so I don't need much plywood.

    When I'm finished, I "caulk" around the box with SIKA Sikadur
    AnchorFix #1.

    This stuff gels in 5 minutes, full cure in 1 hour....stronger than
    concrete; bonds to plaster, wood & concrete. Fits in a standard
    caulk gun

    The final installation is rock solid.

    cheers
    Bob
     
    BobK207, Apr 10, 2007
    #8
  9. BETAC-T

    volts500 Guest

    volts500 wrote:

    > The trick to cutting the lath, as others have mentioned, is to _remove
    > the plaster first_. The trick to removing the plaster is to _score_
    > it first. Once the lath is exposed one can usually reach in with a
    > pair of lineman's pliers and grab the middle lath to hold it still
    > while cutting the lath. Sometimes needlenose pliers work better, or
    > cut out some of the lath so the lineman's pliers will fit. Go easy
    > towards the end of the cut. Cut as far as you have to in the upper
    > and lower laths, on both sides, then just snap off the lath with the
    > lineman's pliers.


    I forgot to mention when making the first cut in the lath not to cut
    it all
    the way through....stop it short about 1/4". That way when you are
    making the second cut the lath won't flap around. Once the second
    cut is made all the way through you can then snap the lath out with
    your pliers or use your saw to remove the final 1/4" of lath on the
    first
    cut. If you use old work boxes with snap brackets, the brackets will
    secure the loose middle laths when you tighten it. Here's what they
    look like:
    http://www.usahardware.com/inet/shop/item/30060/icn/20-339473/allied_moulded_3337/9331esc2.htm
     
    volts500, Apr 10, 2007
    #9
  10. BETAC-T

    BETAC-T Guest

    Thanks everyone for all of the great ideas and suggestions. Since so many
    people described the same kinds of issues I have been encountering, at least
    I know it's not just me -- it's not a job with a known clear-cut easy
    solution.

    I have been cutting out the plaster first (by scribing it, etc.), and then
    working on the wood lath. So, at least I have that part figured out. And,
    I have been trying to work VERY slowly and VERY carefully, but it's still a
    pain.

    I looked up "Rotozip" because, to be honest, I didn't really know what that
    was. Seems like it uses the "side-cutting" drill bit concept I had seen on
    TV. And, I guess it has some types of small circular blades that may help
    in cutting the laths. I'm definitely going to Home Depot, Lowe's etc. and
    checking them out today.

    There's a subject heading called "Rotozip: goodgawd..." that was posted in
    this newsgroup on 04/09/2007 at 11:45 PM that has some additional info and
    thoughts about Rotozips.

    Yesterday, I started thinking there ought to be some kind of jig or clamp
    that I could use (or invent) to clamp the lath tight while cutting it to
    keep it from vibrating. I thought maybe there is a way to cut out the
    plaster part (that's easy), then slip the clamping device between the space
    between two laths, then tighten it down to clamp the laths from the back up
    tight against a flat piece that is on the wall surface -- then cut the
    laths. I didn't see any ready-made clamping devices that would do that, but
    I'm sure someone here can come up with that invention. I am just surprised
    that electrician's don't already have something like that that they use.
    The best I could figure out for now was to try buying a 5-inch metal
    90-degree angle brace. I don't know if that will work, but I'm going to see
    if there is a way to use that to put through the space between two laths and
    pull them tight from the back while cutting. Right now, I can't picture
    that working in my mind. But, I'll bet there is something along those lines
    that could be created or fashioned to do what is needed.

    Thanks again to everyone.


    "BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    >a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    >etc. ............
     
    BETAC-T, Apr 10, 2007
    #10
  11. BETAC-T

    Bob F Guest

    "BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Thanks everyone for all of the great ideas and suggestions. Since so many
    > people described the same kinds of issues I have been encountering, at
    > least I know it's not just me -- it's not a job with a known clear-cut
    > easy solution.
    >
    > I have been cutting out the plaster first (by scribing it, etc.), and then
    > working on the wood lath. So, at least I have that part figured out.
    > And, I have been trying to work VERY slowly and VERY carefully, but it's
    > still a pain.
    >
    > I looked up "Rotozip" because, to be honest, I didn't really know what
    > that was. Seems like it uses the "side-cutting" drill bit concept I had
    > seen on TV. And, I guess it has some types of small circular blades that
    > may help in cutting the laths. I'm definitely going to Home Depot, Lowe's
    > etc. and checking them out today.
    >
    > There's a subject heading called "Rotozip: goodgawd..." that was posted in
    > this newsgroup on 04/09/2007 at 11:45 PM that has some additional info and
    > thoughts about Rotozips.
    >
    > Yesterday, I started thinking there ought to be some kind of jig or clamp
    > that I could use (or invent) to clamp the lath tight while cutting it to
    > keep it from vibrating. I thought maybe there is a way to cut out the
    > plaster part (that's easy), then slip the clamping device between the
    > space between two laths, then tighten it down to clamp the laths from the
    > back up tight against a flat piece that is on the wall surface -- then cut
    > the laths. I didn't see any ready-made clamping devices that would do
    > that, but I'm sure someone here can come up with that invention. I am
    > just surprised that electrician's don't already have something like that
    > that they use. The best I could figure out for now was to try buying a
    > 5-inch metal 90-degree angle brace. I don't know if that will work, but
    > I'm going to see if there is a way to use that to put through the space
    > between two laths and pull them tight from the back while cutting. Right
    > now, I can't picture that working in my mind. But, I'll bet there is
    > something along those lines that could be created or fashioned to do what
    > is needed.
    >
    > Thanks again to everyone.


    You can always run a screw into the lath to hold it, through any kind of
    block or structure you can conceive to stabilize it.

    Bob
     
    Bob F, Apr 13, 2007
    #11
  12. BETAC-T

    Guest

    On Tue, 10 Apr 2007 17:24:13 -0400, "DB" <>
    wrote:

    >
    >"BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >>I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    >>a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    >>etc.
    >>
    >> Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >>
    >> I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    >> saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood
    >> lath from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break
    >> out. I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so
    >> at least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the
    >> adjacent stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a
    >> little, reaching in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then
    >> carefully cutting the wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work
    >> very well, and takes a long time for each hole.
    >>
    >> I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all
    >> would help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a
    >> wider area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >>
    >> The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    >> thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    >> used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back
    >> and forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that
    >> would be small enough to do this.
    >>
    >> I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can
    >> saw sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't
    >> found anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work
    >> anyway (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >>
    >> So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they
    >> must have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since
    >> they don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new
    >> outlets, etc.
    >>
    >> Any ideas? Thanks.

    >
    >You need something with a high speed rotary blade to minimize the back and
    >forth yanking of a reciprcating tool.Iin a pinch a die grinder with a cut
    >off wheel would probably work but something with saw teeth would work more
    >efficiently.
    >


    THey do sell small circular saw blades for dremel tools. I never
    tried them, and I wonder how long they would last from plaster.
    Probably not long.
     
    , Apr 17, 2007
    #12
  13. BETAC-T

    Goedjn Guest

    On Tue, 17 Apr 2007 01:21:17 -0500, wrote:

    >On Tue, 10 Apr 2007 17:24:13 -0400, "DB" <>
    >wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>"BETAC-T" <> wrote in message
    >>news:...
    >>>I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out
    >>>a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles,
    >>>etc.
    >>>
    >>> Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
    >>>
    >>> I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard
    >>> saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood
    >>> lath from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break
    >>> out. I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so
    >>> at least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the
    >>> adjacent stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a
    >>> little, reaching in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then
    >>> carefully cutting the wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work
    >>> very well, and takes a long time for each hole.
    >>>
    >>> I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all
    >>> would help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a
    >>> wider area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
    >>>
    >>> The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep
    >>> thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be
    >>> used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back
    >>> and forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that
    >>> would be small enough to do this.
    >>>
    >>> I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can
    >>> saw sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't
    >>> found anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work
    >>> anyway (which is probably why they are only on TV).
    >>>
    >>> So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they
    >>> must have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since
    >>> they don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new
    >>> outlets, etc.
    >>>
    >>> Any ideas? Thanks.

    >>
    >>You need something with a high speed rotary blade to minimize the back and
    >>forth yanking of a reciprcating tool.Iin a pinch a die grinder with a cut
    >>off wheel would probably work but something with saw teeth would work more
    >>efficiently.
    >>

    >
    >THey do sell small circular saw blades for dremel tools. I never
    >tried them, and I wonder how long they would last from plaster.
    >Probably not long.



    Or one of those half-wheel vibrating saws that they use
    to cut people's casts off.
     
    Goedjn, Apr 17, 2007
    #13
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