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slatergrl 02-04-2008 08:41 PM

Fishing through plaster and lath walls??
Anyone have any helpful pointers about fishing electrical wire through plaster and lath walls? My friend wants to install a ceiling fan. I know how to repair the plaster for the holes once I am done, but I have already assumed the project will be a headache, since I know old plaster walls can be difficult. I hope to run the wire lengthwise along the joists in the ceiling, but once I get to the top plate, how do I get a drill in to drill a hole in the plate? Also, once I am between two studs with the wire, how do I get past the little 2x4 stop that braces the two studs together(and creates a roadblock for my wire)?

goose134 02-04-2008 08:50 PM

Greenlee makes a tool called a feeler bit that will help you with this. It is a VERY long drill bit that has a bit of flexibility. There is another component that you should get that guides the bit called a placement tool. I know that Celtic has a wonderful image of this system if you can get in touch with him, he'll share it. Aside from that, simply plan on making holes in plaster and repairing them. One trick I have learned when cutting boxes is to cut one lathe half way through on the left hand side, all the way through on the right, and then return to the left side. Otherwise, you have a very floppy piece of lathe.

Kingsmurf 02-05-2008 01:00 AM

a sure cure for pain in the butt lath and plaster that makes a foot wide hole when you wanted a 1/2 inch hole is surface raceway . .if you can deal with the look
do NOT USE THE PLASTIC STUFF...metal only . . .series 500 WireMold will work . .and available at any Home Depot . . .this is NOT an DIY . . .

I try not to drill through lath and plaster if there is any way around it

Andy in ATL 02-05-2008 02:11 AM


Originally Posted by Kingsmurf (Post 95059)
. . .this is NOT an DIY . .



ElectricianJeff 02-05-2008 05:00 AM

A couple of tips that might help when working in old plaster and lathe:

When cutting in walls locate the stud first and cut the farthest edge first. Go slow and this will minimize plaster damage.

A "glo-stick" helps in getting past little road blocks when fishing wire down a joist.

Hope these help and good luck.


slatergrl 02-05-2008 07:05 AM

Thanks so much. I especially can't wait to use the glow stick idea & the cutting suggestions. I found three user names under celtic on a search. Which one are you referring to that I should contact about the process?

NateHanson 02-05-2008 07:13 AM

To get through the plate, I find it easiest to cut a 12" long x 4" wide hole in the wall just below the ceiling. Then you can put your drill in the wall and drill up through the plate. you might be able to stick a second fish tape or coat hanger through that hole to snag your first fish.

borninpa 02-05-2008 08:29 AM

patching the plaster when the holes get too large
I did a lot of fishing in old plaster walls. When my holes got bigger then I wanted (such as when cutting plaster to put in a new outlet box) I used a patching plaster that I found at HD to repair the holes. This product worked better then joint compound and it was easier to work with once I got used to it. It comes in a powder so you have to mix it for each use.

The key is to spray the hole you are filling with water so that the patch will stick and not separate from the wall when it is curing (it will draw in the moisture). Use a taping knife the knock down the plaster patch level with the wall (or perhaps a little high to allow for shrinkage). It will harden rock hard (unlike joint compound) and require little to no sanding! Oh, you have to work fairly fast with this product because it does dry fast. This has its benefits but can be a problem if you do not work swiftly. In some instances you may need a second coat.

Good luck

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