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Old 03-20-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
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A Hole to Nowhere


Hello;
I am putting a new receptacle in an upstairs room. I also want, during the same process, to run several new #12 (20A) lines up to the attic where I can then distribute them to upstairs rooms.

I have chosen an inside wall to use for my route, mainly because I can use the new outlet hole to help fish the wiring through. I chose a location for the new outlet upstairs so that it lies above one that is on the same wall downstairs. The two walls are aligned, and sit over one of the main support beams of the house.
The house is 80 years old, just so that you know as you read this through.

I cut the hole for the new outlet upstairs in the baseboard, since this will provide much better mounting than the plaster/lath wall.
I used an electronic stud finder w metal detection capability to locate the studs, then I drilled small pilot holes into the wall just above the baseboard to confirm the studs.

After cutting the hole for the outlet, I see that the header at the bottom of the upstairs wall is only about 1/4" below the hole that I cut. When I cut the hole, I used another one, also on the baseboard as a guide.
So, this part is no problem. I just need to locate my wiring hole to one side of my new outlet, so the box doesn't get in the way of the wire.

I had to drill another hole in the wall just above the baseboard to get a good angle to drill down into the header, since my outlet hole is too low to achieve this angle.
This too is OK. I can easily patch extra holes in the wall.

I drilled first with a smaller bit, I think 3/8" to see if I could get through the header, but that bit wasn't long enough, and would not fit into my extension.
So I "went for broke" and began drilling with the 7/8" wood bore, which is extra long.
I went as far as I could, but didn't get through the header. I could feel the bit going through one layer of wood, but right into another. I assume that is because headers are usually at least double thick.

For the 7/8" bit, I was able to use the extension, so using the extra hole to insert the bit, I was able to work through the header, eventually.
The problem is, first, I believe I have only broken through into the space between the floor upstairs and ceiling downstairs (but still within the wall space). I believe that my floor joists are 7" wide (remember, this is an old house), going by the ones in the basement.
So, it looks like either I need a very long extension that would allow me to drill down through the header in the downstairs wall, or that I have to drill a hole in the downstairs wall somewhere below the ceiling, and use it to angle the drill through the downstairs wall header.

Problem with using two separate drilling entries, is that my holes will probably not line up exactly, and it may be impossible to get my fish rod through without having to make a larger opening in the wall downstairs anyway.
I suppose having to do this might not be such a bad thing, if i can align the hole with the lighting fixture, then have an access point from which to also rewire that fixture.

Another thing you need to know is that I am drilling with a hand-held pistol grip drill (corded). I don't think these tools are very stable with very long extensions attached.

I would like to know whether I'm on the right track here. Is there a better way?
How do the pros usually do this?

Thanks for the advice

FW

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Old 03-20-2008, 07:01 PM   #2
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A Hole to Nowhere


Green lee makes a long flex bit, up to 54 " long. Some guys don't like to use them because of fear of hitting something in the wall (plumbing pipe or wire). I have never had a problem with them and find them very useful. They sell them in the electrical section of lowes or home depot. Your other option would be to open the wall up a little more to get your drill in there and get a long auger bit down in there.

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Old 03-20-2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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A Hole to Nowhere


bwinters is correct. The Greenlee bit is nice and the attachment (virtually a requirement) makes this type of drilling a breeze. My only problem with these bits is if they hit just about anything other than wood they get duller than a long story.

Since you are drilling through a bearing wall, you've already hit the main meat. You should be almost through. In the very front of my place, the bearing wall jogs six inches and when I went at it with a 1" bit, I ended up that far away from the wall in my tenant's living room. Whoops!
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Old 03-20-2008, 08:24 PM   #4
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A Hole to Nowhere


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Originally Posted by bwinters12 View Post
Green lee makes a long flex bit, up to 54 " long. Some guys don't like to use them because of fear of hitting something in the wall (plumbing pipe or wire). I have never had a problem with them and find them very useful. They sell them in the electrical section of lowes or home depot. Your other option would be to open the wall up a little more to get your drill in there and get a long auger bit down in there.
The flex bit may work for me. Thanks for the suggestion.

As far as hitting wiring or plumbing; Well, when my wood bore finally did break through into the void I referred to as "nowhere", I did hear it hit a pipe. It is a hot water heat pipe running up the wall downstairs to the radiator in the room I am working in.
Being a wood bore, and a cast iron pipe, I hardly think the bit would do any damage to the pipe, maybe the other way around, but my bit was fine. It only grazed the pipe by the sound of it. When I heard that, I stopped immediately!
As for wiring, this house has only BX in these walls, so I'm not worried there either.

I may try another wall, in a closet, where I can open up the wall as much as I want, and hopefully get full access to the top header. That way, my long wood bore plus extension just might be able to get through the second header. Otherwise, I think the flex bit is my best option.

Thanks

FW
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:28 PM   #5
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A Hole to Nowhere


another tip. since you said there is a void between the beams. Once you are able to punch through, keep the bit in the hole. go downstairs and tie a string to the bit, the go back upstairs and pull the bit out of the hole. This way you will have a pull string and wont have to worry about trying to fish your wires through the holes
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:35 PM   #6
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A Hole to Nowhere


A quick story. I was drilling up from the garage to a second floor bedroom trying to install a coax for a TV in the customer's son's room. I had the hole cut for my MP1 and everything located as far as alignment goes (almost). My help was watching to make sure I didn't come through the sheetrock. Well, I cleared through with my flex bit, bit the help says it isn't there. Mind you the lady left us there alone, said she had some errands to run for about 2 hours.

I had a bad feeling about it, so I told my help to go in the master bath and see if I had come out of the wall there. He tells me I need to come see... I had cleared through alright... Right up through her shower pan! I went into panic mode! Ok, ok, think MacGyver, think.

I took a picture of her shower, so I knew the color (creme). I rushed to home depot and bought some sand paper, and a tube of "Aquamend epoxy putty" same stuff as the "Mighty Putty" on TV. It's made for wet environments. I found a can of plastic spray paint that was exactly the color of the shower pan.

I became a fiberglass repair man for about an hour! I patched the hole, let the putty set, sanded it and painted it, trying to feather the paint as much as possible. Well, I had finished the repair, my help finished the coax, and the lady walked in as we were cleaning up. She walks up stairs and checks the job, signs the invoice and says "Do you guys smell paint?" "Nope"

It was flawless. But man did I almost have a panic attack. Thank you Mighty Putty!

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Old 03-21-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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A Hole to Nowhere


Quote:
Originally Posted by bwinters12 View Post
another tip. since you said there is a void between the beams. Once you are able to punch through, keep the bit in the hole. go downstairs and tie a string to the bit, the go back upstairs and pull the bit out of the hole. This way you will have a pull string and wont have to worry about trying to fish your wires through the holes
I'm hoping I don't see the bit downstairs<g>
I am supposed to be completely within wall spaces.

FW
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:52 AM   #8
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A Hole to Nowhere


Quote:
Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
A quick story. I was drilling up from the garage to a second floor bedroom trying to install a coax for a TV in the customer's son's room. I had the hole cut for my MP1 and everything located as far as alignment goes (almost). My help was watching to make sure I didn't come through the sheetrock. Well, I cleared through with my flex bit, bit the help says it isn't there. Mind you the lady left us there alone, said she had some errands to run for about 2 hours.

I had a bad feeling about it, so I told my help to go in the master bath and see if I had come out of the wall there. He tells me I need to come see... I had cleared through alright... Right up through her shower pan! I went into panic mode! Ok, ok, think MacGyver, think.

I took a picture of her shower, so I knew the color (creme). I rushed to home depot and bought some sand paper, and a tube of "Aquamend epoxy putty" same stuff as the "Mighty Putty" on TV. It's made for wet environments. I found a can of plastic spray paint that was exactly the color of the shower pan.

I became a fiberglass repair man for about an hour! I patched the hole, let the putty set, sanded it and painted it, trying to feather the paint as much as possible. Well, I had finished the repair, my help finished the coax, and the lady walked in as we were cleaning up. She walks up stairs and checks the job, signs the invoice and says "Do you guys smell paint?" "Nope"

It was flawless. But man did I almost have a panic attack. Thank you Mighty Putty!

InPhase277
Wow! That's a great story!
Did you ever tell anyone else at work? Hope it never got back to your boss<g>

In my house, I could drill all I want and never have to worry about breaking out into the shower (which is really the bathtub). Tub is porcelain, walls are ceramic tile.
I think those "all in one" shower tub combos are great in that they don't leak around the seams, but as you indicate, they're made from plastic, so easy to drill through<g>

I guess I would have been in hot water (literally) if I had somehow managed to break the heating pipe my bit encountered. But it would be nearly impossible for a wood bore to get through the thick cast iron of those old pipes.
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:55 AM   #9
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A Hole to Nowhere


Quote:
Originally Posted by bwinters12 View Post
another tip. since you said there is a void between the beams. Once you are able to punch through, keep the bit in the hole. go downstairs and tie a string to the bit, the go back upstairs and pull the bit out of the hole. This way you will have a pull string and wont have to worry about trying to fish your wires through the holes
Isn't there always a void between the floor and ceiling?
That said, in the house I lived in when I was a kid, there were no headers on the inside walls (or the outside ones as I recall), so wiring was a snap.
However, considering fire safety, I would much rather have to deal with the headers.

FW
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Old 03-21-2008, 09:56 AM   #10
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A Hole to Nowhere


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Originally Posted by goose134 View Post
bwinters is correct. The Greenlee bit is nice and the attachment (virtually a requirement) makes this type of drilling a breeze. My only problem with these bits is if they hit just about anything other than wood they get duller than a long story.

Since you are drilling through a bearing wall, you've already hit the main meat. You should be almost through. In the very front of my place, the bearing wall jogs six inches and when I went at it with a 1" bit, I ended up that far away from the wall in my tenant's living room. Whoops!
What is the attachment? Is there something I need besides the flex bit?
Is this actually an extension to which you attach your bit, or is the bit integrated into the thing?
I guess I need to visit my Home Depot again to check it out.

FW
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Old 03-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #11
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A Hole to Nowhere


I can't get the picture here, but here is the cat. page
http://www.mygreenlee.com/Products/m...c_number=38350
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Old 03-21-2008, 08:16 PM   #12
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A Hole to Nowhere


If I buy the Greenlee D'VersiBit, which type should I get?
The starter kit contains the 9/16" 54" type B, so that would lead me to believe the type B is the best for wiring jobs.
I assume that 9/16" would be wide enough for #12/2 Romex?
I was planning to pull several pieces up at once, through the same hole, but I am afraid that if I try to use too large a flex bit, it might take much longer to drill.
Also, the 9/16" would be more usable in narrower members.
Can't have my cake and eat it too<g>

I also looked at the placement tool, and agree that it is a necessity.

FW
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Old 03-24-2008, 10:28 AM   #13
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A Hole to Nowhere


Considering what someone said in another thread (this forum) about Diversibits, I may just go into the closet<g>, and open up a large hole to gain full access to the header in a different wall. The post I am referring to said that a Diversibit can be easily destroyed by loose chunks of old plaster that usually sit atop the headers.
Since I have old plaster walls, I think I should heed this advice. Plus, I already have the 16" spade bit, so if I could get it to work without having to buy a $40 Diversibit, all the better.

The closet wall is about 12' further from the main panel than the wall I was trying to use, so I will have a longer run of wire, but I don't think it will really make a difference.
Perhaps I'll even bring up a feeder cable and install a sub panel in the attic. A bit more expensive, but a lot more convenient.

FW

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