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Old 02-14-2019, 06:23 AM   #1
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Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


Iíve seen some installers in my house (running cabling) use long bits through studs in my house without having to rip up the entire drywall area. I love this idea but can only picture myself firing that long bit right through the other side of the drywall!!

Iím wondering if any of you folks here have experience using these long bits and what the technique is for keeping the bit ďstraightĒ through potentially a few studs. Also, roughly how far can you go with a bit (2, 3 studs?) before itís just not feasible anymore?
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:33 AM   #2
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


Most of the bits I have used are around 36" long, effective range, so you will only get through 2 studs, and the accuracy is iffy. How long a run do you have to make? Often it is much easier to just cut laterally across the sheetrock, embed or drill your holes and install no-nail plates over the cables and finish the sheetrock. It just beats fighting with the drill.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:40 AM   #3
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


I have seen long bits and extensions in L's, just last week, so they're still available. But ... I'd cut away (just enough of) the drywall, make the run, nail over the galvinized bridges, and re-patch. PITA to be sure but a good skill to have.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:42 AM   #4
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


You can also take off the baseboard molding. Cut the sheet rock which would be behind the baseboard molding laterally. Drill your holes in the studs, use nail guards as advised and then place your baseboard molding back on the wall. You may have to build out the area behind the baseboard molding a bit since you removed the sheet rock. This way you don't have to patch any sheet rock at all as long as you don't remove the sheet rock above the line of sight over the baseboard molding. This is handy if you don't have much access thru the floor into a basement or crawl space.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:13 AM   #5
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


Get some fiberglass fish sticks. Get a string through wall and then use it to pull cable.

Lots of YouTube videos on trick and shortcuts of how to do this.

Alarm installers are wizards at fishing cables.


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Old 02-14-2019, 07:27 AM   #6
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


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You can also take off the baseboard molding. Cut the sheet rock which would be behind the baseboard molding laterally. Drill your holes in the studs, use nail guards as advised and then place your baseboard molding back on the wall. You may have to build out the area behind the baseboard molding a bit since you removed the sheet rock. This way you don't have to patch any sheet rock at all as long as you don't remove the sheet rock above the line of sight over the baseboard molding. This is handy if you don't have much access thru the floor into a basement or crawl space.
This is a really smart suggestion. I would assume there is some sort of 3.5" area that the 2x4 footer would be covering though, right? So you really can only pull this move if your baseboard is at least 3.5" or more.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:39 AM   #7
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


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Originally Posted by wschroter View Post
Iíve seen some installers in my house (running cabling) use long bits through studs in my house without having to rip up the entire drywall area. I love this idea but can only picture myself firing that long bit right through the other side of the drywall!!

Iím wondering if any of you folks here have experience using these long bits and what the technique is for keeping the bit ďstraightĒ through potentially a few studs. Also, roughly how far can you go with a bit (2, 3 studs?) before itís just not feasible anymore?
Extra long drill bits can be a beautiful thing, however there is a down side. When you drill using a very long bit, you are drilling blind. You cannot see what you are drilling into. It is easy to drill through wires that are nailed on studs or plastic pipes running through the wall. You need to be certain that the walls are clear of obstacles. Air ducts can also be a challenge.

Is there a basement below or attic above that you can see if anything is going into the wall? If you do have access from above or below it is possible to drill into the wall from there.

Removing the baseboard and making holes is a good possibility as someone else mentioned. I developed my own method of cutting drywall many years ago that makes it easy for patching. Basically you cut an access hole with the saw angled inward at a 45 degree angle. This leaves a beveled edge that will support the cut out piece. To repair, I butter the edges with joint compound on both the wall and the cut out piece. Then I push the cutout piece into the opening and smooth it over with a wide blade. After it drys another coat of joint compound will be necessary to finish it off and it will need to be painted.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:57 PM   #8
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


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Originally Posted by chandler48 View Post
Most of the bits I have used are around 36" long, effective range, so you will only get through 2 studs, and the accuracy is iffy. How long a run do you have to make? Often it is much easier to just cut laterally across the sheetrock, embed or drill your holes and install no-nail plates over the cables and finish the sheetrock. It just beats fighting with the drill.
Even easier to go up from the basement or down from the attic...
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:00 AM   #9
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


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Originally Posted by MrElectricianTV View Post
I developed my own method of cutting drywall many years ago that makes it easy for patching. Basically you cut an access hole with the saw angled inward at a 45 degree angle. This leaves a beveled edge that will support the cut out piece. To repair, I butter the edges with joint compound on both the wall and the cut out piece. Then I push the cutout piece into the opening and smooth it over with a wide blade. After it drys another coat of joint compound will be necessary to finish it off and it will need to be painted.
Damn I wish I had read this last week, I had to cut out a 1x1 foot hole and patch it. I try to make 1 of the cuts along a stud so at least 1 side of the replacement drywall can be screwed in but it sure would have been nice to have the other side supported better than the usual cloth tape & mud affair.

What do you do when the wall has a curvature and on one side of the patch the patch drywall wants to pull away from the bevel towards the outside of the wall?
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:13 AM   #10
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


There's a technique worth mentioning. Using some 1/2" thick stock you can install a bridge on the inside surface of the dry wall and behind the patch piece. Then your patch piece - the one you removed even - gets mudded to the bridge and the surrounding drywall. If you sink the bridge mounting screws they will be mudded over as well. Obviously drywall should be a continuous flat plane but I've noticed that it only has to look smooth and flat.
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Old 02-15-2019, 07:07 AM   #11
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


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Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
Damn I wish I had read this last week, I had to cut out a 1x1 foot hole and patch it. I try to make 1 of the cuts along a stud so at least 1 side of the replacement drywall can be screwed in but it sure would have been nice to have the other side supported better than the usual cloth tape & mud affair.

What do you do when the wall has a curvature and on one side of the patch the patch drywall wants to pull away from the bevel towards the outside of the wall?

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Old 02-15-2019, 07:34 AM   #12
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


Not sure if covered, but if you are working on the first floor with open joists in the basement, it's pretty easy to come up thru the floor into each cavity needed.


When I need small access holes in drywall, I pop in 4" holes with a hole saw. Save the disc and reuse for the patch with a board behind it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:04 AM   #13
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Re: Best Bit + Technique for Running New Eletrical Behind Drywall


Quote:
Originally Posted by tmittelstaedt View Post
Damn I wish I had read this last week, I had to cut out a 1x1 foot hole and patch it. I try to make 1 of the cuts along a stud so at least 1 side of the replacement drywall can be screwed in but it sure would have been nice to have the other side supported better than the usual cloth tape & mud affair.

What do you do when the wall has a curvature and on one side of the patch the patch drywall wants to pull away from the bevel towards the outside of the wall?
I don't recall ever having to cut into a curved wall. In your situation I would probably add a small block of wood behind that is supported only by drywall screws in the drywall.

The nice thing about cutting at a forty five degree angle and using the same piece as a patch, no taping is needed. So it is easy to get the wall even again without having to feather out the mud.
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