Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hang Wire: Finalizing the wiring in the middle bedroom

Of course, the middle bedroom started out with some fake electricity

Observe fake light bulb screwed to ceiling. 

Apparently, part of making a house livable requires the inclusion of this new thing called "electricity" (I had to look it up).  Obviously, its not totally necessary, as we have been managing just fine for the last two years in the upstairs of our house.  What are extension cords, floor lamps, and flashlights for after all?

Anyway, let's pop off this fake light fixture and keep our fingers crossed that the hot feed I stuffed in there back in December 2011 is still in my ceiling.

Genius pull-string for all the wires in this ceiling

From reading this weblog, I'm sure you are wondering by now if I actually have a real game plan for wiring this house.  The answer is: YES.. sort of.  I have partitioned it in phases.   Last year, I ran a couple home runs down to the panel.  The capped wires in the above picture are live.  They have been servicing the floor receptacles in the middle bedroom, but will also service this overhead light (via wall switch-- these wires have also been pulled).  Furthermore, there is a feed that I pulled into the hall wall, that will power a three-way switch, which will power the overhead light in the hallway.  All those wires have also been pulled. It may sound organized when written here in the weblog, but in reality it looks like this (from Occupy archives):

Deadly Romex Squid: recently added to the endangered species list

I have plunked this electric plan view in here before, but I am going to do it again because, yes, I really am that annoying.

The intent, as described in the previous long paragraph. Both overhead hall lights AND the middle room overhead light will reside on new circuit 12.

So, let's get to work. First, we cut open the ceiling with a jigsaw.  If you've never stood on a ladder, while cutting through 100 year old plaster, with a power tool, turned upside down, while being directly under it, and simultaneously cutting around hot electrical wires.. you've seriously never lived yet.  Honestly, I imagine its about as fun as hanging out in room with chalkboards on every wall, and a thousand Freddy Kreugers in it.

( Freddy + Chalkboard ) x 1000 = Nightmare on Wolf Street

Fortunately for me, cutting into plaster ceiling around live wires is a regular occurrence at this point.  And, you actually have to go to sleep in order to meet up with our gloved friend above.  I'm unfazed.

What's the end result? Usually, the plaster is so crumbly that I take a big chunk of plaster down with me.  I have come to terms that this is just part of the process.  This time was no exception, but I will say that the chunks are getting smaller year after year.  In all seriousness, I am just happy that the entire ceiling doesn't collapse on my head!  It's that brittle.

After the cut, I put in this spanner bar between two of the ceiling rafters.

Basically,  you take just the bar, stuff it in the hole, then twist it until you get a bite on your ceiling framing

My ceiling rafters are between 19" and 26" (depending on amount of moonshine the guys who built this place consumed) and are true 2x3s of long leaf pine.  That is a lot of weight to be supported by undersized wood for over a hundred years; consequently, they sag a big.  I was concerned about this thing's ability to span and undetermined layout (I can't see into the hole-- the span might be too big!) and its overall ability to flush out with the ceiling, but things came out OK.

Brace bar installed. Notice aforementioned chunk of plaster missing from the 11 o'clock position of this hole.  That'll be at least four coats of joint compound

At some point, hopefully within my lifetime, I will have a light & ceiling fan hooked up in this bedroom.  So, I better wire a switch.  

Unfortunately, I still have to wire the 3-way in the hallway, and my only access to these wires are the original holes in the plaster for the switches on either side of the hall wall.  In short: my wiring work is not ready to wrap up in this room just yet.  Therefore, I am just going to wire a temporary switch for use while I work n this room.
More temporary wiring. Sigh.
Finalizing the wiring in the middle bedroom? Ha.  Maybe I should revise the title of this post.

Its only a matter of time until L&I gets a hold of this thing called the internet and reads my wildly popular blog
Notice the electrical box actually flushed out pretty well. I'm impressed considering the situation.


I will leave you with this: How will I ever make these walls look decent?

Spanish bombs over Andalucia?

Oh mi corazón, indeed.

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