That’ll Hold ’em

That’ll Hold ‘Em

I have had my share of run-ins with different trades working on the same job.  For some reason electrical boxes prove to be invisible to sheet rockers.  I have been on jobs where more than one electrical box, installed at electrical rough-in, was subsequently covered by sheetrock.  In commercial jobs they can be covered by two layers of sheet rock.

Today a “tick-tracer” can be used to find a box.  Just power up the circuit and go find the hidden box by the live electricity behind the blank wall.  However, before tick-tracers were invented you could get close to the area by holding a straight edge against the wall and looking for a slight bulge.

On a job in Glasgow, Montana we were working on a three story hotel.  When we came back to do finish work on the first floor the boxes were covered and we complained to the sheetrockers.

When they rocked the second floor they went back and cut open the boxes for us.  They didn’t cut around the outside of the box.  The cuts were on the inside of the box footprint.  That did two things.  It left the sheetrock bulged out at the box location due to being hung up on the outside edge; and it chopped up the insulation on the wiring inside the box, leaving us to repair the damage to the wiring.

On the third floor when we finished the rough-in I left the power on to the circuits when we left.  When the sheetrockers started cutting into the live wires, the live circuits burned the dickens out of their saw blades.

The carpenters and sheetrockers were not all that happy with us but it was the last floor and we all lived through it.

Another thing I have run into with the guys that do taping and mudding is an electrical box full of plaster.  When perf-a-taping a joint if they had too much plaster they sometimes filled our boxes with it.

One of the men I worked with returned to a job to put in the switches and receptacles to find that all the openings in the kitchen had been filled with plaster.  The tapers (we called them “mudders”) had plugged our boxes and finished the walls so that the boxes couldn’t be found.

The electrician complained to the mudders and their reply was “That’s your problem.  You find them.”  So the electrician took a hammer and started down a horizontal pathway where the boxes should have been, pounding holes in the sheetrock.

The mudders came in screaming; “What are you doing?”

He replied; “You covered them, I’m finding them.”

I thought they were going to kill him.  But it did a good job of adjusting attitudes.

By the way – the electrician’s name was Buster.