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I am pretty much a computer/AV geek, but I've not had any reason to date to get involved with the more mundane task of making these things LOOK good while doing their jobs. My wife would like things to a look a little nicer in the living room where I have exposed cabling all over the place, and I would like to have some equipment to make running whole house ethernet feasible. I also have 2 businesses where I occasionally need to run cabling in a drop ceiling and down into some non-insulated drywall. What tools (basic stuff as well as specialized) can you not live with out?
 

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I purchased the fiberglass sticks that you screw together that has an eye for the cable to attach to several months ago. I have to run coax down the wall that has insulation inside of the wall. I also bought some holesaw bits to drill down a hole between the wall up in the attic. It makes it easy using a hammer drill with a 2 inch holesaw bit. I told my wife several months back that I needed a Dewalt tool set for around the house maintenance issues. She said ok and I bought the 6 piece set that included Hammer drill, impact drill, circular saw, grinder, reciprocating saw, light and extra battery. I only had cheap tools before and was excited when I got this set. It makes it easy cutting in drywall etc... I always have a clean install(no wires showing) in all my rooms. It's hard work but well worth it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd72667
...2 inch holesaw bit
2" hole saw and a hammer drill to run coax? Now that is overkill unless you are running a huge bundle! All you need is something like a 3/8" auger bit and a normal drill to run a single cable. I cannot imagine needing anything larger than 1" for any given run except an equipment closet. Anyway, the bit needs to be long enough to get through the double top plate (3" of wood, sometimes more) common in residential construction in the USA if you are running cable from the attic.


Best thing I ever saw for running cable over drop ceiling was a remote controlled toy tank to run a pull string for the cable. Toy bow and arrow works, too.


Fish sticks, as mentioned above, or improvised equivalents are almost a necessity for running cable in insulated walls. Fish tape may be useful at times. You may need a long (several feet) drill bit if there is fire blocking in the wall unless you want to cut drywall.


Interior walls are usually a snap if you have attic access. Just drill a hole in the top plate. Cut a hole in the dry wall for a box or low voltage ring. Feed the cable into the cavity. Use a piece of wire coat hanger to fish the cable out of the wall.
 

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Fiberglass sticks and auger bits will be your go-to tools. Forstner bits can also be handy at times. If it's an interior wall you can even use a weight on a string to drop in the cavity. Stay away from a hole saw. 1" is good for a small bundle of cable, but know where you're drilling and if it's a load-bearing wall. The only reason to go bigger is if you are running some type of terminated cable.
 

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Fish stix are a must and usually can replace a steel fish tape. I like the glow-in-the-dark ones.


If you have the time, only buy what you need, when you need it.


Flexibit is a brand name of the 5' long bits, get the one with the screw/auger tip, if you find the need for one (fire stop).



Keyhole saw is a must. I should have bought one that folds, as I store it in my utility bag.


Electrical tape, for attaching cable to the end of the glass rod, and for extending the glass rods using 2 sets that don't match.


Cheap headlamp is helpful. Another pair of hands is extremely useful. Charged 2nd drill battery is a must. Sharp utility knife for cutting the caulk between the baseboard and wall. Level may be useful, but I always eyeball for wallplates (I don't want it level, I want to match what's there perfectly).


Small ball of pull string.


I've used a hole saw for conduit, and for looking through attic flooring, to see the top plate that I need to drill through (joists resting on top plate, floor on joists).



I like to use lathe screws (broad head) to secure D-shaped PVC brackets, designed for conduit but good for cables. I keep cables off the attic floor, attach them to the attic wall/ceiling with the brackets.



Wasp spray for attics. I do most attic work in the winter, to avoid them. Roof nails are sharp, I've read of some people using a helmet. Tuck tape for vapor barrier (exterior wall work) penetrations.
 

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Utility bag, with a shoulder strap.



Lineman's pliers are awesome.



More than 1 flashlight.


3 Inch Phillips #2 screwdriver bit for the drill has been invaluable for tight spots.



Measuring tape.


3+ rolls of the electrical tape.


Screwdriver with reversible bit.



Multifunction pry bar for removing baseboards neatly; I use this one by Stanley.



Phone number of a good and cheap drywall guy.
 

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I have both steel and nylon fish tapes. The nylon is round and will stay straight for a longer distance than a steel tape. There are a couple companies selling pull string sling shots. You shoot a line through a ceiling/attic using a slingshot with a fast delivery spool of string with a small weight on the end or a couple even use an attached fishing line reel.


For one long shot high in an industrial truss ceiling, I used a 3/4" jetline pack (usually sucked through a conduit using a vacuum)with a small weight glued to the end. This was fired from a piece of 1/2" conduit 4 ft long and pressurized with a CO2 extinguisher. Spanned about 150 ft in the first shot.


For dropping lines inside sheetrock wall, I use a long length of steel ball drain chain with a 1 oz. blunted (rounded) lead fishing weight on the end. It will slide easily between fiberglass insulation and the sheetrock, fall readily to the bottom and being steel, it is easy to catch with a magnet or the usual wire hook.


Another big help is a flexible flashlight. Mine has a bendable 6" fiber optic bundle and is great for tight weird spaces.


Lastly is a battery operated flexible shaft inspection camera.
 

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When I was in the business I had an old gastroscope, it worked great for looking into walls to see what the fishtape was hanging up on.
 

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Yeah the fiberglass stick (u need 2 to do standard 8'+ rooms) will help you run cables in drywalls wo breaking the whole wall. I bought mine even before I had any use for them because once I saw my cable guy use it and it was so cool.


To cut a perfect rectangular hole in the sheetrock I couldn't do wo my handheld router. A dremel-like tool should work too with a router bit, but the dremel's "said to work on drywall" bit is a P-O-S, don't buy it. Some people say just use a utility knife but to me that just takes too long, am impatient. An handheld router is a versatile tool for other uses so you are not buying a use-once specialty tool.
 

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Gizmologist - 150 feet! Holy crap!


I've used the fiberglass rods almost exclusively, in my home - haven't had the need for a weight/chain. The weight/chain might be difficult if maneuvering between taught vapor barrier and drywall, might not be an issue for you, depending on where you live.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb /forum/post/20904699


To cut a perfect rectangular hole in the sheetrock I couldn't do wo my handheld router. A dremel-like tool should work too with a router bit, but the dremel's "said to work on drywall" bit is a P-O-S, don't buy it. Some people say just use a utility knife but to me that just takes too long, am impatient. An handheld router is a versatile tool for other uses so you are not buying a use-once specialty tool.

Unless I'm in total construction mode I just can't bring myself to use any power tools in a finished room for sheetrock. I just hate the thought of that stuff flying around and sticking to everything. Keyhole saw all the way. I don't like the razor knife method either.
 

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Fiberglass fish sticks are great for straight shots, but nothing beats a steel fish tape. The main draw backs to sticks is their lack of flexibility - but it makes them excellent for long straight runs. I once fished a cable from 1 end of a townhouse to the other through the party wall with 2 packs of fish sticks, nearly 60'.


Use the curl of the fish tape to your advantage, or feed a lot into a wall space and let it 'snap'.


Good luck and happy fishing!
 

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I hate steel fish tape. Twice now I've had to cut it, when it snagged and knotted.


I can manipulate a catheter from a groin artery into a person's upper neck with aplomb, but without imaging guidance it's a crapshoot. I've NEVER knotted a catheter, but that fish tape kills me. I'll take the relatively flexible fiberglass rods whenever I can. LSDI just needs to manufacture rods with a curved end, one that you can steer, and it will be the end of fish tapes.


If you must use a steel fish tape, add a broad, gentle 3 foot bend to the end to help with steering. That's in addition to the tight curve at the very tip that you usually cover with electrical tape.
 

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I also sometimes get to use conduit so i have a steel tape with a spring leader which just glides around bends and almost never sticks.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm /forum/post/20903757


2" hole saw and a hammer drill to run coax? Now that is overkill unless you are running a huge bundle! All you need is something like a 3/8" auger bit and a normal drill to run a single cable. I cannot imagine needing anything larger than 1" for any given run except an equipment closet. Anyway, the bit needs to be long enough to get through the double top plate (3" of wood, sometimes more) common in residential construction in the USA if you are running cable from the attic.


Best thing I ever saw for running cable over drop ceiling was a remote controlled toy tank to run a pull string for the cable. Toy bow and arrow works, too.


Fish sticks, as mentioned above, or improvised equivalents are almost a necessity for running cable in insulated walls. Fish tape may be useful at times. You may need a long (several feet) drill bit if there is fire blocking in the wall unless you want to cut drywall.


Interior walls are usually a snap if you have attic access. Just drill a hole in the top plate. Cut a hole in the dry wall for a box or low voltage ring. Feed the cable into the cavity. Use a piece of wire coat hanger to fish the cable out of the wall.

I use 1" and 2" holesaw bits. I always make a large hole for coax, ethernet, and to run HDMI for home automation. I always make sure I have enough room for future cable runs.
 

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Check out LSD (no, not the drug). They have almost everything for cable pulling, etc. Labor Saving Devices .


Some of their cooler items:



Wet Noodle - Magnetic In-Wall Retrieval System



The Original Sling-A-Line - Span Caster



Wall-Eye Scope - Lighted In-Wall Viewing Scope
 

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Hey perhaps this is the perfect thread to ask this, specially for u guys who do this for a living:


I buy a house, there is bunch of old wires (looks like for alarm) and a thermostat wire that's cut (mad foreclosure) so I have no idea where the wire(s) go. I ask the real estate agent, Does the City Keeps a Record of the Wiring for The House? (my first house, what do I know) The Agent chuckles and says NO. I thought Oh Great, what kind of system we live in, we have to get permit for everything yet I can't get a wiring diagram for the house? Unbelievable for me first time home buyer.


Anywhoo, is there is tool, an x-ray service (am willing to pay) that will show me where all the wires begin and end? Extra point also where the water pipes located, gas lines etc.


Yeah, you laughing already.
 
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