Saturday, November 25, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 21 - Dust Collector Closet - Table Saw Wiring

I don't remember what I was thinking when I had my table saw outlet first installed. The box is floating loose which isn't safe.

The power cord also stretches across the only way to get from the front of my shop to the back of my shop. Not only is this a tripping hazard but whenever I roll tools into the shop I have to unplug the saw to get them through. Now that I have the closet completed the best place for the power cord is on the other side of the saw on the exterior wall of the closet. That will keep the power cord under the table saw top extension and out from under foot.

When I designed my initial shop walls I thought I might be making more wiring changes to support new tools down the road. I wanted it to be as easy as possible to add new wiring. Since these walls aren't really load bearing - they aren't holding up the house anyway - I put a wide channel in the back of the studs and putting a plywood backer across it to staple wiring to. Covering all this I put a chair rail that can be removed easily to get to the wiring. To run the wiring to the other side of the shop I'd just need to remove the current box, take the existing wire and run it over one more stud bay and then up to the ceiling. From there I could install a junction box, run a new wire across the floor joists, down the closet wall and into a new box.

Seems simple enough, right? Well, my plan did work out; however, there were a few challenges along the way.

The first challenge was getting the current wire loose. My electrician had done a very quality job putting the wiring in and had stapled the existing wire to the stud. I was going to have to remove the T1-11 panel below the chair rail to get the wire loose. Fortunately I'd used deck screws to put up the T1-11 so it was just an issue of pulling a dozen or so screws that had been painted over.  Unfortunately after pulling the screw I realized both sides were trapped. The right side by the adjacent T1-11 paneling the left side by trim around my water closet(*).

The T1-11 came out with a little flexing of the panel, some prying and a lot of grunting.

With the panel removed getting the wire loose and into the next stud bay was easy. Getting it through the top plate a little less so. There was barely enough room to get a drill and a spade bit between it and the floor above. It wasn't pretty but I got the hole drilled.

With the hole drilled I used my wire fish to pull the wire up through the hole and into the junction box I'd fastened to the floor joist.

The closet side was much easier since the wall cavity was still open. I could get to the bottom of the top plate and drill a hole up through it. Then it was just a matter of running a wire from the box through up the wall and through the hole and then across the floor joists to the junction box.

All that was left was tying it all together, black to black, white to white, ground to ground.

(*) My water closet isn't a water closet in the British sense. The main water line for my house comes in through my workshop. Since I really don't want to break it by accident and flood my workshop. That would be unfortunate. I built a closet around the pipes to protect them.

[I did this work back in May...  Just getting back to blogging and found this one unpublished in my queue.]