Monday, 25 April 2011

Room Number 2

With the front lounge 90% done, I've moved onto the small bedroom, although we use this as an office as it's only a box room size. The odd picture you see on the left is actually a hole in the ceiling. This room had two recessed down lighters, at 100W each ensured it was quite bright! These had to go, so after I took them out I screwed a piece of marine ply to the rafters above each hole, then filled the holes with plasterboard cut to size.

Once the plasterboard was just a centimetre shy of the celing, I skimmed over with undercoat plaster, then top coat. I hate plastering, although I'm slowly getting better I always manage to get everything covered in it. Plus I always fanny around with it trying to get it smooth and making it worse.

Typically as it seems it will be the case in every room in this house, as soon as I took the coving down, half the bloody wall came with it. This is above the window, so I've patched it up with more plasterboard ready to have a plaster skim over it. Fortunately there's a wooden beam behind the plasterboard which made it easy to screw into. Plus, it means we'll have something to attach the curtain rail to when it finally goes back up again.

As this room is going to be our office, with a PC, printer, external hard drives etc Each wanting a 13 amp socket, the two double sockets that were in there on the wrong side of the room had to go, to be replaced with a 'few' more. Now I know this looks excessive, but experience shows me they will all be used! The single hole is for a PC LAN socket

I've become (not surprisingly) a bit of an expert at chiselling out holes for sockets, especially since I discovered the world's most useful power tool. It's a Fein Multimaster, it's similar to a tool that Doctors use to cut of plastered limbs! You can attach all sorts of blades, knives and sanding pads. I do have a circular diamond edged blade for cutting plaster and light bricks, but I've found that isn't that good for cutting out square or rectangular holes.

So I've used an old metal/wood blade that's gone blunt, and using an angle grinder have cut some teeth into it. These are eventually worn down, but when they are I just cut a few more teeth!
The blade itself vibrates very quickly from side to side and becomes a bit of a blur, but as it's not moving that far it doesn't create much dust which makes it ideal for chopping out holes for sockets.

I used to cut out boxes and cable channels using a mixture of a angle grinder with a stone blade, and a hammer drill making lots of rows of holes, this way you still need to chisel the middle out, but it makes the edges perfect and the whole thing is quicker.

As it's a 1920's model our house has got quite deep skirting board which makes channeling out behind them to insert conduit a bit of a challenge, so the best method I've come up with so far is to use a very long drill bit. Any shorter doesn't reach and the angle means you end up in the middle of a brick, instead of just behind the skirting! One other annoyance is most of the floorboards run under the skirting too whick makes them difficult to get up, so I end up drilling straight through them.

One other tip I've found really useful, as the drilled hole for the conduit is never completely in line to the hole in the box. The white plastic oval conduit I'm using can be easily bent under boiling water from a kettle, and once it cools it holds the new shape. As long as you don't bend it too far so the cables won't get through.

These two pictures show the boxes with their undercoat plaster set, ready to recieve the top-coat.

This is the box for the light switch. As I'm using buttons the boxes need to be the 47mm type, so when I removed the shallow box that was there before, quite a lot of the surrounding plaster came off with it. It's an old house and the plaster is a bit crumbly now.

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