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Thread: Shallow Wall Cavity for Junction Boxes, Cut Back of Boxes or Surface Mount?

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Default Shallow Wall Cavity for Junction Boxes, Cut Back of Boxes or Surface Mount?

    Hello,
    I need to install a few junction boxes in an old home. I've tried to use the standard old-work boxes, but they are too deep.

    I've considered cutting the back of the box, but not sure if this is acceptable. I'm also wondering if there is a decorative surface mount box available?

    Thanks in Advance!
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    No, the whole idea of the box is that it is enclosed when the cover is on...cutting the back off defeats that purpose. I've seen (and used) some shallow boxes. Keep in mind they limit considerably what you can put in them both in devices and cables.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    I was considering modifying a box by drilling two holes in the bottom for romex connectors. This would allow me to bring the wires into the box from a location other than the back of the box. I could then make a new back for the box that could be held on by a couple of small bolts and washers.
    I can't seem to find a shallow box elsewhere so am considering options.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Another option is a surface-mount box extender like a leviton 6197

    http://www.levitonproducts.com/catalog/model_6197.htm

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    The problem is depth of the conventional boxes. When they go into the wall they hit studs, or sheathing. I only want to join two pieces of 12-2 together so don't need much space.

    This does raise the question about the amount of open space in the plastic boxes around where the wires enter the box. The plastic tabs leave quite a bit of open space once the wire is pushed into the box, which makes me wonder what the problem is with not having a back on the box?
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
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    Electrician ActionDave's Avatar
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    How deep is the cavity? A shallow 1900 box, also called a four square, is only 1 1/8" deep. You could also surface mount it, or come in the back of a wire mold box.

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    Licensed Electrical Contractor Speedy Petey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molo View Post
    The problem is depth of the conventional boxes.
    There is no "conventional" box. Cut-in boxes come in all differeent depths.



    Quote Originally Posted by molo View Post
    This does raise the question about the amount of open space in the plastic boxes around where the wires enter the box. The plastic tabs leave quite a bit of open space once the wire is pushed into the box, which makes me wonder what the problem is with not having a back on the box?
    PLEASE stop wondering this. You are questioning 125 years of code changes. The box needs to be in tact for a reason!



    Quote Originally Posted by molo View Post
    I was considering modifying a box by drilling two holes in the bottom for romex connectors. This would allow me to bring the wires into the box from a location other than the back of the box.
    WHY are you coming into the back of the box? NM cables enter the bottom of every plastic cut-in I have ever used.


    May I ask why you have to splice these cables in a finished wall???

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    How deep is the cavity? A shallow 1900 box, also called a four square, is only 1 1/8" deep. You could also surface mount it, or come in the back of a wire mold box.
    Thanks Dave,
    I'll look for those boxes.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
    Gore Vidal.

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    DIY Senior Member Homeownerinburb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molo View Post
    I only want to join two pieces of 12-2 together so don't need much space.
    You do not need boxes to splice NM.

    There are recently approved spice devices that cost about $6. They have a pretty solid grip on the cable such that the join is not going to be pulled apart, which is the key reason that just wire nutting in a wall cavity is illegal.

    And just how deep is the wall void that you are working with?

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    IBEW Electrician big2bird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeownerinburb View Post
    You do not need boxes to splice NM.

    There are recently approved spice devices that cost about $6. They have a pretty solid grip on the cable such that the join is not going to be pulled apart, which is the key reason that just wire nutting in a wall cavity is illegal.
    Do you have a link for this item?

  11. #11
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big2bird View Post
    Do you have a link for this item?
    http://www.homedepot.com/buy/tyco-el...1116377-2.html

    but remember that it has to be accessible

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    quote; remember that it has to be accessible

    ANd the easiest way to make it "accessible" is to make the connection in a box. So he is back to his original question, and the answer is a shallow box, but since an "old work box" with toggles does not come in a shallow pattern, he needs the sheet metal "T" grips that fit into the opening on either side of the box, then bend around the side edges to hold it in place.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Senior Member molo's Avatar
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    The local hardware has a plastic box that is only 1" deep. It has a knockout on the top and bottom. It doesn't have the screw-tightened tabs that the "old-work" boxes do.
    "Any American who is prepared to run for President should automatically, by definition, be disqualified from ever doing so."
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    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    You may not think you need that much room but the required space is specified by the electrical code. For 2 12-2 cables without a device you need at least 5*2.25 cubic inches. with a device you need at least 7*2.25.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I'd be curious to see what you are working on, as all the old houses around here used "real" 2"x4" studs with lath and plaster walls. There is just as much space inside those walls as are found in most new construction today. Maybe it's just a matter of putting the box somewhere other than the exact location that you have looked at.

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