Plaster/Skim removal from Socket/switch boxes

I have had some awful plasterers who had plastered over all my sockets and switches. I have my Electrician comming in this week for 2nd fixing and I need to to cut out the holes square and neat. Are there any spcial ways in which to do this neatly and squsre without over damaginf the surrounding plaster? Not no stud walls all solid brick. I have to do this to about a 150 points and need some easy and neat manner . Dont mind buying some reasonable tool etc?
Any advice.
Yaz
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Do you really mean plasterers or drywall finishers?
Which ever, I would get them back and tell them to clean up the mess or they don't get paid.
If it IS plaster, (now days?) you stand a good chance of breaking back too far and it will need to be patched anyway. Usually drywall tapers get a little sloppy but a good drywall knife will cut it back easily.
Electricians are used to that and just cut it back as needed so maybe you don't even have a problem.

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Yaz wrote:

Any advice what? ;)
All contractors make more work for you, even the ones that are very neat, but it's another thing for a contractor to make more work for you or someone else needlessly. Cleaning out the boxes while the plaster is relatively fresh takes far less time and it should be part of the plasterer's usual procedure. For that reason alone, I wouldn't do the clean up - I'd make the plasterer clean up after himself.
Call the plasterer and ask him to clean them out. If there's any resistance, inform him that the electrician offered to clean out the boxes at _cost_ and bill the plasterer, but you'd prefer that the plasterer take care of the trimming himself so you wouldn't have to get in between the two contractors.
It's also possible that the situation is not as bad as it appears and that the electrician would clean the excess off in the normal course of events - with some grumbling.
If you decide to do it yourself, and depending on a bunch of factors, you may be able to cut it back with a sharpened slotted screwdriver, if you Goetz the idea, and use it as a chisel. The smaller cut will prevent any big chunks of plaster from being blown out. You'll be cutting around a box and that will act as your guide - position the chisel against the plaster directly over the edge of the box and keep the chisel square. A few taps and you'll know right away how fast it will go.
There are rotary tools, such as Rotozip, with bits meant to cut plaster and drywall. They make a hellacious amount of dust and noise but it leaves a cleaner cut. Another tool would be the vibratory detail sanders. With the correct cutting blade it will leave the cleanest cut and with less dust (still have a vacuum sucking up the dust as you do it, if you do it). Since your cut edges will be covered with plates you don't need the cleanest cut. Don't obsess about it. You really just need clear boxes for the electrician to work.
R
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One note, if it IS plaster and you get in there with a rotary tool, you're probably going to skin a lot of wires stuffed into the box and then you Really have problems.

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Glenn wrote:

No different than using the Rotozip (or approved equal) to cut openings after hanging drywall. The rough wiring is in place and it's just pushed to the back of the box. Adjust to the right bit depth and it's all good. I hate the suckers due to the dust and the noise - it wouldn't be my first, or second, choice.
R
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Glenn wrote:

Another issue you may have if this _is_ actually plaster is the veneer plaster is very hard. When it fills the holes in the boxes it can be very difficult to clear. If you dont get it all out the likely result is the device mounting screws snapping off on trimout then your basically screwed. We usually plug the holes at rough-in with duct seal to eliminate the problem but if the holes are filled with plaster they will likely have to be cleared by some means. A small drill bit can work as long as you dont wipe out the threads while your at it. There are also small screwdriver type taps available at the electrical supply for clearing these holes however they are also prone to snapping in the filled holes and clearing a broken tap is harder than clearing the plaster. Simply getting a hole started with an awl and cranking the screw in is a recipe for disaster.
Where you have 150 of these to do I would personally opt for the router option if you cant simply knock the plaster out of the boxes with a hammer and screwdriver as Rico said. Generally the box itself creates a fracture point in the plaster where it will simply crack free with a little persuasion. Veneer plaster is very rugged over substrate, which is why its the best, so it can take a good amount of abuse. When its just piled up in the box or the flash is hanging over the edges its fragile and normally cracks away quite easily.
Mark
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