Remove old abandoned metal elec box

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I want to remove a single metal box from the wall of my hallway. There was a switch there that operated the light in the attic, it was higher up on the wall and unsightly. I am moving the wires and connections to another box on the other side of the walll (in a closet, with a blank cover), and putting a light with pull chain in the attic. I want to do as little damge to the wall as posible, then I'll repair the opening with wood and plaster. It looks like the box is nailed to a stud with two nails visible going through the box. What's the correct procedure?
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If you can't get a reciprocating saw to cut the nails off without damage, you may be able to center punch the nail heads and then carefully drill the heads of the nails off.
Good luck, and take your time.
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Oh, and grinding the nail heads off with a small bit is another option, assuming you have access to the heads.
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theparty wrote:

You already have a hole to repair, what's the difference it it's a couple inches bigger?
I presume "moving the wires and connections" means there will be no hidden connections left behind this existing wall...
--


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I've been able to demo boxes like this by (carefully) taking a small pry bar and BFH and taking the box apart inside the wall (generally those boxes are designed to be ganged, so they are made of several pieces. Sometimes the screws are even available from inside the box.) then removing the nails. I've had to do this at least twice in my house - once to remove a loose box and once because I was replacing a regular switch with a 3-way and needed to fish a new cable, and couldn't get through a fire stop without removing the box. In both instances I used an old work box in the same location, although since you're patching you don't even need to be so careful.
good luck
nate
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*I usually use a big screwdriver and wedge it between the box and the wood stud. Just apply a little force and rock the screwdriver forth and back. You should move the screwdriver, as the space opens up, closer to the point where each nail enters the wood. Sometimes I use my lineman's or my Knipex diagonals to cut the nails. Take your time and be careful to not damage the wires. If this is a wood lath and plaster wall it will be difficult to not cause damage to the plaster.
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Leave the box where it is. The box is below the surface of the plaster. Screw in a block of wood with some lath screen on the face and use this as support for your patch. Plan B would be to face the block with a chunk of sheetrock and use drywall compound for the patch material.
The real easy way would just be to install a blank plate over the box and leave it, it is in a hallway and people do not spend a lot of time staring at walls in hallways.
--
Roger Shoaf

If knowledge is power, and power corrupts, what does this say about the
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theparty wrote:

Nobody else said it, so I will- why bother moving the wires, if you are using a pull chain? The existing switch is probably just a switch leg, and you can pull it out of the box in the attic when you change the fixture. Then just pull out the old box and abandon the wire in place. Even if the light is powered through the switch, you can just put the new junction box in the attic. No need to disturb the closet wall at all.
-- aem sends...
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On Fri, 16 Oct 2009 09:48:15 -0700 (PDT), theparty

I like to use a hacksaw blade. To nake it a little more comfortable, fashion a duct-tape handle on one end. More important, make sure all wire connections are inside an electrical box.
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A ppull chain can be a hazard unless its reachable before your in the attic.
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Thanks - you just reminded me that I need to buy a new jab saw hacksaw blade holder. Damn cheap plastic thing must have been fifteen years old....okay, maybe it wasn't so cheap, and I'm sorry about the damn thing, too!
R
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RicodJour wrote:

I think you are talking about the tool I was going to mention, didn't know what it's name was. It's a handle to hold a hacksaw blade with the blade sticking out front. No duct tape needed. I keep one in the van toolbox and one in the garage toolbox.
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Mine broke, you have two. That's not right. Send me one and I'll forget your greediness. Deal? ;)
R
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You can easy make a handle for a hacksaw blade, (slot in a piece of wood and a bolt and nut) and even use a broken off blade if too deep a cut is a problem!
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terry wrote:

The tool is very inexpensive, and you can adjust the blade in or out as far as you want. You can use the part of the blade that sticks out the front, or you can use the part of the blade that is supported on both ends. Hell, you can even use the part of the blade that sticks out the back, if you have it adjusted that way.
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That sounds great! I'll email you my shipping address. Please send it Priority Mail as I am very eager to get it. Thanks.
R
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theparty had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-Remove-old-abandoned-metal-elec-box-401074-.htm : The OP returns:
All great replies. I posted the original question, so this is to let you know that I returned and did read all the suggestions, and now Ill be able to tackle the job. Responding to your suggestions, in order, to let you all know what Ive taken from this:
I cant get to the nail heads, but I will take my time. Im sure the opening will get larger, and there'll be no connections hidden in the wall; they WILL be in the new box. I dont think Ill be able to dismantle the old box, especially given the size of the nails in it now. Ill try prying the old box from the stud. I first considered leaving the old box and patching it over, but the new box will be right behind it - no room for two boxes opposite each other and no slack to move the wires far enough. The old wires are knob mounted and the hot continues through the box to a switch (in another box about 20 inches below this one) for the hallway light, so I cant easily abandon the wires. The attic light switch is exactly at eye level - I gotta remove the box! A hack saw blade is the answer; Ill open up the hole a little, pry the box from the stud a bit, then hack the nails and remove the box. If the wires wont catch it I might just drop it into the wall. The attic light is above the folding stairs, and the pull chain should be easily reachable when Im halfway up them, the roof is low. So: Ill look for a handle to hold a blade so I can hack the nails off and if I cant find a handle Ill fashion one of duct tape and stuff. Thanks!
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On Oct 19, 11:17am, rykirsch2_at_gmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (theparty) wrote:

dremel tool the nail heads off.
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Shhh! I want one of TONY's!! ;)
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Too late. All you are getting is duct tape. Worse yet, you get "Duck Tape" brand duct tape.
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