Running Romex in non-standard construction

Folks:
My house is balloon-framed, clapboards on the outside, sheathing on the *inside* of 1" boards, which are furred with laths, then covered with wood lath and plaster. Partition walls have 2 x 4 studs set flat and covered with lath and plaster on both sides, giving about a 1 5/8" wide cavity. Fishing vertical runs of cable is NO problem with the balloon framing as long as you don't hit a window, and as long as you don't snag the cable on the shingle nails that bristle from the clapboards (wood shingles were added at some point). I used MC to deal with those nails. Let's not forget that the lath and plaster is old and inclined to crumble, and the walls are full of that awful blown-in cellulose insulation.
Now, here are my problems.
1. After cutting a hole in a side wall, I have 2" from the wall surface to the studs. Attempting to cut 2" from the wall below the baseboard to drill the studs involves a huge mess, and seems unnecessary, given the depth. Anything unworkmanlike about cutting slots over each stud, running the cable up and over the stud, protected by nail plates? Fishing wires up to the attic and back down involves at least 18' of cable for each outlet, and that adds up to excessive voltage drop. I don't really want baseboard outlets, either, nor do I want to demolish any more of that ancient plaster than I have to...breaks tend to cause more breaks and soon you have a huge unstable wall which was perfectly solid before.
2. The partition wall depth is no problem since I use 4S boxes with mud rings everywhere, but since I will need nail plates anyway, I plan to just notch the studs and run the cables through the notches. I don't really like doing this; I'd prefer to drill or fish.
Has anybody else worked on a house built this way? It seems to be rather common in old places around here.
Cordially yours: A. P. M. F.
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I'd personally put a romex run in the attic, with J boxes above where each (or pair of or whatever) outlet is, and fish a single run of MC down to the outlet/switches. Use Romex in the attic, MC in the drops. About 7-8' of MC per drop. Rest is cheap romex.
It may cost a little extra in boxes (but could be cheaper MC vs romex), but it's much simpler, and the inspector should be okay with it given you're trying to avoid mucking with the plaster - as long as you do a good/neat job of it, and the boxes are reasonably accessible.
I did this in similar situations:
Once where the walls were drywall->1x strapping->heavy masonry. The boxes were in the basement, the MC runs were about 2' each. I think we computed it was cheaper than horizontal wiring with MC even including the J boxes.
T'other where the inspector suggested bare romex in the ceiling, and J-boxes feeding romex sleeved in vertical runs of surface mounted PVC conduit for the switches and outlets.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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