what are some ways to fish wires through walls?

Hi, I've got a fish tape and I sometimes use a piece of string with a fishing weight on the end of it and hook it with a piece of bailing wire. I'm curious, what are some other ways to fish wires through walls?
Obviously if you have a full attic with great access, no insulation, and you are installing a 3 gang box in a wall, it's pretty straightforward in most cases.
But sometimes I'm running audio or antenna wires, the customer doesn't want an opening that would require a single gang plate, and all I've got to work with is 1 1/2 inch hole in the sheetrock to try and catch the wire/tape/string/whatever that I dropped down from the attic or pushed up from the crawl space.
What are some of the tricks/techniques that you all use?
What are some of the tools that you all use?
Anybody have links to any not well known tools that work well for them?
Thanks!
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autonut843 wrote:

Should get you started: http://www.sandman.com/install.html http://www.bamanufacturing.com/fg_series.html http://www.cmh.net/catalog/Tools_WireInstallationAids.html
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Greenlee makes 54" long drill bits that are somewhat flexible. They have a holder that allows you to steer it in the wall. When the drill bit gets to the area you need it, a special puller harness attachs to the point of the drill. As you pull the drill back, your wire follows it.
Dennis
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single gang is smallest hole I will work in. then plug hole with retro box and cover plate, can't see how that would be aproblem. I'd have to charge extra for anything smaller.

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autonut843 wrote:

I sometimes knock a bigger hole in the wall behind to work thru, and patch it when I'm done.
Bob
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autonut843 wrote:

I worked out a little trick to stick cable through a wall, not down inside. Just drilled small holse, fed a narrow, stiff (but flexible) plastic tubing through it and then threaded wire through the tubing. Removed the tubing from inside when the wire was in. with right length of tubing, you may be able to insert your wire and then guide it to the point where you have opened the wall?
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Here's a tip a central vac installer gave me a few years back. When you're working in a basement or crawl space and need to drill up into a wall partition, especially when you're snaking low voltage and can only cut a small hole in the wall, it helps to have a good reference point. Sometimes you can measure off of a pipe or duct, but when nothing is in the area, you can take one of those 16 inch wires used to hold up fiberglass insulation, cut the end at a 45 degree angle with a linesman pliers, and drill it right through hardwood floors, joists, etc. It leaves such a small hole, it's not even noticed, and give you an excellent point of reference for finding the partition wall

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RBM (remove this) wrote:

That is a good trick. Thanks.
R
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Tie it to the tail of a fish and fill the wall with water.
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wrote: <snip>

Parts express has some good tools. I especially like the sling-a-line.
Here's an article on their site with techniques for various situations:
http://www.partsexpress.com/pdf/362-640.pdf
HTH,
Paul
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Go to Home Depot and get some "fish stix". They're fiberglass poles that screw together and are flexible yet quite strong, allowing you to push as well as pull a wire through. Some glow in the dark.
I've also seen some people use radio-controlled toy cars to pull speaker or alarm wires across a suspended ceiling.
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I can't take credit for this b/c a friend showed it to me. But in a small hole, push a steel measuring tape in and it will conform to the space between the studs, then drop the wire and pull the tape out, it will capture the wire (like a lasso) and bring it out.

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truce wrote:

That guy is a genius!
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wrote:

Use a short piece of steel chain instead of the fishing weight. It will be easier to hook and you can also grab it with a magnetic retriever.
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That is a great idea, thanks!
People are always amazed when I use a powerful hard disk drive magnet to find studs. For me it works quicker than my good Zircon stud sensor which also works well.. If you have an old hard drive to scrap, get the VCM (voice coil motor) magnet out of it. Basically I gently hold it and rub it lightly along the wall/ceiling, it gets pulled out of my hand and sticks to the nail head. Using the magnet to grab the chain in the wall space is another great use for it. Anybody else have another great use for magnets in their toolbox?
The steel tape idea is great too. Hey, I may be able to combine the two by dangling a magnet that will stick to the steel tape. unless there is steel conduit, etc. in the wall opening....
Thanks for these great ideas
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