I have an old house with wood lath and plaster walls, and I need to cut out a lot holes in the walls for light switches, electrical outlet receptacles, etc.
Here is what I am doing now, and here is what the problem is:
I am just cutting them out by hand, one-by-one, using hand-held wallboard saws, etc. The problem is that it is hard to keep the underlying wood lath from vibrating and causing a wider area of plaster to crack and break out. I have tried making sure each hole is adjacent to one of the studs so at least one side of the hole has wood lath that is nailed down to the adjacent stud. And, I have tried being very careful, cutting out a little, reaching in to hold the rest of the wood lath stable, and then carefully cutting the wood lath. But it is still a mess, doesn't work very well, and takes a long time for each hole.
I don't think using any kind of powered reciprocating saw or saws-all would help and probably would only make the lath vibrate more and damage a wider area of plaster than using the by-hand method.
The problem seems to be the reciprocating action of the saws, so I keep thinking there ought to be some kind of small circular saw that could be used and plunged into the wall to cut the lath without vibrating it back and forth. But I don't have, and haven't seen, a circular-type saw that would be small enough to do this.
I have thought about buying one of those drill bits that supposedly can saw sideways to cut holes in walls (which I saw on TV), but I haven't found anything like that in any stores and I have a hunch they don't work anyway (which is probably why they are only on TV).
So what the heck do professional electricians do? I keep thinking they must have a tool or know of a trick to make this easy, especially since they don't want to damage their customers' walls when putting in new outlets, etc.
Any ideas? Thanks.