After 20 years in construction, Dan Groot had grown tired of crawling up into attics to pinpoint the exact spot to drill a hole for fishing wire down through the walls. During sweltering Florida summers, temperatures in these spaces can climb to well over 130°F. Groot thought that there had to be an easier way to do this work, so he invented a faster and easier way to fish wire, coaxial cable, or copper tubing through wall cavities. Rather than drilling from the outside in, he developed a way for electricians to drill from the inside out.
During residential retrofit and new construction projects, electricians often have to remove sections of drywall or damage it when routing new cables. Each time an electrician damages the drywall, the electrical contracting company is typically responsible for covering the expense of the drywall repair, which can cost anywhere from about $75 to $100. The Wall Weasel reduces the possibility of drywall damage, thus saving the contracting firm both time and money.
D'Andrea Electric Corp., a Largo, Fla.-based electrical contracting firm, purchased a Wall Weasel to help solve this problem. Mark Tertel, warehouse manager for D'Andrea Electric, says drywall damage typically happens twice on every house his company works on. When an electrician damages the drywall, the general superintendent often brings in a professional drywaller to clean up the hole, replace the drywall, retape it, refinish it, and retexture it. A painter then has to come back on a separate visit to repaint the wall.
“Most electricians make a hole in drywall with a knife or a hammer, and that makes the drywall that much harder to repair,” Tertel says. “The money that it was costing in punch-out to have the drywall and the paint redone was a very healthy backcharge.”
By using the Wall Weasel, electricians can thread the cable through obstructions like insulation and bore through blocks behind the wall with a block boring attachment.
“Now that we can go through the fire block and the top plate, we're cutting the time to feed the wire from point A to point B at least in half,” Tertel says.
The Wall Weasel kit comes with everything needed to fish wire for light switches and has extensions for floor outlets. It also contains a drywall protector, two Allen wrenches, thread protectors, a removal tool, nails, a quick connector, a locking collar, lead screw, screw shaft, drill shaft, and a roll pin tool.
To operate the device, an electrician places the wall protector in the desired location and cuts out the opening. The tubing is then inserted into the hole and pushed up until it contacts the top plate, and the screw shaft is inserted to activate the locking head. The electrician then installs the drill shaft assembly, connects the drill motor, and drills the hole. Finally, the cable is inserted into the tubing and pushed up through the drilled hole, where it can be hooked from above and pulled up to the desired location.
For more information about the Wall Weasel, visit www.thewallfish.com.
The drywall protector plate and template is 6 inches by 8 inches and weighs 1 lb. It protects the drywall opening for a standard 2.25-inch by 3.75- inch outlet box and works with 0.375-inch, 0.5-inch, and 0.625-inch drywall.
The main tool with locking head weighs 1.25 lb and measures 53.5 inches long. It's designed for a light switch on an 8-foot wall 46.5 inches to center from the floor. It's constructed of poly pipe with a knurled threaded connector.
The hardened steel shaft with screw/bearing activator for locking head weighs 4 lb and measures 56 inches long.
The hardened steel drill shaft weighs 0.75 lb and is 59.5 inches long. The drill bit is also hardened steel and drills a 0.56-inch diameter hole.
The hardened steel 2-foot extension weighs 0.625 lb and is 25 inches long. It comes with the poly pipe outer tubing threaded on both ends with a knurled threaded connector on one end.
The hardened steel lower outlet extension weighs 0.75 lb and is 32.5 inches long. The lower outlet extension is used with the main tool for a lower outlet 14.5 inches to center from the floor on an 8-foot wall, or with the 2-foot extension for a lower outlet on a 10-foot wall.
The block boring attachment is made of hardened tool steel and poly pipe. It houses a total of five bearings: two single directional roller clutch bearings and three thrust bearings. It uses a carbide tooth hole saw.