How Do I Use a Wall Chaser?
A wall chaser is a power tool with twin blades that is designed to cut a narrow channel into brick, stone, or concrete.
They are mainly used by tradespeople such as electricians, plumbers, and anybody else installing pipes or wires into a wall. These wires and pipes go into the channel to be hidden from view.
Whether you are giving your own plumbing and electrics work a go or wish to chase a wall for tidy TV cables, security system wires or appliance power cables, a wall chaser will probably be needed.
In these instances, a wall chaser should be the tool of choice versus a reciprocating or masonry wall saw. This is because a wall chaser can cut narrower, neater gaps. You don’t want to remove too much plaster and brickwork; it will need to be filled over when the job is done.
They’re also much easier to use than a chisel and hammer, leaving a neater finish and able to cut to the necessary depth in one go.
How do I run electrical wiring in walls?
You should hire a wall chasing tool to cut a channel in the wall, to run the wires through from the source to the item needing power. Then, the channel is easily filled in again, covering the wires.
Often powered by an electric motor, wall chasing machines use two blades, or discs. They are positioned close together to cut into masonry and stonework.
Because the discs are close together, the resulting cut channel is narrow, suitable for wires and small pipes. You can usually adjust the channel width to make a thicker gap, however. The cuts are neat because the blades are equally spaced, giving a better result than a small masonry saw or angle grinder which could only make one cut at a time.
Some modern, higher-end wall chasers also have dust extraction functionality. So, when you’re cutting into the plaster, they collect any dust created, resulting in a much cleaner job.
How to use a wall chaser
Cutting into your wall can mean your cabling is neat and your home is safer if you have children and pets, but you need to take the necessary precautions first. Always wear the appropriate PPE:
- Dust mask
- Ear protection
You should also read the instructions and guidance which come with your wall chaser hire. Know how to set it up, how to get it working and how to stop it if needed.
You will need:
- Wall chaser
- Cable/live wire detector
- Plastic capping (optional)
- Dust removal tool (optional)
- Bonding plaster
Use the cable detector before undertaking masonry cutting. You need to be able to check for existing pipework or wiring which risks being cut. This includes water pipes and pipework for your central heating system – it isn’t always obvious where it goes through.
Step 1: Use the correct settings
Set the correct chase width by following the instructions on your particular model. For most, this involves removing the discs and changing the order of the discs and spacers. More spacers will mean wider cuts in the plaster or brick.
You also need to set the depth of the chase. This will depend on what you are hiding; a thin television cable won’t need as deep a cut as a pipe for a radiator or thermostat. You can usually easily set how much of the disc protrudes from the cowl (the carriage assembly which holds the blades and mechanisms together safely).
Step 2: Mark out the area
Mark out your chase using a pencil and a ruler. When you’re using the wall chaser, you need something to follow to ensure you stay on track. Most wall chasers have an LED laser light which shines in a straight line, allowing you to follow your pencil mark easier.
Use the cable detector to double-check your chosen area has no live cables or pipework.
Step 3: Place the chaser
Once you are set up, turn on the chaser. Plunge it into the wall at the start of the channel. Try to get it sunk into the wall ASAP, so the dust is collected straight away.
The cowl should have wheels or rollers to make it easy to push the chaser along the wall.
- SPEEDY TOP TIP: Wall chasers actually create so much more dust than you’d imagine possible. You may also want to hire a dust extraction unit if you’re doing a lot of chasing work
Step 4: Finish chasing
When the channel has been cut, turn the chaser off and remove it from the wall. You should be left with the deep-cut lines, but the part in the middle will still be there.
Step 5: Remove the remaining wall
If this is plaster, this can be done using a hammer and chisel. Put the blade into one of the slots and wriggle the chisel to try and break a chunk out of the gap. From then, you should easily be able to chisel the rest out.
A bolster chisel has a strong bevelled edge blade designed to cut through material with the help of a hammer or mallet.
Step 6: Place the wires
Once done, run the wires through the gap. If you may want to remove the wires at some point, you should use plastic capping. This is recommended for appliances especially.
Fill the gap in with some bonding plaster and filler. If you’re renovating a home or room, you should do chasing before re-plastering for ease.
How wide are wall chases?
Different models of wall chasers can cut different widths of a chase. Some will only cut 20mm or 30mm, and others will cut closer to or over 50mm.
Some offer adjustable blades, which means you can hire one standard machine and adapt it to your needs.
The really important factor is not how wide the chase is, but how deep the wall chase is. This is what could affect the stability of your wall. Chases should be no deeper than one-third of the wall thickness. A standard block is often 100mm and plaster can be an additional 10mm, so let’s say this is around 35mm maximum.
This is quite deep; there is a good chance you don’t need anything near this if you’re carrying out DIY.
How to reduce the amount of dust from wall chasing
Chasing walls and cutting into plaster can cause a lot of dust. To reduce this, hire a chaser which allows for connection to a dust extractor or dust collection bag. You may also be able to connect a vacuum cleaner to your chaser.
Failing this, open all windows to increase ventilation, close internal doors to contain dust, and vacuum really well after chasing. You may want to hire a dust extraction unit.
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Thank you for reading our Speedy Services blog. We hope you found this guide on using wall chasers helpful
There are plenty more tips and how-to guides on the website. Please visit our Skills and Projects page.
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