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A fiberglass fish rod is used here to fish a Type NM-B cable through a ceiling.

Wire Pulling Using Coat Hangers, Fish Tapes, Rods

Dear Mr. Electrician: How do I fish wires in the wall?  I don't want to spend a lot of money for special tools that I may only use once.  Can I use a metal coat hanger for wire pulling through a wall? Answer: My experiences with using metal wire coat hangers to fish wires through walls and ceilings have not been very good.  The metal used in the manufacture of coat hangers is a soft mild steel that bends easily.  When a coat hanger wire is pushed into a wall it becomes distorted and is not very controllable as to direction.  NOTE: Text links below go to applicable products on Amazon and EBay. WIRE PULLING FISH TAPES For working at home where you probably will not be installing long runs of electrical conduit, a twenty five foot fish tape would be adequate for your wire fishing jobs.  In my inventory of tools I have several short pieces of fish tape of varying lengths from one foot to around eight feet.  They were all broken off of much longer fish tapes after getting bent or twisted the wrong way A metal Fish Tape is made of hardened steel with some flexibility built in.  It is mostly rigid, but can be bent slightly to get around obstacles.  It is excellent for fishing wires in walls and pulling wires through conduit.  If the hook breaks, you can heat the metal up and bend a new one. The sloped ceiling in the photo above made it easy for me to push my fish tape up into the attic.  There was a space between the top plate of the wall and the ceiling joists big enough to put my hand through.  Once the wire was pulled in it was simple to push it through a drilled hole in the top plate and then fish it down the wall to a new switch box. When I began working on electrical jobs in the early 1960's the metal fish tapes available at the time were either loose or on a rigid metal reel.  The loose fish tapes were usually coiled into a short piece of flexible metal conduit. I would cringe whenever I had to wind the fish tape back onto one of those old metal reels.  My hands would hurt from trying to pull it into the tight metal grooves.  Eventually an attachment winder was made to make the process easier.  I was in wire pulling heaven after my father bought a new plastic reel to wind the fish tape on.  So much easier. WIRE PULLING FISH RODS There are also Fiberglass Rods made for pulling wires through walls and ceilings.  These are available in different lengths and thicknesses and are excellent for pushing through insulated walls.  They don't flex as much as a fish tape which is good if you are pushing it across an attic. Wire pulling rods come in at least three different diameters depending on the manufacturer.  5/32", 3/16", 1/4'. The smallest diameter is extremely flexible and the largest diameter is...