Every month, we pick the top four Ideas That Work submitted by you, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR readers. These ideas can't be found in any code or guidebook and are only learned or devised through years of experience and thinking, "There's got to be a better way to do this!" Please remember, the ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety standards have been fully adhered to. Now, without further ado, here are this issue's Ideas That Work!


De-burr the conduit
When cutting large amounts of EMT or rigid conduit, you can speed up the process by using a tapered drill when you need to de-burr the pipe. Pipes can be de-burred in no more than 5 seconds, and it’s a great way to save time along with doing an excellent job of the de-burr.

Allen Hammacott
Winter Haven, Fla.

Hole saw technique
Those of us who use hole saws know that when the pilot bit passes through a metal surface and the hole saw teeth meet the surface at high speed, they dig in and twist, causing the pilot bit to bend or snap. However, you can use a fender washer as a clutch when the pilot bit passes through, so the teeth do not catch. If you don’t have a washer available, you can set the drill on driver mode and adjust the clutch to setting 2, 3 or 4. If the hole saw teeth catch when the pilot bit passes through the metal, the clutch will go into action and save the pilot bit from bending or snapping. Then stop, set the selector switch back to drill and continue cutting your hole.

Michael Sawyer
Natick, Mass.

Measure wire with your fingers
If you stretch your arms out, the distance from one of your middle fingertips to the other measured across your chest is equal to your height. When I need to approximate how much wire I have, I’ll stretch it from fingertip to fingertip across my chest. If you are 6 ft. tall, stretch it across four times, and you have approximately 24 ft. of wire.

William Marino
North Haven, Conn.


IF YOU HAVE AN IDEA that has saved you time or money on the job, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR ­readers would like to hear about it. Be sure to include a good photo of your idea—hand sketches are often hard to interpret. Note that some similar ideas are submitted by more than one person. In these cases, the one that is more clearly written and includes a photo is given precedence. Send your letter and photo to Jack Pullizzi, Ideas Editor, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5372, e-mail itw@necanet.org, or use the online submission tool at www.ecmag.com/ideasthatwork.

CASH AND TOOL PRIZES FOR WINNING IDEAS Each published author in Ideas That Work receives a $50 American Express gift card from ELECTRICAL ­CONTRACTOR. In addition, Southwire (www.southwiretools.com) will send the following set of electrician’s tools to each month’s first-place winner:

• Cable cutter
• Fish tape
• Long nose pliers
• Side cutting pliers
• Diagonal cutting pliers
• Pump pliers
• Screwdriver
• Wire stripper
• Crimpers
• Multimeter

DISCLAIMER: The ideas presented in this article are for consideration only. Before using such ideas, make sure codes and safety issues have been fully adhered to. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR disclaims any liability from your use of these or any other ideas. ­ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR reserves the right to reprint the words herein at its discretion.