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Wall Sconces on wood accent wall

We are planning to install a wood accent wall in our bedroom and run electrical for light sconces attached to the wall next to our bed. I see that round or octagon shaped electrical boxes are recommended for wall sconces.

My questions is...can we use rectangular electrical boxes instead? The reason I ask is because it seems like its going to be tricky to cut the wood planks perfectly round to match the shape of round/octagon electric boxes (for a novice like myself)?? Cutting straight lines with a jigsaw will be easier, hence the reason for wanting to use rectangular electric boxes.
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Posted 2019-10-01T14:29:09+0000  by dortchmj dortchmj

Hey dortchmj,

Thanks for your question and welcome to the community.

You are correct in that wall sconces are installed over round or octagonal boxes....and there is a specific reason for it. 

If you used a rectangular box, the crossbar on the wall sconce could not and will not attach to it due to its size. Among other advantages, you really need to install a round/octagonal junction box since it is required and code compliant in almost all areas. 

The good news is that if you are cutting into drywall, no matter what the shape, you can easily cut any shape provided you have a steady hand; this is regardless of your skill level.

Almost all pros and electricians will tell you that they use a hand-held Jab saw, and rarely a motorized version, like your jigsaw. You can see and feel where you are cutting, and it actually leaves less room for error than a jigsaw.

As an added bonus, the canopy or base that is on the sconce will allow for any rough cuts in the drywall by being inches larger in diameter than the actual hole. 

If you wish, you can practice on cutting holes in scrap drywall and purchase a stud finder to ensure you make the most efficient and in turn, least amount of cuts necessary.

And personally, you can cut drywall with a jigsaw, but it would be easier and less risky to use a jab saw and cut out any shape, not just rectangular to give yourself the correct hole for the new circular/octagonal J-box.

Let us know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2019-10-02T17:51:47+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
A few thoughts:

Yes, you need to use an octagonal box but all old work boxes have a limit to how thick of a wall they will work with.  Make sure you check that spec first - drywall plus wood, the box can be no more than 1/8” behind the finished surface.  All old work boxes also have a limit to the weight of the fixture that they can support, again check the spec.

While you can certainly use a jigsaw to make the cut, as Joseph suggested it might be better to do it by hand so you have more control.  I’m not sure the typical “jab saw” used for cutting holes in drywall is the best choice for wood.  You might look for what’s called a “keyhole” saw or buy one of the handles designed to accept reciprocating saw blades (Milwaukee makes one).  That would allow you to use a finer tooth blade resulting in a cleaner cut.  If you want to use your jigsaw, maybe buy a small piece of plywood, mount it vertically somewhere, and make some practice cuts.

Good luck!
Posted 2019-10-04T10:19:29+0000  by Adam444
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