Advice on Cable Grommet Techniques - Router Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 07:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default Advice on Cable Grommet Techniques

Hi!

I need to install a cable grommet in the top surface of one of my projects. I've seen some of the commercial grommets, but I can't say that I'm overly impressed with the perceived quality or hide-ability. Some are plastic, some metal, and then I'm concerned about flush mounting them and coloring them to match.

I'm thinking about making a removable grommet out of the 3/4" wood top itself. Considering the use of hole saws & routing a lip. I'd be OK with a rectangular insert as well. Not exactly sure how I'd cut this part out such that it's a tight fit with minimal seams.

Once the insert is done, I'd drill out some holes for the cables to pass through. I'd like to have a second insert made with no cable holes if my devices are moved and I want it to look clean again.

Thanks for any advice to make this happen! Hope this wasn't confusing!
Steve
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 07:47 AM
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I assume you're talking about a hole for wires to pass through - like in an entertainment center. I don't know why it needs a grommet at all. There's no sharp edges to cut the insulation on the wires; you just want it to look nice, right? If you're dealing with solid wood instead of ply, I'd just cut an appropriate sized hole and round over the edges. It'll be as unobtrusive as a hole in the top can be. Now as far as hiding it later, you're going to have to get more creative . . .
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 08:23 AM
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I agree with Andy if it's a wooden top or in the back where it won't show. Just use a round over on it if thick enough or sand the edges.

If it is a laminated top then you need it for looks but most are meant for the flange to sit on the surface. Because of that it might not look right recessed. If you do recess it I would hope to find a drill the right size or use an expansion bit to start the hole and make the recess for the lip and then switch to a bit for drilling the body.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 08:24 AM
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Steve, That's actually EASY to do! Most anywhere you're going to need a "grommet" - one of the sides will NOT BE SEEN. A wooden one as you have described is simple in whatever shape you desire. Just make the part(s) (one with holes & one blank) and position an oversized piece of 1/4" MDF, etc. on the back. Ideally, you will make matching backer boards, as well - with each one having matching (small) screw holes - so that the obsolete one may be removed and the blank be installed - using the same (small) screws and holes.

This reminds me of something funny that I recently observed...I am very near completion of my new office desk for computer setup and reference table. It is 14'-3" long and 34" front-to-back. No legs, yet very sturdy - using a double cantilever design that my Dad taught me many years ago. There are electrical outlets below this desk, and I wanted the appearance and functionality to be perfect. I drilled 3- 1.25" diameter holes about 4 feet apart for grommet installation. I often utilize this size of grommets. Normally, I have several "on hand", but I had depleted my reserves - so I had them on my list for next shopping trip.

A few days later, Joy (my wife) and I went out for dinner and were very near a Home Depot in Lawrenceville, GA. An old man walked me to electrical and then to their selection of grommets. He offered black and white, plastic and metal. I told him black, plastic, 1.25" diameter - going through 3/4" plywood. The grommets he handed me looked perfect, but they were in a plastic bag. There was something curious about them - they were ONE-PIECE! I asked if he had an open bag of those grommets? He said, "No - let's just open this bag!" He then handed me one, and as I suspected; they were ONE PIECE!

If this isn't comical to anyone reading this, picture this potential scenario: I have 3- 1.25" diameter holes. The grommets are ONE PIECE! I put the grommets in-place (they each have one 3/8" diameter hole molded into the top). How on earth am I supposed to get a male or female end of an electrical cord through a hole 3/8" diameter? His answer was: "No problem - just cut-off one end of the cord, slip it through the hole and REATTACH the end of the cord!" It was all I could do to contain my laughter until I was out of his line of sight.

We then went to Lowes, where their 1.25" grommets were TWO-PIECES! Now, I do not have to cut the ends off of my new computer cabling! Hallelujah!

Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 12:25 PM
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Richelieu has what you need...

Metal Grommets - Richelieu Hardware
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2015, 07:17 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, this is actually a fireplace mantel that I'm painting a color-matched off-white. I have a Xbox Kinect camera up top that I want to hide the thick black cable. For now, it will be installed and is in use. But, being something that's not part of the house I'd want to be able to hide the wire access if I move, remove out the Xbox, etc.

I already installed some "orange smurf tube" conduit that reaches the media center area so I just need to get the wire into the mantel body in some neat fashion. I designed the mantel to be easily removable with two screws.

@OPG3 14' is a big desk! Yes, I've seen those grommets at both Lowe's & HomeDepot. The two piece certainly work better! My concern is the color of the plastic. It doesn't match.

@DaninVan Thanks for the link. If I can't make the grommet color match I'd probably use the metal material.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2015, 12:32 PM
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This is how I made grommets for the 3 desks I have made. if the grommet is no longer needed then a drop-in solid insert is used.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2015, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MEBCWD View Post
This is how I made grommets for the 3 desks I have made. if the grommet is no longer needed then a drop-in solid insert is used.
Wow- those are exactly the type of grommets I would like to make. Can you explain the best way to make them to a beginner, Mike?
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2015, 02:54 PM
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Measure twice...no make that thrice. I seem to always get the grommet location right in the way of the monitor!
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-02-2015, 03:47 PM
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Whoa! Nice grommets, Mike!!
(I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that they're one piece and that the OP wants two piece ones.)
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