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Viewing IP Camera Live Feed on a Mac


Most IP security cameras have a browser interface with a live feed.  On quite a few of them, the ip camera live feed requires a plugin.. and on some of the newer ones, this plugin doesn’t exist or isn’t available on recent Macs (Mac OS X Sierra or High Sierra, at least).  I have a set of Lorex LNB4421 cameras that are exactly like that.  I’ve heard that HIKVision and maybe Amcrest are similar.

Well, it is possible to view the live feed on a Mac.  Read on.

Plugin Not Found

This is what I see when I login to my Lorex cameras’ web interface:

Clicking on the link that says “Please click here to download and install the plugin-in” does nothing.  If I right-click on it and tell it to either Download the link or Open in another tab, I see this:

This example is for Safari, but you see the exact same thing with Firefox.

I sent a support request to the Lorex customer service, but it was utterly pointless. The first round of support couldn’t even understand what I was asking.  The second round just gave up and said that Lorex cameras are not supported on Macs.  Ridiculous.

Use Chrome

The path to finding a workable solution starts with using Chrome as your browser instead of Safari or Firefox.  I get the same text saying to click to download, but note that the actual URL is different:

That’s a link to the Google App Store.  That’s promising.  So I clicked the link and up popped this app:

An Alternative

Honestly, the app does look a little bit shady.  I have no idea who this “NACL Web Team” is.  NACL just refers to the fact that its a Google Chrome “Native” App, potentially.  This isn’t there only app, either.  Check out this one:

As far as I can tell, those two apps are the same fundamental app.  The Easy Viewer is newer and I believe it’s the one that pops up when you are using Chrome on Windows.

I’m assuming that if one of them works for you, then they both will.  If one doesn’t, then the other likely won’t, as well.

In any case, just install one of those apps.

Chrome Apps

When you want to view your camera’s live feed, just go to the Chrome Apps Page.  You can get there by opening up a New Tab and then clicking the “Show apps” icon in the upper left hand corner:

This will open up your Chrome Apps page.  In my case, I have both of the NACL Web Team apps installed.

Click on either one of them.  When you do, you will see a brand new browser window open up.  Yes, these plugins do not just magically make the live view work in Chrome.  Instead, they are their own browsers with the plugin support already embedded.

It looks like they support Tabs and such but they don’t.  Their About page is disabled.  It is a web browser, though, as you can go to any web site.

The only one I care about is the camera’s web interface, though.  I enter in my camera’s IP address and login and voila!

Closing Thoughts

On one hand, I’m glad this works at all, since Macs are so often forgotten with IP security camera software.  On the other hand, it’s a mild pain to have to jump through these hoops to get to it.  And since the two Chrome Apps aren’t full-fledged browsers, they don’t support Tabs.  You can open multiple instances of the App, though.

Hope this works for you!



Installing Lorex LNB4421 PoE IP Security Cameras


The Need for Security Cameras

We recently had a couple of brand new bikes stolen from our back patio. The fact that some random person just waltzed into our back yard without us even knowing it creeps me out to no end. I had wanted to get security cameras for a long time but this was the catalyst that finally pushed me to do it.

After a lot of research, I settled on buying a set of four Lorex LNB4421 Power over Ethernet (PoE) IP security cameras. They are 4MP, which is twice the resolution of 1080p HD and since they are PoE, they don’t need to be located anywhere near an outlet. Plus, they don’t require any cloud subscriptions like most consumer grade cameras. And as a bonus, they are rated for up to 140 degrees F so they can actually handle the AZ heat.

Lorex LNB4421

Temporarily Wireless

Not being wireless does create a bit of a chicken and egg problem during the initial setup. That is, I need to see what the camera sees when I’m figuring out where to place it. But since they aren’t wifi, I can’t stream what it sees directly to my phone. And since my wired network is entirely inside of the house, I can’t connect to that, either.

So I need to know where the camera is to know where to run the ethernet cord through the attic but to know where to place the camera in the first place, I already need that network. Chicken and egg.

My workaround is to create a temporary wifi bridge. I start with an ASUS RT-N66U which has the notable ability of being able to accept 3rd party firmware. I installed the Tomato firmware and with that installed, I then had the ability to turn the router into a wifi ethernet bridge.

Put another way, the ASUS router connects to my primary wifi access point inside of my home as if it was a typical wifi client. Then, anything that plugs into its ethernet port will tunnel through it over wifi into the main network, thus essentially turning all of those hard-wired clients into wireless clients.

To make this work, I just plug in my TP-LINK POE switch into the ASUS (thus turning it into a wifi client) and then plug my camera into that. Voila, it’s now on the main wifi network and accessible everything!

VLC Setup

I need to know the IP of the camera so its off to the main router. I find the right one using the MAC address, which is on the camera itself. The hostname isn’t reliable unless you are only setting up one camera.

With that IP, I login to the camera’s web interface. The default username and password for the Lorex camera is admin:admin. Thankfully, it does require you to change it after the first login.

For the rest of this post, I’ll be using the “admin” user but in reality, I’m paranoid enough to always create a separate unique and unknown user to use for any testing and putting a super difficult password on the admin user.

Okay, next up is the Video settings page. Make sure the Sub Stream is enabled with an Encode mode of MJPEG, for maximum compatibility. We’ll be using Mobile VLC with this and it can’t handle the default MPEG4 stream for some reason, but does handle MJPEG flawlessly. The lower quality doesn’t matter at all for the setup stage, so compatibility is key.

The final required information comes from the Network Connection page. Make a note of what the RTSP Port is — it’s 554 by default. Then copy off the format of the RTSP URL. Note the “subtype=1” in my example, here — that will be critical for testing in a little bit.

Armed with my custom monitoring URL, I fire up VLC on my iPhone and swipe over to Network Streams. I type in the URL that I copied off in the previous step and bob’s your uncle! I can now see a live feed from my camera directly fed to my phone. Handy.

Locating the Camera

Now we’re back to why I wanted to jump through all those hoops in the first place. It’s so I can figure out where to permanently mount the camera. I do this by having a live feed of what the camera sees on my phone and then mount that phone in a mic stand. I then move it from place to place until I find a location that has the coverage that I want.

I permanently mount the camera using some appropriate screws. The kit comes with some screws and drywall anchors but I’m going directly into lumber here so no need for those.

The live stream comes in handy again for fine tuning the angles before tightening them down.

Uncoiling the Cable

The camera comes with a 100′ length of Cat 5e ethernet cable all tightly wrapped in a coil. This has an amazing tendency to want to tangle up on itself, so I thought it was worth the time to try and uncoil it properly.

To do this, I put one end under a heavy weight and then let the coil spin freely on a pipe. As I walk away, the cable uncoils itself in the opposite way that it was originally coiled and it comes out straight.

This is extremely effective with romex electrical wire and even semi-rigid ethernet cable but as I discovered, not quite as effective with flexible ethernet like this. This method lessens the tangling after the fact but doesn’t at all eliminate it. It will still have a tendency to tangle between now and when it’s pulled into the attic.

So yeah, do not do it exactly like this. Instead, keep it on the coil until it’s time to actually do the attic pull. Have a helper hold the pipe (or dowel or rod) with the coil and to let is unspool in a straight line while you are pulling the cable up into the attic. It’s the same concept but just done at a better time.

Attaching the Cable

There are two distinct ends to the supplied ethernet cable and one hand has a very handy combination strain relief and sealing mechanism. Just screw it on and the connection is very tight and resists the elements. Very slick.

I’m pretty paranoid, though, so I took the extra step of also wrapping the entire thing in electrical table, just make sure everything is contained and snug.

Drilling the Access Hole

I used a 5/8″ spade bit to drill a hole into my attic and then started feeding the plain end of the cable up into it.

The idea was for me to go into the attic and just start pulling the already uncoiled cable through. I hadn’t yet learned to keep the coil intact until the last possible moment so this particular pull (the first one) was unnecessarily difficult.

Up in the Attic

And here’s where I’m mentally psyching myself to go up into the attic. It’s mid-October at this point and so the temperature is quite a bit lower than earlier… but it’s all relative.

This is what my attic looked like that day using my thermal camera. Each of those pretty colors is a different temperature ranging from 140 degrees to 165 degrees. That’s 63 to 73 degrees for the metric inclined. Gak.

What’s it like up there? Just imagine being in a sauna the entire time but you’re not naked; you’re not sitting still on a bench; you’re breathing through a respirator; and are slogging through loose insulation.

In all seriousness, heat stroke is a very real danger up there so after almost passing out cabling the first camera, I took a lot of preventative steps for all the rest. That includes shorter trips; trying not to move as much; going later in the evening; and using portable fans.

Face First

Yeah, this first run was no fun at all. My house has a hip roof so every camera is installed near an eve, where the roof gets extremely narrow. That meant that I had to get flat on my stomach and inch as close to the eve as possible. My face is buried in insulation the entire time and so visibility is terrible. A respirator was a must even though that restricted airflow combined with the hot humid air made it difficult to breath. Yeah, no fun at all.

I did have a helper untangle the cable from the outside. This proved to be critical because no matter what, that cable would find some way of tangling itself up if I tried to do everything completely on my own.

In all of the rest of the runs, I attached the end of the cable to a 5′ length of rigid 12 gauge wire. I then pushed the wire up through the hole into the attic. This essentially pushed the end of the cable several feet into the attic rather than pooling near the eve, like pushing the flexible cable on its own did. That allowed me to get within kneeling distance of the eves for all the rest of the cameras. It’s incalculably better to be kneeling in the attic than lying flat on your stomach, all buried.

Back outside, I made sure to staple the exposed cable in multiple places to keep it secure. I think it was around 90 degrees at this moment but boy did that feel good.


I try to keep my equipment closet future proof so that means using conduit to bridge the gap between it and the attic. I use 2″ PVC as smaller diameters are too future limiting.

Pulling the Cable

Getting multiple ethernet cables through the conduit is trivial with a pull cord, so the first step is getting the pull cord installed. I have a full video on doing that here. In short; attach a bag or balloon to the end of a pull cord and just suck it through the conduit with a shop vac. Simple.

That first pull cord should be considered a “starter” cord. The idea is to attach any cable you want pulled through the conduit to the existing pull cord and to always include a new length of pull cord with the bundle.

In this case, I have four ethernet cables for the four cameras I’m starting out with. I’m using “official” pull cord material but honestly, most types of string would work just fine.

Everything is bundled together and then I make sure to wrap everything together using electrical tape. I try to narrow it down to a point, as much as possible, to make it easier to pull.

The more lines you have in a conduit, the more you’ll need some kind of lubricant. There is an insane amount of friction and heat caused from the friction with cable jackets rubbing against cable jackets over any notable distance. I’ve had cable runs in the past without lubricant that were physically impossible to pull as-is, but that worked trivially when done with lubricant.

I’m really liking the foam based lubricants now since they are far less messy than the gels but still do a fantastic job. I just spray some into the conduit opening and the idea is that the cable will lubricate itself as it goes through. It works very well.

All that done, I’m ready for the actual pull. I have a helper down below slowly pull on the starter pull cord while I’m up in the attic guiding the bundle through and making sure it doesn’t tangle. It’s very straightforward.

I stuffed a scrap piece of memory foam into the conduit to seal it off in an effective but temporary manner. I can always remove it later when I pull through additional cables.

Down Below

That’s it for the attic! Finally!

I now have the taped up cable bundle down where I want it, so it’s a simple matter to strip off the electrical tape and then put aside my starter pull cord for any future new conduit runs.

I then plug in the four cables into my power over ethernet switch. It’s very satisfying to see each of the cameras come online one at a time, after all that.

And that’s it for the physical installation. They are now available over the network so all further works is going to be a software level. Stay tuned for a comparison between iSpy, Blue Iris, and Zone Minder.


Lorex LNB4421 PoE IP Security Cameras : https://granworks.com/amazon/lorex-lnb4421-cameras
TP-Link TL-SG1008P PoE Switch : https://granworks.com/amazon/tplink-poe-switch
Klein 500ft Pull Cord : https://granworks.com/amazon/klein-pull-line
Klein Foam Lubricant : https://granworks.com/homedepot/klein-foam-lubricant

How To Use a Grab Hook


Knowing the proper way to use a grab hook with a chain may be secret tribal knowledge, with the technique passed down from master to apprentice but never divulged to the common masses.  At least, that’s what it felt like when I went searching for how to use the new tow chain I bought.  For quite awhile, I couldn’t find a single article or video showing the proper method!

I eventually found a “deep dive” video of a logger rambling on about the various chains he found on the side of the road.  In the midst of describing one such chain, he absent-mindedly started attaching the grab hook and voila, it all made sense!

I’m going to pass along that knowledge to you, so you don’t need to do the same tedious searching I had to do.

What is a Grab Hook?

There are many types of hooks with chains, but a grab hook in particular will look like this:

It’ll have thick beefy sides and, critically, the opening in the middle will have straight sides and there is a consistent width from the top to the bottom.

The grab hook will have a specific size stamped on it — in this case, 5/16″.  It will only work with a chain of that size.  Here, I’m using a 5/16″ Grade 70 tow chain.

It is worth noting that the width of the slot in the hook will be just a tiny bit wider than the stamped size.  That’s the key to how this works.

The Wrong Way

The most obvious way to use the grab hook is also the wrong way.  It may seem obvious that the point on the hook is intended to slide into the hole in the chain links.

Nope.  There is very little strength when doing that.  A 5/16″ Grade 70 chain is rated for 4,700 lbs but if hooked up like this, that rating will have little meaning.  I don’t even know how much it will degrade the chain’s strength, but it likely isn’t by a little bit.

The Proper Way

The consistent width of the slot in the hook is critical to all of this, because it will be just a hair wider than the thickness of the chain.  That is on purpose.  The entire chain link is intended to be slide into that slot.

Step 1: Position the hook over a link so that the hook is perpendicular to the link

Step 2: Slide the hook down onto the link

And that’s it!  The chain fits into the slot in the hook like it was made for it (because it was).  Each side of the link is well supported by the hook.

When in use, the sides of the hook presses against the sides of the attached links, which spreads out the load quite a bit.

When used this way, the full weight rating of the chain is in play.  It’s much safer when used properly and even easier to use.

Seeing is Believing

I made a video showing this in action:


It got my chain from Home Depot.
Everbilt 5/16” Grade 70 Tow Chain: https://granworks.com/homedepot/everbilt-tow-chain

A similar chain is available from Amazon.
5/16” Grade 70 Chain: https://granworks.com/amazon/5-16-grade-70-chain-hook

Dowel Jig – The Anatomy of a Failed Project


I needed to create a wide panel for a dining room table build and the obvious alignment choice was biscuits but I wanted to use dowels. Specifically, I decided to make a home-made custom dowel jig from some scraps I had lying around since, well, that’s my style.

My goal was to build a custom dowel jig using a copper pipe as a guide bushing.

I made two attempts and both completely failed. But, I learn more from projects that fail than those that succeed and thought that maybe somebody else could learn from my mistakes, this time around, hence this video.

TL;DW – you can’t use copper pipe as a guide bushing since the interior diameter is nominal and will almost never be the exact size you need. The actual interior and exterior diameters of copper pipes can be found here: https://sizes.com/materials/pipeCopper.htm

DEWALT DW715 12-inch Miter Saw : https://granworks.com/amazon/dewalt-dw715-miter-saw
Loctite Universal Glue: https://granworks.com/amazon/loctite-universal-glue

Grizzly G0580 14-Inch Bandsaw: https://granworks.com/amazon/grizzly-bandsaw
Grizzly G7942 Drill Press: https://granworks.com/amazon/grizzly-drill-press

DIY Wood Fidget Spinner


My son and his friend wanted fidget spinners and were willing to do the work to make them. So in this episode of granworks, I help them do just that!

These spinners are made of scrap wood and are mostly shaped with a belt sander and drill press. The boys did the vast majority of the work.

6pcs Metric Forstner Bits: https://granworks.com/amazon/metric-forstner-bits
608 Skateboard Bearings: https://granworks.com/amazon/608-skateboard-bearings
Zinsser Clear Shellac: https://granworks.com/amazon/zinsser-clear-shellac
Loctite Universal Glue: https://granworks.com/amazon/loctite-universal-glue

Delta 22-555 Thickness Planer: https://granworks.com/amazon/delta-thickness-planer
WEN 6321 Belt Sander: https://granworks.com/amazon/wen-belt-sander
Grizzly G0580 14-Inch Bandsaw: https://granworks.com/amazon/grizzly-bandsaw
Grizzly G7942 Drill Press: https://granworks.com/amazon/grizzly-drill-press

Clean and Rustproof Garden Tools


Garden tools (shovels, hoes, spades, etc) tend to rust if left out or left with soil on them. One time honored method of cleaning and then protecting them involves a bucket of oil-impregnated sand. Does it work? In this episode of granworks, I examine that idea and create one such bucket to test.

Referenced post: Granworks Guide to Sharpening Shovels

Three Drywall Patch Methods


In this video, I test out three common methods of drywall patch repair: a patch kit; a butterfly or “California” patch; and the classic support board patch.

The text that follows is essentially the narration of the video, for those that want to follow along or just read it instead of watching.

Here are some of the products I used:

Patch Kit

Up first is using a patch kit to fix the smallest hole in the wall, caused by too much weight on a coat hook.

This starts with fast drying DryDex spackling. This tiny container goes for $6 locally and won’t cover very much, hence its use on this small hole.

I slather it on using a small putty knife, making sure to fill in the hole and to also get some underneath the drywall “flap”. This is mostly just to get a base coat, though.

Next up is the self-adhesive aluminum mesh repair patch. These go for $4 or $5 locally. I picked a size such that the metal portion completely covers the hole with maybe an inch or more all the way around. I press it onto the wall surface making sure the hole is centered. The adhesive on it sticks fairly well.

The patch is a mesh mostly to give some “tooth” to give the spackling something to hold on to. Therefore, I just use my putty knife to completely cover the patch, ensuring that it’s pressed into the mesh.

After the patch is entirely covered, I go over it with a 6″ drywall knife to smooth it out. The goal is to create uneven pressure on the blade as it goes over the patch. That is, I put more pressure on the outside edge than the inside edge. This results in less material being on the outside and more on the inside and contributes to the feathering effect that I’m going for.

I don’t go crazy on this first coat, though. It’s very much a rough coat.

The beauty of Drydex is that it can be dry in as little as an hour and at worst will be dry within 4 or 5 hours. That allows multiple coats to be applied in a single day.

I make sure to sand in between coats to make sure I have a smooth surface before the next one. In this case, I’m using a normal sanding block with some high grit sandpaper and am trying to capture all of the dust using my Shop Vac. This works pretty quickly but will generate a huge amount of dust without the vacuum. Even with the vacuum, you have to expect some dust to escape and cover anything nearby.

The next coat is going to be my finish coat, since it will be textured later. I use my 6″ drywall knife and am concentrating more on a smooth finish with gently feathered edges than anything related to coverage. The concept is the same as earlier, though, as I’m putting more pressure on the outside edge than the inside edge.

When this dries, I do a final smoothing using a wet sponge. This is an alternative to sanding at any stage, actually. The sponge leaves a super smooth surface and leaves no dust whatesover, which is pretty sweet. It’s not quite as aggressive as sandpaper, though, so I typically only use this as a finish step… and even then, if it’s a much bigger job than this, then I will still use sandpaper since this method is notably slower.

And that’s it for the patch.

The final steps in the repair are to texture the surface to match what is already there and then prime and paint.


  1. The super quick drytime means that I can go from hole to finished wall in a single day, substantially faster than the other methods
  2. The patch and kit make this a very easy and convenient method


  1. This is the most expensive method, costing about $10 for even a single little hole. Each hole you fix will cost at least that much.
  2. This is really only suitable for small holes, as the patches won’t go above a certain size and get prohibitively expensive.

California Patch

The next method I’ll try out is the California patch or Butterfly patch. It might technically be called the latter but I’ve almost exclusively heard it referred to as the former.

It starts with a piece of scrap drywall that is roughly 3″ to 4″ wider and taller than the hole. In my case, I have two holes that I will eventually combine into one… but not yet. I will create that combined hole later.

Mark off some lines 1-1/2″ to 2″ from the edge on all four sides. The inner part will dictate your final hole size so it needs to be at least as big as the existing hole.

In my case, the existing holes are covered by a roughly 4″ x 8″ patch, so that becomes my inner size.

Note that my lines aren’t even remotely perpendicular to each other. The scrap piece I was using wasn’t at all square and I essentially just made my lines parallel to the existing ones. It doesn’t matter at all in the end.

The very next step looks just like you’re going to snap the drywall to some size. I start by scoring along the back a couple of times on each side.

Then, I apply a sharp blow to the edge to snap off the gypsum and leave it hanging by the outer finished paper. Again, this is just like how you’d noramally snap drywall to size with the typical next step being to use your utility knife to slice the remaining paper.

But don’t! This is where the California patch becomes its own unique thing.

That is, instead of cutting off those edges, I’m going to instead peel off the gypsum from the glue holding it to the paper on the finished side. The end result is a “wing” of sorts made up of the continuous piece of paper on the finished side.

I repeat for all four sides.

Now, this was the first time I’ve ever tried a California patch and it definitely didn’t go as well as I would have liked. One lesson learned is that 5/8″ thick Type X drywall is a poor choice for the patch since the embedded fibers in the gympsum prevent it from crumbling away as I roll it off the paper. It also has a stronger glue than typical drwyall does. After this patch was done, I experimented with different types of drywall and the easiest to work with turned out to be just bog standard 1/2″ drywall.

That’s one of the benefits of this patch approach — it doesn’t matter at all what the thickeness of your patch is compared to the thickness of the original drywall since your patch will essentially be floating in the hole.

But yeah, the wings on my patch ended up being thinner and with more ragged edges than I’d prefer.

Next up is using my patch to mark up the precise size of the hole. This is why it doesn’t matter what precise shape or size the patch is since whatever it is will become the precise shape and size of the hole.

I used my osciallating tool to cut out this hole. It’s quick; doesn’t generate an excessive amount of dust; and creates a very clean hole. It also doesn’t cut very deep so if there are wires behind it, they are reasonably safe.

I did need to fine tune the hole size with my utility knife to give the patch room to breath. A better way would have been to just cut out my hole just to the outside of my lines rather than to the inside.

I took the time to sand down the peaks on the texturing just around the hole, but that step isn’t strictly required. I’m not sure it made any difference in the end.

To install the patch, I first apply a liberal amount of joint compound to the edges of the patch — not to the wings, but rather all four of the gypsum sides.

The patch is then pressed into the hole. Since the joint compound is on the edge, a little of it will be squeezed into any voids between the patch and the wall but most of it will coat the back of the wings and then be squeezed out. This simultaneously fills in any little holes and saturates the paper.

For this first coat, I just concentrate on spreading it out and then ensuring that the patch is level with the wall. It’ll have a tendancy to want to “float” out at first, so I did need to push it in and squeegee out the joint compound a few times.

I let this dry overnight and then sanded it before adding the second coat. This is a more traditional second coat of compound like you’d apply on the joint of two joined drywall sheets.

I apply it with my 6″ drywall knife but after it’s there, I almost immediately switch to my wide knife. This does a much better job of feathering out the compound using the same technique of more pressure on the outside than the inside. That’s because there’s a lot more pressure variance over the much wider edge.

For sanding, I use my normal drywall sander, which uses mesh sandpaper and is hooked directly up to a shop-vac. The mesh sandpaper is relatively aggressive and allows the dust to be sucked up very efficiently. The suction also help keep the sander stuck to the wall which makes it mildly easier and mildly harder to use simultaneously. One big benfit of this is that there is essentially no dust that escapes while still having the typical benfits of sandpaper.


  1. This is the cheapest method of the three since it just requires a scrap piece of drywall and some joint compound. Joint compound is $5 for a huge bucket of it compared to $5 for a tiny container of Drydex
  2. The wings become their own joint tape and create a smooth transition from patch to the wall
  3. The thickness of the drywall patch doesn’t matter at all, since it’s just floating in the hole you created
  4. Can handle non-rectangular holes
  5. 5. Arguably the most slick method for fixing for medium to large holes


  1. Creating the wings on the patch take practice
  2. May be the hardest method to learn to do well

Support Board

The third method is arguably the most traditional and it’s suitable for any size hole but really shines for larger holes that may require extra support.

The start of this method is very similar to the California patch style in that I cut out a piece of scrap drywall that’s just slightly bigger than my original hole. The big difference is that instead of peeling off the gypsum and creating wings, I follow through on the snap procedure by cutting through the paper. Thus, my patch has no wings on it at all.

Like before, I use my patch to draw out the exact size of the hole. It’s far easier to just make the hole the size of the patch than to somehow make a patch that’s exactly the size of an existing hole.

I use a jab saw to cut it out, this time. Jab saws are obviously much cheaper than either oscillating tools or zip routers or anything like that. They also aren’t notably slower to use. That said, they do require a lot more room in the wall cavity; are quite a bit messier; and create a less precise hole.

In general, more fine tuning is needed for this style of patch than for the California style since it’s not going to be floating. Oh, and since it won’t be floating, it also needs to be the same thickness as the existing drywall. In this case, it needs to be 1/2″ thick.

Now is time for the step that makes this a unique method. I take a scrap piece of wood and insert it into the wall so that it straddles the hole. In this case, I put the piece of wood at an angle to maximize the surface area inside of the hole.

I then drill some pilot holes through the drywall and into the wood. Normal coarse drywall screws are used to secure it into place. I’m using one of those bits specifically made for driving in drywall screws that will dimple the paper just enough to seat the drywall screw head just under the finished level. Cheap but effective.

This method uses joint compound as well. Compared to spackling, it’s much MUCH cheaper and so can be used for much larger patches. But on the other hand, while the spackling dries in 1 to 5 hours, the joint compound takes a full 24 hours to do the same. That means that neither the California method nor this method can be compled in a day. At a minimum, you’re looking at three days.

I apply some compound directly to the support board and the edges of the hole and then press the patch into place. The compound works essentially as a glue to hold the patch into place pretty securely. But no, I don’t leave it at that and also predrill and drive in a couple of drywall screws.

Now a hole this size may or may not require joint tape along the seams. I likely would have used it here if I had more space… but, well, I’m constrained by the outlets on both sides of this hole and so I didn’t bother taping it. This does leave a higher likliehood of eventually cracking so I may yet regret that.

Literally everything that follows is exactly like the California patch, so I’m not going to show it again.


  1. It has the strongest support for larger holes
  2. It doesn’t require any special skill or practice, like the California patch method does
  3. It uses inexpensive joint compound and tape


  1. It does require having a piece of scrap wood that fits behind the hole
  2. The wall needs to be open enough to fit the wood support
  3. It really should use tape, which is another step
  4. The tape requirement makes it difficult to patch non-rectangular holes
  5. The thickness of the patch must exactly match the thickness of the existing drywall

Building a Custom Media Wall

There’s something very satisfying about having a full suite of media components all hanging on a wall but with no visible wires whatsoever. Better yet — what if there are no pass-throughs but rather every single wire plugs into a custom designed port just for it?

That was the goal with this build. The media components (other than the TV) are all housed in the floating media console I built earlier. The components like the TiVo, XBox, Wii, and the rest all plug directly into the Denon AVR. All of the speaker and video (HDMI) outputs from the AVR are then plugged into a custom panel behind the console that contains jacks enough for all of the outputs.

There is a corresponding panel behind the TV that has all the inputs, plus a power outlet. Very slick.

Without further ado, here’s the video detailing the build: