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I am refinishing a room that had a gang of light switches mounted directly to the lath, between the studs. The lath is out, and drywall is going up next. I don't wish to change the horizontal position of the box, and I would like to avoid changing the box itself. I would like to know if there is a particular bracket I should mount the box to that stretches between the studs, or if I can just stretch a piece of scrap wood between the studs and mount the box to that (which seems technically comparable to mounting to lath, in my opinion).

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    You could use an "old work box" that clamps to the drywall. – Jim Stewart Mar 27 '18 at 17:48
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The common method for dealing with this situation is to cut a piece of material that is nominally the same type of material as the studs and nail it between the studs as blocking. The electrical box is in turn mounted to the added cross piece.

Here is a picture of what one such blocking insert looks like (also known as header or noggin).

enter image description here

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In addition to the aforementioned approach of mounting the box on an added header, you might also consider adding blocks between the nearest stud and the box location. The suitability of this approach would be affected by the size of the gap between the stud and the electrical box.

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  • Tell me if I'm interpreting your suggestion right: Side-mount the electrical box to a block which is affixed to the stud, instead of using the top/bottom mounts of the electrical box – andyortlieb Mar 27 '18 at 19:01
  • Yes, that's right. I realize now that I assumed this was a side mount box. Re-reading the thread, it sounds like that might not be the case! – metasequoia Mar 27 '18 at 19:09

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