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In the middle of a relatively cosmetic bathroom upgrade and went to change out the old Hollywood light fixture. I opened the wall to add in a new junction box, but came across this random piece of wood behind the wall. Its vertical (the photo may be turned sideways) but is not a stud as it doesn't go all the way down the wall and is maybe only 0.5" thick. Any thoughts on what it could be? Is it ok to cut it out?

enter image description here

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    Is there a junction box back there, or not?
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 14:34
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    Are you trying to put a junction box in to mount the new fixture to? Commented May 27, 2019 at 16:47
  • Pancake time again
    – Kris
    Commented May 27, 2019 at 21:42
  • Hole saw bit round plastic old work box.. jig saw
    – user101687
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 7:23

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Looks suspiciously like "I'll put board back here to screw the fixture to, and run wire there, with no box" - which would be a fairly major code violation and increase the scope of your work to correct it and make it safe.

Edit to add:

You can get rid of the board, but correcting the situation will probably involve a bit more than just cutting it out (i.e. you may need to cut and repair drywall, but that's very much in the "relatively cosmetic" sphere, and not so terribly dificult without complicating factors like tiles or a textured finish, especially if your cosmetic upgrade already includes painting.) I'm dubious that you can just cut out the board and successfully mount an "old-work" box there, as the remains of the board would be in the way.

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  • I agree that the wood is probably mounting backing, but it's been very common practice to stub out vanity light wires like that. The fixture acts as the box. There may not have been a violation.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 17:41
  • Also, an old work box should do fine, depending on where the wings land. Since most fixtures mount to rings that don't depend on the box screw holes being in a certain position, a person can just rotate the box to clear the wood.
    – isherwood
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 17:43
  • Use a metal octagon with ears to screw into wood. Old work metal octagon.
    – user101687
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 2:40

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