As an electrician who prides himself on workmanship, I attempt to install every piece of wire and conduit as straight as possible. When I’m on a residential job and installing nonmetallic sheathed electrical cable, I never pull from the center of the roll because doing so ensures that the cable will twist, tangle, and look horrible. The proper way is to pull cable from the outside of the roll so that it will end up as straight as it was at the factory. This pulling method requires either two people or a wire spool, which is available at most big-box stores for $60 to $70.
On a recent job, I realized that I had forgotten my spool. Not wanting to drive the 50 miles back to my shop, I made a makeshift spool out of scrap materials and some cannibalized hardware.
As shown in the drawing, I used 15-in.-dia. 3/4-in. plywood disks separated by a 3-in.-thick center spindle made out of 7-1⁄2-in.-dia. MDF disks. The spool rides on three 5⁄8-in. roller bearings mounted on a plywood base. The bearings came from Harbor Freight and cost $1 each. I also could have used a lazy susan or even some small casters. The spool is centered by a pipe axle attached to the plywood and a 2×2 base.
Sometimes I pull the spool off its base, slip it onto a length of electrical conduit, and mount it vertically under a stepladder. This can accommodate multiple spools for different wire gauges.
Brian Weldy, Tolono, IL