How to Wire a 4 Line Bridge with a 66 Block


Instructions on how to wire a 66 block with as a 4 line bridge for 11 telephone ports. This is a common way to wire residential and small business telephone wires.

There are a number of different ways to wire your phones using a 66 block. I discussed another option in my article on How to Wire a 66 Block. That was a little more complex but it's worth reading if you're not familiar with 66 blocks and would like a better understanding of how they work and what you can do with them. That other wiring provided less density but gave you greater flexibility.

This article will show you to use the inner pins to create a daisy chained bridge for up to 4 incoming lines going to up to 11 phone ports. It's still a bit complicated so if you want something easier look at the pre-made 1x9 bridge in my article on organizing telephone lines in an older home for an easier solution. We're essentially using a 66 block to make a 1x11 bridge. You can always buy 2 1x9 bridges and wire them together saving a lot of time but if you want to understand 66 blocks better or, like me, just enjoy using your punch down tool keep reading.

What you'll Need

Materials

  • A 50 pair split 66-block 
  • A couple of screws to attach the mounting bracket to your structured media panel
  • Cat5e cable running to your phone jacks as well as an incoming phone line
  • Some spare Cat5e you strip to separate individual pairs

 Tools

  • Screwdriver for screwing down mounting bracket
  • Punchdown tool with 66 black (cut and non-cut)
  • Spudger
  • Wire snips


Above are the tools I use. I have a Klein Tools VDV427-822 Comfort Grip Impact Punch down tool kit which I think is the best punch down tool out there because it has a long reach and is shaped like a screwdriver. It comes with the spudger which is a tool used for moving and pulling small wires in tight to reach areas. And I have a pair of 5" Wiss electrician snips for cutting and stripping wires. You'll also need a 66 blade that has a cutting and non-cutting side like the Klein VDV427-016-SEN  66 blade.

The kit comes with a nice case that clips everything I need on my belt even has a pouch for extra blades.

Step 1: Mount 66 Block To Structured Media Panel Feed Cables


Remove the 66 block from the 89d mounting bracket and secure the bracket to your structured media panel or other appropriate surface and start to feed your cables up from the bottom leaving a bit of a loop in case you need extra wire to punch the wires down again in the future.

There are 12 cables total. 1 Grey Cat5e for the incoming lines and 11 green Cat5e cables for the premise wiring that goes to the phone jacks. You can use any colors but for consistency I follow my Structured Wiring Jack Color recommendations. Feed 6 cables through each side of the mounting bracket making sure the grey incoming cable is on the upper left of the bracket.

Clip the 66 block back on the mounting bracket.

Step 2: Punch down Incoming Cable

I like to start out by punching down the premise cables first since in a residential installation they're typically not going to change.

I start by punching down the grey Cat5e cable that has 4 pairs for up to 4 incoming lines. I punch it down to the upper left of the block which is where incoming lines are typically placed.

I'm using a Cat5e rated 66 block and Cat5e cables even though analog phone lines don't really need to be installed with that spec. Because of that I'm wiring the 66 block slightly different to maintain the twists in the wire pairs as much as possible.

Instead of stripping the cable all the way back I'm stripping it so that it lands around the center of the area of where it will be punched down and instead of untwisting the wires and feeding each one through it's own fin, each pair goes through one fin and there's an empty fin below it.


The wires get punched down to the pins closest to the fins. I hook the white striped wire of the pair up to the pin above and the colored wire down to the pin below. This way the twists are preserved as much as possible. I use the terminate and cut side of my 66 blade in my punchdown tool to punchdown and trim away the excess cable.

Important: Make sure the cut side is up for the white striped wire and down for the colored wire when punching down.

The order of wires is white-blue, blue, white orange, orange, white green, green, white brown brown.  It's easier for me to just remember blue, orange, green brown and the white striped wire goes on top.


Step 3: Punch down Premise Cables

The green cables lead to phone jacks installed in various rooms throughout the house and will be terminated in the 66 block.

First we strip the cable. I take my snips and score the jacket a couple of inches down from the end then bend to crack and remove the outer jacket. Grab hold of the rip cord and start ripping down the outer jacket until it comes to just under the fins. I hold the cable down around 4 fins from where the first wire is going to be punched down so it lands around the middle. I trim off some of the excess wire at the end as well as the jacket and rip cord.


Now separate the pairs in the order they will be punched down, blue, orange green brown and feed them through the appropriate fins.


Untwist the blue pair just enough so you can hook the white-blue wire to the pin on top and the blue wire to the pin below.


Then punch down the wires making sure the punch down tool is cutting on the top for the white blue wire and on the bottom for the blue wire. I use my finger to hold the jacket of the cable down to the side of the block so it stays in the middle. This isn't that important but I think it looks nicer when it's centered.


Repeat for the other 3 pairs, orange, green and brown.


Now just repeat that process for the rest of the premise cables and your 66 block should now look like this.


Keep in mind that the 66 block has 50 rows of pins but we're only punching down 6 cables which is 24 pairs or 48 individual wires so there will be two empty rows on the bottom.

Step 4: Cross Connect Daisy Chains

We have the incoming lines and all our premise wiring punched down on the 66 block but they're not connected to each other yet so none of the phones will have dial tone.

To get the phone lines connected to the incoming phone lines we're going to daisy chain some wires on the inner pins to feed dial tone from each incoming line to each phone jack.

I cut a length of Cat5e cable, remove the jacket and separate out the 4 pairs of wires to create the cross connects. That way each cross connect daisy chain is color coded to match the colors on the incoming line pairs.


We start with the blue pair, line 1 and punch down the white blue wire to the pin next to the incoming white-blue wire and the blue wire next to the incoming blue wire. Feed the cross connect wire through the same fins that the incoming blue pair is in.


The blue pair cross connect now has dial tone for line 1. We'll use the cross connect wire to provide dial town to the other extensions. Here you can pick and choose which lines to send line 1 to. You can send it to only a few of the extensions, you can choose to send it to a different line (color pair) instead of blue, etc. For simplicity and because it's the most common way of doing things in a home installation we're going to send line 1 to all the line 1's (blue pairs) of the premise wires and do the same for the other 3 lines as well.

Now run the cross connect wire down to where the blue pair is on the next premise cable and start to separate the twists without cutting the cross connect wire. It sometimes helps to use the spudger to create an opening in the twists.


Punch down the wires using the non-cutting side of the 66 blade. We don't want to cut the wire because that will break the connection and lose dial tone we need to send to the other cables.

When you're done punching down the wires feed it back out through the same fins the wire came in through and continue to the next cable's blue pair.


Wrap around the bottom of the 66 block and continue up the other side until you get to the end. When you get to the end use the cut side of the 65 blade to punch down and cut the cross connect wires. Your 66 block should now look like this.


Side Note: We don't have to do both sides of the 66 block with the cross connect wire. We could just do one side and use cross connects to send dial tone to the other side but I think it looks more consistent to use the cross connect wire and I enjoy punching things down. :)

Now repeat the above with the orange cross connect wire to send line 2's dial tone to all the premise wires.


Most homes these days probably only have 1 phone line (if that) but it's nice to have one extra line setup and ready to go if necessary. Back in the day you'd have the main house line, maybe a line for a modem, then the kids would want a line to talk to their friends but now most people have broadband and you're more likely to get your kids a cell phone than a landline. Most people can probably stop right here but we have the other cross connects ready and it's fun to punch wires down so we'll feed line 3 (green pair) and line 4 (brown pair) to all the lines too and our 66 block will end up looking like this.


And here's one more shot showing a bit of the side.


So that's how you make a 4 line 1x11 bridge with a 66 block. You can use the techniques to customize the wiring to suit your needs now or in the future. If this seems too difficult for you there's always the Leviton 1x9 Telephone Bridge that already has the bridge part done for you, all you have to do is punch down your incoming and premise wiring. No need to punch down all those cross connects but the 66 block locks cooler and did I mention I like punching things down? :)
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Easy Simple Plywood Nightstand Plans

Free woodworking plans to build simple and easy plywood nightstands that require minimal tools and use ClosetMaid Fabric Drawers for storage. You can also use these as end tables.

I ran across these inexpensive nightstands on Amazon which I thought were pretty cool but they are ridiculously small and unusable in my opinion. I like nightstands that come up to a couple of inches below the top of the mattress. That way they're easy to access but you won't hit your head on the corners if you roll around in your sleep or other things you do in bed. So I decided to build my own based on the design.
The top of my mattress is pretty high as I have a box spring, pretty thick mattress and a memory foam topper. I decided to make the nightstands 20-1/2" tall which was a comfortable height and allowed me to make 4 nightstands out of one sheet of plywood. I maid one pair larger than the other to accommodate the different storage drawers I wanted to use. You can adapt the plans to make nightstands to fit whatever storage drawer you'd like to use and make as many or as few as you want. I needed 4 and I don't like to have too much scrap plywood leftover.

I made one set to fit with the larger ClosetMaid 25066 Deep Fabric Drawer, and two with the smaller ClosetMaid 5878 Cubeicals Fabric Drawers which come in a variety of fun colors. I painted all of them black.


What You'll Need

I'm making 4 nightstands of 2 different sizes and these are the materials I used. If you're making different sizes or different quantities you may need more or less.

Materials

Tools & Supplies

Cut List

 I broke out the cut list into 2 sets. One for the bigger nightstand that uses the deep storage drawer and one for the smaller nighstand that uses the Cubeical fabric drawer.

Big Nightstand

  • (2) 20" x 17-1/2" Tops
  • (4) 17" x 16" Shelves
  • (8) 20-3/4" x 4" Legs

Small Cubeical Nightstand

  • (2) 14-1/2" x 14-1/2" Tops
  • (4) 11" x 11" Shelves
  • (8) 20-3/4" x 3" Legs

Cut Plan

Ideally I would have wanted the legs to be maybe an inch longer but at 20-3/4" I could make 4 nightstands of the sizes I wanted out of one sheet of plywood. For aesthetic reasons I wanted the grain on the tops and shelves to run from left to right and on the legs I wanted it to run vertically from top to bottom.

Step 1: Cut out all parts from Plywood

I had an associate at Home Depot make the 4 cross cuts so I could fit the plywood in my cargo area instead of on my roof rack and I made the remaining cuts with my Milwaukee M18 Cordless Circular Saw and my Kreg Rip Cut Jig.

Step 2: Edgebanding and Sanding

Sand the edges where the edge banding is going to be applied to get a nice smooth surface and, clean off any sawdust and start applying the edge banding along the edges shown bellow for the different parts. If you want to save a bit of edgebanding you can skip the backs of the tops and shelves.


Cut the edgebanding slightly larger than the edge and iron it on. Use a roller or scrap wood to press it down firmly after ironing. Let it cool a bit then trim it with a trimmer.

After edgebanding is a good time to sand all the pieces so they're ready for finishing after assembly.

Step 3: Drill Pocket Screw Holes

On the inside top of each leg drill 2 holes so the center of the hole is about 1/2" in from the side of each leg. On the bottom side of each shelf drill 2 holes at each of the 4 spots on the side of the shelf where the legs will connect. Make the holes about 1" from the edge and 1" from where the edge of the leg will be.

Step 4: Mark Shelf Locations on Legs

For each set of legs clamp them together and mark the location of where the tops of each of the shelves will go.Measure from the top to where the top of the shelf will be.

I wanted the toe kick area to be 3-1/2" on all my shelves and then I had to accomodate for the different heights of the fabric drawers. The large, deep drawer needed 8-1/2" of space and the Cubeicle drawer 11-1/4" of space.

So for the Big nightstand legs I made lines at 6-1/2" and 15-3/4" from the top.

For the Cubeicle nightstand I measured 3-3/4" and 15" from the top to make my reference lines for the shelves.


Step 5: Temporarily Attach Legs to Shelf

We're going to start assembly by temporarily attaching one of the shelves so that it's flush with the top of the legs. This isn't going to be it's final position but it will make assembly easier.

It's easiest to do this upside down on a flat surface. Lay one of the shelves upside down and use screws to attach the legs in each corner as shown. Make sure the legs line up squarely with the shelf.

While you're at it also mark the center of the shelf on each of the edges and use a combination square to draw a line on the edge as shown.


Step 6: Attach Bottom Shelf

I used some straight cut scrap wood and quick clamps to hold the bottom shelf in place (remember we're still working upside down. I set the scrap so that it was in line with the reference marks I made previously on the legs so the bottom shelf would line up properly. After checking to see everything looked okay. I applied some wood glue to where the pieces would join and screwed them together while holding them in position.


I don't always feel the need to use glue along with pocket hole joinery but for this design I thought a little extra strength would be helpful.

Step 7: Attach Legs to Top

Start by measuring the center of each edge and marking lines on the underside of the top as shown.



Then place the leg assembly and line up the centermarks on the edge of the side with the reference marks you just drew on the top.

Check to make sure everything looks good, then remove the leg assembly so you can apply some glue to the top of the legs. Place the leg assembly back on the top and line up the marks, clamp it down and start screwing the pocket hole screws to attach the legs to the top.

Once you have all the legs screwed down, unscrew the shelf that we attached temporarily and clean up any glue that spilled over on all pieces using a slightly damp rag.

You may want to fill the temporary screw holes with wood filler and sand it down after it dries.

Step 8: Attach Top Shelf

The final step of assembly is to  attach the top shelf to it's actual location instead of just using it to hold the legs in place.

Just like we did for the bottom shelf, use some straight scrap pieces aligned with the reference marks we made on the legs held with clamps to provide a space for you to rest the shelf.

After checking to see everything looks okay, remove the shelf, apply some glue where the shelf meets the leg and screw the shelf to the legs. Remove the clamps and clean up any glue that oozed out with a damp rag.

Step 9: Finishing

Clean off any sawdust and finish the nighstands as you'd like. I chose to prime and paint mine black but you could also stain and apply polyurethane instead. Follow the directions of the finishing materials you choose.

I wanted to paint mine black. I primed with a water based primer then sanded down the primer with 150 grit sandpaper lightly because water based primers raise the grain. Cleaned up the sanding dust after it had dried and followed with 2 coats of black paint.

Once the paint dries the drawers simply unfold and slide into place.


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Plywood Cutting Table Plans

Free woodworking plans to build a plywood cutting table that can store away easily yet still support full 4' x 8' sheets of plywood. This will help you get cleaner and more accurate cuts when cutting plywood with a circular saw.

Normally when I'm cutting plywood with a circular saw and either a circular saw guide or my Kreg Rip-Cut jig I just throw some scrap 2x4's on the ground or a sheet of rigid insulation to put the plywood on but lately I've been getting tired of the bending over and being on my knees while cutting sheet goods. I've been using a couple of 2x4's on my saw horses but it doesn't provide as much support for short pieces so I've come up with this alteration that provides more support and doesn't take up a lot of space in my garage when I'm done. I can also pack it up in the back of my truck easily if I need to cut some plywood somewhere else.

What You'll Need

Materials

Tools

  • Circular Saw
  • 2 bar clamps with a minimum 12" opening
  • Combination square or speed square
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil

Cut Plan

2 of the 2x4's will remain uncut and the entire 8' length. The other 4 will be cut in half to get 8 roughly 4' long pieces mines the saw kerf.

Step 1: Mark Short Notches


Set up your 2 saw horses and place the long 2x4's in the notches of the saw horses as shown. Place a short 2x4 on top of the long 2x4's and center it. Mark the width and location of the long 2x4's on the short 2x4 as indicated by the red lines.

Step 2: Cut Notches in Short Boards

Clamp all 8 of the short 2x4's together keeping all the crown sides facing down. Transfer the cut lines you marked in the previous step across the tops of all the boards. 

Set the depth of your circular saw to 1-3/4" and start making cuts through all 8 boards simultaneously. Make one cut, move the blade over and make another cut until all the wood from the notch is cleared. You can use some scrap wood on the sides as stops. The placement of the stops will depend on the dimensions of your circular saw bottom plate. Just line up the blade with one line and place the stop, do the same on the other side. That way you don't have to be too concerned with measuring your saw.

Repeat for the second notch.

Step 3: Mark and Cut Notches on the Long Boards


Clamp the 2 long boards together with the crown sides up. Mark the center of each notch starting 6" from one end and then every 12".

To mark the actual sides of the notches take one of the short boards and roughly center it over the center line and mark the sides. The placement doesn't need to have laser precision as long as the notches on each board line up, which they will since we're cutting them clamped together. 

Cut out the notches as described in the previous step for the short boards.

Step 4: Assemble Table


Next it's just a matter of putting it all together. 

Set up your saw horses and lay the long boards with the notches facing up in the notches on the saw horses. Don't press them down all the way yet so you can make adjustments.

Place the first short board in one of the end notches and use that to help line up the long boards.

Continue placing short boards on the long boards with the short board notches facing down. Make adjustments as you go if necessary.

Once all the boards are in place make sure the long boards are pressed in fully into the notches on the saw horses and that everything is lined up.

When you're done cutting your plywood just reverse the steps to disassemble everything until you need it again.

Step 5: Add Rigid Insulation

This is optional but recommended. Add a 1-1/2" or thicker 4'x8' sheet of rigid insulation over the boards. This will give you more support and help produce cleaner cuts.

When you cut make sure the good side is down. Also, after placing your plywood on the cutting table double check to make sure everything is still stable and hasn't moved before you begin cutting. Practice general good care when using a circular saw.
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