Handy Drywall Tools
Drywall has taken over. From residential to commercial buildings, gypsum board, commonly called drywall or Sheetrock (which is actually a brand name of USG Corporation), has generally replaced plaster-and-lath walls because it is comparatively easier and faster to install. While properly hanging and finishing drywall takes practice, even a DIY’er can work with the material. It’s readily available, reasonably priced, and can be worked with common hand tools. This article highlights a few new tool innovations in the world of drywall, and how they can save time and effort on your next “rocking” project.
The round shape of the Radius 360 Sander makes side-to-side movement easy, reducing flips that can gouge the wall surface.
Full Circle Sanders
It’s terribly aggravating to knock a hole in the drywall surface just as you’re wrapping up the finishing touches. The new Flex Edge multi-layered sander from Full Circle International has a 9-by-4-inch die-cast aluminum head that is designed to lower the center of gravity. This distributes the pressure for better stability, allowing you to make side-to-side directional changes without worry of flipping the sander, which can damage the wall surface. The Flex Edge sander has two abrasive systems—a loop-backed sheet abrasive and a loop-backed flex foam abrasive. The two abrasive systems are suited to many dryall jobs like finish-sanding inside angles and small areas, as well as finish sanding on the whole wall. As a two-tool system, the Flex Edge sander, when used along with Full Circle’s round Radius 360 sander, delviers excellent finish quality on the wall surface. The system is similar to painting a wall with a brush (the flex edge for the corners and detail areas) and a roller (the Radius 360 for speed on the open areas). (www.fullcircleinternational.com)
The added pressure of the Flex Edge sander eliminates bumps and prevents stuttering for a faster, smoother finish.
C.H. Hanson’s SpeedRocker
C.H. Hanson’s SpeedRocker drywall knife functions as three tools in one. First, it’s an ergonomically designed utility knife that has a slot in the handle over the blade where you can insert the end of a tape measure. This time-saving feature allows you to score the drywall as you measure it.
The handle also conceals a keyhole saw; just flip it out like a pocket knife to cut rough openings in wallboard for lighting and outlet boxes.
The side of the handle also includes a built-in rasp to shape the edges of panels after breaking them along the score line. The SpeedRocker is built with lightweight aluminum housing, and three blades are included. The blades lock into four retractable positions during use. (www.chhanson.com)
E-Z Stick Drywall Tape
E-Z Stick Self-Adhesive Drywall Tape eliminates one full step in the taping and mudding process of drywall. Typically, the installer has to apply a thin skim coat of mud along the tapered joint in which to bed the paper tape. Then a knife is run over the tape to squeeze out any excess mud or air bubbles, and another coat of mud is applied. However, with E-Z Stick the aggressive adhesive on the back of the tape creates a strong bond with the gypsum board, allowing the tape to be covered with as little as two coats of joint compound. The system also includes a special tape dispenser with a water bath to activate the adhesive. And, according to the manufacturer it creates a stronger joint than even fiberglass mesh tape.
To use, first load the E-Z Stick onto the pin of the dispenser, non-adhesive side facing up. Add water to the bath. Run the end of the tape through the flange of the bath and out of the exit opening. Pull out the wet tape and press into the wallboard joint. Wipe down the tape with a towel to remove excess water. After a 10-15 minute drying time, apply the first coat of compound and finish the joint as usual. (www.eztapingsystem.com)
Chalk Hog and SuperPencil
C.H. Hanson has greatly improved on the design of the traditional chalk line with the Chalk Hog 100. The chalk box is fed chalk by a bottle screwed directly onto the box, so there’s no messy spillage. With the detachable filler cap, the Chalk Hog can be used with or without the 8-ounce bottle attached. One of the most impressive features is the fast string retrieve due to the optimized gears, which makes winding the string much like reeling a fishing line—six times the speed of a standard chalk reel. The high-density, poly-braided cord snaps clean and sharp lines with less chalk, and the hinged two-sided hook makes it easy to anchor the string for angled lines. The Chalk Hog even features a built-in pencil sharpener.
The Chalk Hog 100 features a bottle screwed neatly to the chalk box, as well as optimized gears for fast line retrieval.
C. H. Hanson’s SuperPencil is made of 100-percent graphite writing material. There’s not wood houseing, so the entire thing writes like a lead pencil.
Speaking of pencils, C.H. Hanson also offers the SuperPencil, which is made of 100-percent writing material. Made entirely from non-toxic, graphite composition, there is no wood housing; the whole thing writes like a lead pencil. The only reason to sharpen it is to create a finer point. The SuperPencil is flexible to resist breakage and lasts seven times longer than wood-sheathed carpenter’s pencils. (www.chhanson.com)
Blind Mark from Crorey Builders, Inc., is an easy-to-use magnetic template for locating electrical boxes in drywall panels without having to take measurements. There are two components to the system: a target and a target locator. Install the rectangular target in the electrical box prior to covering it with drywall. Install the wallboard, and then pass the locator over the area of the panel covering the electrical box. The powerful magnets will attach the rectangular locator to the drywall right over the target. You can then use the locator as a template to mark and cut the hole for the electrical box. Then, pop out the target and move on to the next panel.
Crorey Builders also offers a similar product called Center Mark, which works in much the same way but is designed for locating cutouts for recessed lighting.