Cutting and Shaping Tools

This story is a gallery of the tools used to cut and shape drywall and backerboard.

A utility knife may be a basic tool, but it appears in an astonishing number of shapes. The fixed-blade knife is simple and dependable, but it demands a leather belt sheath or a dedicated slot in your tool belt. Retractable knives are versatile, and some feature ergonomic design refinements. But no matter what style of knife you choose, stockpile plenty of sharp blades, and change them at the first sign of dullness.

A jab saw is absolutely essential for making cutouts in drywall, and the basic model cuts on the push stroke. A more aggressive tooth pattern cuts on both the pull and push strokes, producing a faster but sometimes fuzzier cut. If the blade has specially hardened teeth, you can cut cementious backerboard. A larger drywall saw is also handy for cutting sheets at doorways and windows.

A Surform® plane is handy for trimming, such as when you want to plane an edge slightly to fit a corner.

Some drywall projects call for cutting a number of narrow pieces, and a strip cutter lets you mass-produce them in hurry. When it comes to cutting circles, you can mark and score drywall in a single step with an adjustable circle cutter. You'll find hole saws in a wide range of sizes to match common recessed ceiling fixtures.

A rasp with a replaceable blade refines cutlines and smoothes drywall edges. For the same function with cementious backerboard, you'll need an angle grinder with an abrasive wheel or diamond blade.

A circular saw with a carbide blade quickly cuts wood studs and other framing lumber. For cutting metal studs, put an abrasive wheel in your circular saw or opt for quieter cutting by slicing with compound-action metal snips.

A drywall router is the pro's choice to make cutouts for outlet boxes and other utilities. Add an accessory vacuum attachment, and you'll control dust right at the source. Use a special filter bag on a shop vac to deal with the fine dust created by drywall work.


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