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Mastered in a Minute

Mastered in a Minute

Cut Drywall Without a T-Square

comments (6) July 21st, 2014 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

Produced by: Colin Russell and Justin Fink

Our newest video series: "Mastered in a Minute"

The internet has opened up a world where people can share in-depth content like never before. Want to know how to solder a copper pipe? just type it into a web browser and in less than 1/2 of a second, you have 698,000 options to choose from (I checked).

But you know how it goes... a thousand of those will be baiting you to buy prescription drugs from foreign countries, 500 will actually be cute cat videos, and the rest will mean settling in for dimly lit home videos shot from a tripod that's a blurry 8 feet away from the action, while the overly wordy "expert" works through a 15-minute explanation of how to do a one-minute job.

Starting right now, Fine Homebuilding, the building experts you've trusted for 33 years, aims to change all that with the introduction of "Mastered in a Minute."

This is a video series geared towards you: an audience that is sick of the talking heads and fluffy content. An audience that just wants to know how to do a single building task, the right way, in about a minute.

So stay tuned, because starting now, we'll be adding a new "Mastered in a Minute" video every week, covering concrete to crown molding, and everything in between.

And we'd love to hear your ideas. No topic is too complicated or too simple.


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Video transcript: Cut Drywall Without a T-Square

Pull your tape measure just beyond the length or width of the piece you need -- in this case, let's make it 20 inches--Now pinch the tape between thumb and forefinger at the 20 inch mark. At the business end of the tape, place your utility knife blade against the hook, and pinch both between your fingers. Starting at the edge of the sheet of drywall, pull both left and right hands across the sheet scoring the paper face of the drywall as you move. After scoring, grab the edge of the sheet near to your score mark and firmly snap the other end of the sheet to break the gypsum core. Now run the utility knife along the other paper face, separating the two halves.

posted in: Blogs, measuring and marking tools, drywall

Comments (6)

zoomzoomjeff zoomzoomjeff writes: Awesome concept for the series. Will watch!

But I echo the sentiment----what happened to Chuck Miller??
Posted: 11:11 pm on August 13th

demouser demouser writes: The guy's I've seen have the drywall stacked against a wall. They used the "factory edge" of a sheet or cut-off as a guide to make the next cut. Hold the guide piece with your hand and foot and run the knife up. Snap it while it is standing up and cut the back side. They would never set a single sheet on a sawhorse. Too inefficient.
Posted: 2:47 pm on August 11th

BGodfrey BGodfrey writes: Out of those hundreds of thousands of hits with cats and poor production quality you forgot to mention the overproduced ones with fancy lead-ins, sophisticated graphics, and way too much annoying music. This excellent tip could easily have been demonstrated in much less than the 50 seconds used.
Posted: 11:44 am on August 11th

Julimor Julimor writes: This isn't a new idea. I've been in the trades since the mid-70's and the rockers (guys who install sheet rock) have been doing this as long as I can remember. They also use this method to mark for openings, like receptacles and switches, by replacing the razor knife with a pencil.

Edges are cleaned up with a drywall rasp and are as clean as if cut on a table saw. Most rockers I've talked to are paid by the sheet so taking out cumbersome tools like a T-square are avoided.

The only change I make when rocking is I put the blade on the other side of the hook. That way my fingers aren't up against a razor blade.
Posted: 8:40 am on August 11th

rjparker rjparker writes: Bring back Chuck Miller!
Posted: 6:46 am on August 11th

Bob_drywall Bob_drywall writes: Ok, just a few finer points on the technique shown in the video.

1) See how he struggles a little to start his cut through the backside? The drywall paper is thicker at the beveled edges, so start a few inches into the sheet and cut back to the edge. Just a little flick of the wrist sets you up for a much smoother cut.

2) Make sure to keep the tape square to the sheet, if your hands move at an uneven speed your cut is going to wobble and lead to gaps. Your tape holding hand is just working as a guide, you want to reduce the force you apply to the sheet as much as possible, you will friction burn the hell out of your index finger, and you will sometimes smack it into things, especially when using this trick for ripping lengths.

3) Until you're very comfortable cutting like this and can compensate for the 1/8"-1/4" that your grip and the knife blade will alter the cut measurement, measure normally from the edge of the sheet to your desired point, I mark the sheet with a knife score.

4) This is hard on tapes, over time you crease them after cutting a lot of <6" strips until they crack. It's also uncomfortable with big tapes, unless you have huge hands. I drywall with a 16' tape.

5) This is hard on hands too! It's best to cut of a clean factory edge, dragging your guide hand down an edge you've already cut is an unpleasant experience, if you need to do several cuts out of one sheet, mark and cut them all before cutting off your factory edge. This is especially handy advise when ripping sheets along their length. If all else fails a little electrical tape, or hockey stick tape in the right spot can save you some seriously raw hands.

When you get a real handle on this trick you'll cut much faster and straighter then those damn T-slightly-out-of-squares.
Posted: 11:38 pm on August 7th

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