You know how regular toggle bolt wall anchors always require extra space behind the drywall, and to remove you unscrew them, dropping the toggle behind the wall? This week I found the best toggles I’ve ever used — SnapToggles, made by Toggler. They’re much easier to install, and they stay in place when you unscrew the bolt.
They’re odd-looking, which probably explains why at Lowe’s I found a box opened and a few scattered around the wall anchor area. While traditional toggle bolt anchors consist of a single bolt with “wings” at one end that pop open after being pushed through the wall, the SnapToggle’s two parallel plastic straps tee into a single bar-shaped anchor. The straps can move up or down independently, see-sawing the anchor to form an “I” or a “T” as needed. To install, simply push the toggle long-wise through the hole you drilled (generally a half inch, or about what you use for a medium-to-large standard toggle), then line up the straps to flip the toggle 90 degrees. Next, push the cap along the straps, zip-tie style, until the toggle lies flush behind the wall, and pull the toggle tight with the straps. Finally, just break off the straps flush with the cap. The cap and toggle stay in place, allowing you to install the bolt whenever you like.
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At least two companies market the equivalent of professional-grade drywall banjos directly toward remodeling consumers: Buddy Tools and Homax. Their tools are plastic versions of the more expensive metal tools used by professionals to dispense tape coated with just the right amount of drywall mud.
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The Hole Pro® twin-blade X models can cut a variety of materials including wood, plywood, sheetrock, plaster, MDF, fiberglass, and up to 20-gauge brass and aluminum sheeting. The minimum diameter for all the X models is 1-7/8″, and the maximum diameter, for the Model X-425, is 17″. All twin-blade kits come in a heavy-duty carrying case and include a clear Tri-Slot Shield, as shown above, to catch shavings (the shield can also be used as a portable drill press), a pilot hole bit, two hex wrenches, and one set each of tungsten carbide blades and high-speed steel blades. The twin blades provide easy balance, are “infinitely” adjustable over the range of diameters, and will cut through 1″ material (if cutting from one side only; 2″ material when cut from both sides).
The Hole Pro® X-305, with a maximum capacity of 12″, costs $149.95. The X-148, with a maximum capacity of 5-7/8″, costs $119.95.
Have any Toolmongers used one of these hand-held-drill hole cutters? What’s your opinion?
We’ve covered other door and panel lifters and kickers before, but what makes the Improtec Lift’n’Lock different is you can take you foot off the device and whatever you’re lifting stays lifted. When you’re done you simply push on the yellow release lever to unlock it.
The Lift’n’Lock can raise stuff up to 2.5″ high. It’ll cost you $23 before the $14 shipping and handling charges.
Forget measuring to locate recessed cans when you’re hanging drywall; Blind Mark’s Center Mark tool uses the awesome power of magnets to make finding them faster and easier.
To use the Center Mark, screw the target into the socket inside the recessed can and hang the drywall. Then move the Center Mark locater puck approximately where the can should be, and with any luck the puck will snap into place to locate the center of the can. Finally, saw away from the puck until you hit the edge of the recessed can, jump to the outside, and saw around the outside of the can.
The Center Mark sells for $18. The Home Depot site claims the tool is only available online, but my local Home Depot had them on the shelf.
I recently saw a Hardware Aisle post about The Pulverizer™ from Ames True Temper/Jackson Tools. It’s a new fully-forged, heat-treated, multi-purpose concrete and demolition tool. The 12.8″ long Pulverizer™ weighs 3.5 pounds, has a heavy-duty 1-1/2″ faced sledge head, claw teeth, a 2″ scraper with nail puller, a triangular-shaped area below the head for ripping through drywall, and a shock-dampening, textured, TPE grip.
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Rule #1: Don’t push on that funny-looking section of drywall next to the light switch in the MBR. As you can see from the picture above, I did not follow Rule #1, and must now invoke Rule #2: If you violate Rule #1, ask Toolmongers about the best way to repair drywall. I’ve successfully fixed larger, doorknob-sized holes in drywall before, so I’m not a complete idiot — which leads us to Rule #3: Never, ever again, say in presence of smart-aleck wife “I’m not a complete idiot” because she always replies “That’s right dear, you’re not a complete idiot.”
Anyway, my previous drywall repairs used the “standard” method of cutting a round or square section of new drywall, making that piece the template for cutting out around the hole, and then “gluing” the piece into place with joint or patching compound, often with something like a furring strip first installed as backing. However, I’m not sure how well this approach would work here where the repair is fairly small and right next to a switch box. The local big box has peel-n-stick 4″ × 4″ metal drywall repair patch thingies (thin aluminum with a plastic mesh overlay from Wal-Board Tools) that look promising, but I’ve never used one. I suppose I could always resort to the “just throw a bunch of joint compound at it” method.
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Following up on RotoZip stuff (TM 11/30/09), I found a link to CUTzOUT installation templates, which work with all brands of spiral saws and rotary tools. The above picture shows uses for the CUTzOUT Universal Single Gang Template, which costs $12.99, or $21.98 in a package with the SAWzBASE that attaches to the guide foot on most spiral saws and rotary tools to provide more stability and control. Other available templates include Universal Double Gang, Universal 4″ Round Box, Universal 4″ Square Box, STRAITCUTz, CIRCLEz, and more. The templates are ¼” thick ABS, and you can use them for “all remodeling, renovation, retrofit, and new construction projects to cut holes in drywall, paneling, plywood, ceiling tiles, OSB, SIPs, and all kinds of other materials.” They also make an ADAPTA-BASE — and apparently the shift key is stuck on their product-naming computer — that works “as both a cutting base and as a router base.” It allows working with the same guide bushings used on full-sized routers.
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This 3-in-1 drywall knife from Labor Saving Devices takes a snap-off style utility knife and adds a saw blade and a keyhole saw blade into approximately the same amount of space. It looks like the same mechanism retracts and extends all three replaceable stainless steel blades, so you probably need to remove the other two blades in order to use the third. And you can lock the blade you’re using in position so it doesn’t slide back into the handle.
For what it’s worth, Labor Saving Devices’ Three-In-One drywall knife would probably be more attractive if it didn’t cost $20. If you only had to spend a few bucks, it might be handy to have a really compact knife and saw that you could put in your pocket or pouch and forget about it until you need it.