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Favorite Drywall Tools & Accessories - Continued Baker's scaffold. For ceilings that are too high for a drywall bench, the so-called baker's scaffold may give you just the boost you need. It's narrow enough to fit through a door opening, is available in 6-, 8-, and 10-foot lengths, and it can be adjusted to up to 6 feet high in roughly 4-inch increments. The baker's scaffold provides a nice stable platform for working on ceilings up to 12 feet high (Figure 4).

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Figure 4.A baker’s scaffold rolls easily through doorways to provide a mobile platform for ceiling work up to 12 feet high. Hanging or taping drywall on higher ceilings also requires a stable work platform. I use metal scaffolding with a minimum 4x10-foot platform that can be adjusted in 15-inch height increments. Deadman. A lot of us have used a simple site-made T-support, or deadman, to help hold a sheet of drywall tight against the ceiling while it's being attached. A new version of this device, the Stiff Arm from Falcon, adjusts for different ceiling heights and locks into place. The extra support frees up a live person to attach the panel (Figure 5).

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Figure 5. The adjustable, locking Stiff Arm deadman provides temporary overhead support when hanging ceiling panels.Wall-panel lifters. As I mentioned before, sometimes a panel needs to be lifted only 1/2 inch or so off the floor. It sounds simple, but without the right tool it can actually be difficult to accomplish. A foot lift is a small, metal wedge that works like a see-saw lever. Jammed under the bottom edge of the panel, all you do is step on it to raise the panel into place. Both hands remain free to attach the panel (Figure 6).

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A foot lift works like a small lever to boost lower wall panels into position, leaving both hands free for fastening. Stilts. I use stilts primarily for taping and sanding. Stilts eliminate the need for benches and ladders when finishing ceilings and walls up to 10 feet high. Stilts allow for a lot of mobility and, as a result, improve productivity and the quality of the work.

Fastening Tools

Occasionally, I use nails to attach the perimeter of a drywall panel. A drywall hammer looks like a hatchet, but it isn't sharp. I use the blade end for prying and lifting and, sometimes, if a panel doesn't quite fit, I'll chop at the high spot to coax the panel into place. Unlike a common framing hammer with a flat striking face, the convex face of a drywall hammer leaves a proper shallow dimple without tearing the paper facing (Figure 7).

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Figure 7. Unlike a carpenter's hammer, the convex face on a drywall hammer makes a dimple in the panel without tearing the paper facing. The hatchet-like blade is used mostly for prying.Screwguns. Drywall screws are the best fasteners for drywall. A drywall screw-gun with a magnetized Phillips bit is the best way to set the screws, because the panel is pushed tight against the framing while the gun zips the screw in to the proper depth. When you apply pressure to the screw, the tool’s positive clutch engages; it disengages when the screw reaches its proper depth. This feature enables the user to lock the trigger in the “on” position for efficient use. Look for a well-balanced tool with a comfortable grip, ease of use overhead, and the ability to set a screw close along the inside edge of a corner. I use a Grabber 6.3-amp 4,000-rpm Rocker 4063. I also love my Senco Dura Spin cordless self-feeding screwgun because I don’t have to drag a lead cord around or constantly reach into my toolbelt for a screw (Figure 8).

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Although he often uses a standard electric drywall screwgun, the author also likes the convenience of the Senco cordless self-feeding screwgun.