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Favorite Drywall Tools & Accessories - Continued

Mechanical Taping Tools

After years of traditional drywall finishing, I decided to give mechanical taping tools a try. I'd heard mixed reports about them but hadn't seen them in use. Ames Taping Tools conducts a one-day class on using mechanical taping tools in Leola, Pa., so I made the trip, assuring my wife as I left that I was only going to gather information. The training from the Ames crew was excellent, and I was really impressed with the tools. Needless to say, I came home with a complete set and a very convincing argument in my defense (at least from my perspective) for renting them. (Although the tools are expensive to purchase — ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 for a complete set — Ames doesn't sell their mechanical tools; they only rent them.) I rented the tools for about a year, and then finally decided to purchase a similar set from Wilco Drywall Tool for about $3,500. Now, whenever I tape a large job, I use the mechanical tools. The automatic taper applies paper tape and the proper amount of joint compound simultaneously as the tool head is rolled along a seam or inside corner (Figure 16).


An automatic taper applies paper tape and compound simultaneously to seams and corners. Loading pump. Many of the mechanical tools have to be filled with joint compound. The loading pump comes with different attachments for the various tools (Figure 17). It's lightweight, stable, and easy to clean, and it has a reversible handle for left- or right-hand pumping.


Figure 17. Mechanical taping tools must be loaded with compound using a special pump. Attachments adapt the pump to various finishing tools.A corner roller embeds the tape into the compound, following the automatic taper in inside corners. The 3-inch adjustable corner finisher wipes down and feathers the compound after the corner roller embeds the tape. The 3-inch corner finisher can also be used to apply and smooth the finish coat on inside corners, but to do this, joint compound has to flow into the finisher, then onto the corner (Figure 18).


A corner roller embeds tape in the compound following its application by the automatic taper (top). An angle applicator attaches

to the corner finisher to deliver compound to the surface for tooling. The 3-inch adjustable corner finisher smooths and feathers the compound after the tape is embedded by the corner roller (above). An angle applicator is essentially a box filled with joint compound that attaches to the corner finisher. Joint compound is forced out of the box and through the corner finisher, which in turn smooths and feathers the joint compound. Flat boxes, or mud boxes, apply and smooth the joint compound for the filler and finish coats over taped joints. These boxes come in different widths: 7, 10, and 12 inches. I use the 10- and 12-inch models (Figure 19). I like the uniform results that I get with the flat boxes. The width of the seam is determined by the box, but the box's trowel edge can be adjusted to match the precise crown of the compound previously deposited on the seam.


Figure 19. A flat box dispenses second and third coats to the taped joints. An adjustable curve in the blade ensures a precise, feathered crown on flat seams.Myron Fergusonis a drywall contractor in Broadalbin, N.Y., and the author of Drywall: Professional Techniques for Walls and Ceilings. Ask the author any follow-up questions at JLC's Drywall and Finishes Forum.

Sources of Supply


P.O. Box 2219

Lower Burrell, PA 15068


Ames Taping Tools

3305 Breckinridge Blvd., Suite 122

Duluth, GA 30096


Curtain Wall

490 Wellington Ave.

Cranston, RI 02910


Falcon Ladder & Scaffold

222 Adams Rd.

Kelowna, BC VIX 7R2



Grabber Construction Products

205 Mason Circle

Concord, CA 94520


Hard Industries

P.O. Box 1259

Windsor, CA 95492


Johnson Level & Tool

6333 W. Donges Bay Rd.

Mequon, WI 53092


Mack's Step

4686 Eagle Circle N.W.

N. Canton, OH 44720



1861 Ludden Dr.

Cross Plains, WI 53528


Senco Products

8485 Broadwell Rd.

Cincinnati, OH 45244



3700 Pratt Ave.

Lincolnwood, IL 60712


Warner Tool

1345 Industrial Park Blvd.

Minneapolis, MN 55441-3899


Wilco Drywall Tools

1120 Siddonsburg Rd.

Mechanicsburg, PA 17055