A few weeks ago we covered the behind the scenes and how to of our guest blog post at Brooklyn Limestone. We accomplished an awful lot in a very little amount of time when turning our basement stairwell into a double duty space to serve as our coat closet, and many of the critical tasks we undertook were helped by owning the right tools for the job. As you undoubtedly already know, the right tools make all the difference in a job well done.
One of the aspects of the project that was a little touch and go was whether or not we were going to replace our existing light fixture. And by touch and go, I mean, Wendy didn't want to do it, but I really did. In order to make that bit of the project a reality, I had to make sure I could get it done quickly and easily. There was no time available to futz around installing the light. I had to get in, knock it out and call it done before Wendy got home from work, otherwise it was a no go.
I decided we needed a 4" recessed fixture a few feet further down the stair ceiling than what was currently there, so all I had to do was to make a perfectly sized hole for the new fixture. Easy, right?
As easy as this may sound, I've been around the block enough to know that marking and cutting a hole in plaster or drywall is rarely as easy as one would expect it to be. A circle is tough to draw without something to guide you. You can try to make a template, but the line can often run askew, too large, too small, or any number of other issues. If you can get circle properly marked, scoring the curved line with a utility knife is often an exercise in futility. And if you're trying to make a hole in plaster, and you don't score all the way through the plaster, you'll just end up with a giant mess with lots of cracks and a jagged hole.
I can visualize the standard guy in an infomercial struggling on a ladder and slowly drawing a circle then rocketing off the ladder and leaving a pencil mark down the whole wall, looking at the camera all dejected, and shrugging his shoulders.
Instead of dealing with all of the items that make it so difficult, why not pick up an inexpensive tool that will do the circle and scoring for you quite easily? I have a drywall circle cutter with pivot pin that makes the whole "hole" process far more simple.
The Goldblatt Drywall Circle Cutter is an inexpensive and straight forward tool for marking circles in drywall. It's got a central pivot pin that sits at the center of your hole, a scoring wheel that sits on an outer arm, and a ruler in the arm that ensures a proper cutting size based on measurement.
Keep in mind, this isn't a tool that is meant to cut away an entire circle in the drywall, it is meant to score a line in the drywall so that you can use your drywall saw to cut out from the center of the hole and snap off the individual pieces. I like to use my drywall saw to cut out from the center of the circle making it look like four pieces of a pie. Then you just push up and pull down. I used this particular tool to make quick work of the hole for the 4" recessed light and had the hole made within about three minutes of finding the center point.
In addition to our recessed light, I've used this tool to make holes in our ceiling for our whole house audio speakers, and even for a hole for our guest bathroom vanity sconce. It's a great way to make an even and consistent outline for any drywall hole you need.
One other trick on this tool, if you've got access to both the front and back side of the drywall you can use the center point with a small drill bit to score both the interior and exterior of the drywall, then you just need to snap the hole out of the drywall. Easy as pie.
Do you have a quick and easy way to make holes in drywall or plaster? Yeah, I'm not talking about a solid strike from the head of a hammer. More the ones that are even, deliberate, and not made during demolition. If you do, we'd love to hear how you handle it.
Did you enjoy reading this post? Want to learn more about our first-hand experiences with other tools, devices or items used throughout our renovation? If so, check out our complete list of product reviews in our Toolbox Tuesday section.
Note: We weren't compensated for this review. We simply want to share good products when we see them, and hope that learning from our mistakes can help save you time, money and frustration.