Monday, January 7, 2008

Locating Wallboard Cutouts Made Easy

The worst part about hanging drywall was cutting out around electrical outlets. Measuring only got me close -- there was always extra trimming (and dust) and the hole usually wound up slightly oversized.

Then I made a template that lines the hole up perfectly over the outlet. I started with a rectangular scrap of 3/4"-thick plywood and traced the outline of an electrical box on one side. Then I cut out the center area so the template would easily slip over the outlet box.

To use the template, I put some double-faced carpet tape on one side of the template and slip it over the wall-mounted outlet with the tape side facing out. Then I position the sheet of wallboard on the wall and press it against the template. With the tape holding the template to the back of the wallboard, I lower the wallboard down.

To cut the hole, I trace around the template with a pencil and remove the template. Then I make the cut with a utility knife or keyhole saw. You could also leave the template in place and use a router or laminate trimmer with a pattern-cutting bit, but it raises more dust.

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