In the years I've been doing various forms of home improvement, I've come to know and love the tools I depend on. From drills to saws, the standard lot of tools are usually good enough to get the job done and are the items I rely on to help out on a daily basis. But every once in a while I discover a specialized tool that makes a previously tedious job easy, and after I purchase it, use it, and welcome it into my toolbox repertoire (there's an official welcoming ceremony), there's no way I can imagine doing anything similar without it.

A little while ago I was wandering around in the aisles of Home Depot, probably picking up a 5 gallon bucket of joint compound, when I happened across this little hand tool. The label said "Stanley Drywall Rasp," and it was a match made in heaven.

I have been cutting drywall in irregular shapes and patterns for years, often trying to fit patches into odd sized openings. It's a thankless and often futile task, since drywall typically wants to cut in relatively straight lines. Cutting curves typically leaves extra material that gets in the way of a successful patch. Until I found the drywall rasp, I was left with trying to cut the excess with my utility knife, which often resulted in damaged edges, dulled blades, and dangerous cutting techniques (lots of cutting towards my body).  It was the Wild West of drywall work.

Now, with this great hand tool, I use it sort of like a planer. Raking the course screen side along the cut area of the drywall, the tool makes short work of the gypsum, turning it into that fine powder we have all learned to hate. Keeping a Shop-Vac nearby is a must, as this little tool can remove quite a bit of material rather quickly.

With a little bit of experience in working with this hand tool, you'll be shaping patches and making intricate and perfect sized pieces of drywall in no time. And quite honestly, there's little more fulfilling than securing a patch in place to cover a hole in your wall that you've stared at for a day, week, month, of even years. I can't think of a single drywall task I've completed since purchasing this tool where it hasn't been proudly laying on the floor in a pile of drywall dust, triumphantly but silently gloating about it's powers to tackle this odd task.

But now I'm faced with a dilemma. I've discovered a new tool that is getting great reviews from its users. This new drywall rasp seems to be more versatile, durable, and easier to use than my current tool. Do I stick with the tool I know, or do I try out the new kid on the block? The new tool is this Tajima drywall rasp and shaping tool, and it holds a lot of promise. At only about $14, it's not a major leap, but what about the cohesiveness of my tool bucket? I don't want to cause any issues or jealousy among the tools. 

Well, I guess I'll just need to take the leap and report back with my findings in a few weeks.

Do you have any inexpensive and somewhat specialized hand tools that you couldn't work without? Or do you have a better method of making minor and detailed shaping to the edges of drywall? Let us know, we always love hearing about other great tools. 

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.

Comments 6


7/17/2012 at 2:54 PM
A tool that I love is a Klenk 2 in 1 wire stripper. No guessing the gauge of the wire you are working with just pump the handle twice and you have a perfectly stripped wire solid or stranded without losing any strands.

Also I just got it but I can't believe I haven't gotten one earlier. I bought a pneumatic framing nailer that came with a palm nailer. That little palm nailer is awesome because depending on the angle of the nail (if your toenailing for framing) it wont drive the nail flush with the wood and the angle is hard to get at. The palm nailer makes short work of it and you don't abuse the wood trying to finish driving that damn nail in.
I use my trusty blue handled Klines, but I've always thought about picking up the two click strip type. Does it ever damage the copper at all on solid?

I've used a couple of palm nailers and those things are super convenient, that's for sure.
7/17/2012 at 4:11 PM
I've never used a rasp before! I've got a DeWalt cut out took that I use but a rasp might offer more control.

My cordless finish nailer is my current fave (but Shhhh! Don't tell the other tools that!). I find myself inventing/day dreaming of projects that use it.
I like that a rasp can take away as much or as little as I need, and it's easy to stop the work, check for fit, and start up again if need be.

I might need to check out the finish nailer, even if it will promote jealousy among the other tools.
7/18/2012 at 10:06 PM
I recently bought a handle that turns sawzall blades into a hand saw. Metal, wood, whatever can be cut by hand if needed. $10, but what a great idea! I have used it several times already.
I've actually thought about this very tool before but didn't know it actually existed. I think I may need to look into buying one. Thanks.
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