August 7, 2007

Husky 5-in-1 Drywall Tool - Review

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Putting up drywall is a pain in the ass for a number of reasons. You have to deal with awkward 4x8 sheets of material, the work gets dusty and messy, and even though you barely even have to be accurate to a quarter inch, if you cut a piece a hair too long, it's nearly impossible to shave off that extra bit with any grace whatsoever. In addition to all of this, there are a number of tools you need in order to be efficient. Sometimes you don't have all the tools with you, and sometimes they just aren't in arm's reach when you've got a sheet of blueboard propped up on your knee and you need to cut out for a light fixture. With this last issue, Husky may have something that can help out quite a bit.

They have recently released a new 5 in 1 drywall tool to be your one stop, Swiss Army Knife of the sheetrock set. The five tools contained are, a keyhole saw, a utility knife, a sanding rasp, a screw pull, and a tube punch. The tools are all set-up in traditional multi-tool style, pivoting out of the handle, except for the rasp, which is set in to the back of the tool. The entire tool is about the size of a double wide utility knife.

saw_out.jpgIt is obvious that some thought went into the placement of the individual tools in relation to the handle design. When using the knife (for a rightie, at least), the keyhole saw, which, due to its length, sticks up higher than the other tools, manages to fit nicely in the palm. Along the same lines, when using the keyhole saw, your fingers easily wrap around the swoop of the handle. It's nice to see that Husky tool these little details into account in the design stage.

Of the five included tools, the keyhole saw and the rasp are by far the most successful. As mentioned earlier, when the saw is extended, the handle fits the hand nicely, and you have good control over the tool. The rasp is the saving grace for those of us who think they can cut sheet rock to fit like it was finish carpentry, but always fail to take into account that little bit that sits out beyond the cut. A few quick passes with the rasp and your board fits perfectly. We think the rasp is especially nice because we rarely think to have one on us when we put up sheetrock.

open.jpgThe utility knife works nicely, but because the tool is bulkier than a normal knife, it may take some getting used to. The knife has a quick blade change button on the side, but unfortunately, no place to store extra blades. This is a bit of an oversight seeing as sheetrock tears through blades at an astonishing rate. The knife has the ability to flip back from the handle a bit (but not that far), so we wonder why they didn't make it flip back a little more and add some sort of blade storage.

The screw pull/prybar is nice to have but a bit difficult to use. Because of where is sits in the tool, it can only extend part of the way out, making it sit, unlocked, at an odd angle. This situation makes it a bit tricky to use, particularly if you need to come at a screw from the left side.

back.jpgFinally, the tube punch. We're actually a bit baffled as to why there is a tube punch in the set. We've done plenty of sheetrocking and have rarely needed a tube of anything and if we did, any caulking gun worth owning already has one. (maybe they were just intent on being "two cooler" than Hanson's 3-in-1 SpeedRocker).

Overall, some of the tools are successful and some are not. But Husky knew what they were doing and made sure that the successful ones are the ones that matter: the rasp, the saw, and the knife. The other ones are just gravy; if you need them, they're there, but they don't really get used that often, so the fact that they are less functional, doesn't really come into play.

Also, any complaints that we have need to be taken with the consideration that Husky is selling this tool for a mere $15. It's a nice price for the functionality and it's quite handy to have all of these tools in one easy-to-use package once you get settled up on that ladder.

Husky's 5-in-1 Drywall Tool comes with a small belt loop pouch and is available at Home Depot.

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 7, 2007 5:21 AM

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