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Should I Cut Drywall with a Table Saw?

Drywall can ruin a table saw.
Table saws allow the user to make long straight cuts in large sheets of wood. With a “fence,” that guides the wood panel; the user can slide the sheet smoothly along while the table saw does all the hard work. Drywall panels are very large and unwieldy, the smallest standard size being 4 feet in width and 8 feet long. A sheet of plywood of the same size would certainly benefit from the use of a table saw for cuting. However, there are better ways to cut a drywall panel.


  • Drywall panels feature compressed gypsum particles that have a tendency to crumble when cut. Any power saw, including a table saw, will create clouds of drywall dust if used to cut the panels. The dust can clog the table saw motor and dull the blade of the saw.
  • The nicest thing about drywall panels is that they break along a weak point. The best way to cut a panel, when you’re hanging drywall, is with a utility knife. You don’t even have to cut all the way through the panel; just score the panel on the front, “paper faced,” side, and then tap the backside of the panel and it will “break” along the scored line. 
  • A drywall framing square is essential for making straight cuts. After measuring the panel, place the top of the square, which features a “T” shape, on the top edge of the drywall. The long vertical part of the square will extend downward, along the face of the panel.
  • You can measure and cut out switch and outlet boxes, after the drywall's in place, with a utility knife, but there’s a much quicker way. A drywall zip-type router is similar to a hand drill, but with a long cutting bit.

    After poking the bit through the drywall panel and into the center of the outlet box beneath, turn on the tool. The bit spins, and you can guide it by sliding it to inner edge of the outlet box and following the inside perimeter all the way around. The zip-type tool keeps you from over cutting the drywall.

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