How to Make a Deadman for Drywall

A do-it-yourself hands-free support, sometimes called a deadman, holds drywall in place against the ceiling. This allows the builder to use both hands for the process of nailing or screwing the drywall to the ceiling joists. The deadman brace resembles a large letter T and is useful only for ceiling work. Commonly built on the job site of available materials, the deadman brace takes on many actual designs with the same basic function.

Things You'll Need

  • 2-by-4-inch or 1-by-4-inch lumber
  • 16d or 8d nails
  • Saw

Instructions

    • 1

      Cut an upright out of a 1-by-4 or 2-by-4 piece of lumber. If you build the brace out of 2-by-4 lumber cut the upright to 1 inch less than the distance from the floor to ceiling. If using 1-by-4 lumber, the upright can be the same length as the height of the wall.

    • 2

      Cut a cross member for the top of the deadman brace. This piece should be at least 3 feet long but no longer than 4 feet.

    • 3

      Fasten the center of the cross member to the top of the upright using 16d nails for 2-by-4 lumber or 8d nails for 1-by-4 lumber. Set the nails deep enough so no portion of the head extends above the wood. This prevents scratches to drywall during installation.

    • 4

      Cut two braces to fit from 1 foot down the upright to the cross member 1 foot from the center connection. Fasten these braces in place with the same nails used to fasten the cross member to the upright. The completed deadman brace should measure about 1/2 to 3/4 inch longer than the height of the walls of the room.

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