Metal Stud Framing Tools

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Steel studs are often used in residential construction.
Steel studs are often used in residential construction. (Image: construction detail,steel studs image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

To frame efficiently with metal studs, you need some special tools on hand. You can do the job without these tools but at the expense of much effort and frustration. The tools used for metal framing are found at most large home discount stores. Companies that sell mainly drywall also carry many of the tools. When you have the right tools, you will save time and money and end up with a better final product.

Layout Tools

Besides a tape measure and chalk box, a laser level is very handy for setting top plates and general layout. A plumb bob can be used in its place, but the laser level has made the plumb bob obsolete--and the laser level has more uses. A hand clamp comes in handy to hold your tape to the metal track when marking studs. A tri-square is also used to mark across a track or stud when perfect alignment is desired.

Use a clamp to hold your tape in place.
Use a clamp to hold your tape in place. (Image: spring clamp image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com)

Cutting Tools

There are two primary cutting tools for steel studs: the metal snips and the chop box. The metal snips are available in three different directional cuts. The red-handled snips cut left, the green cut right and the yellow cut straight. Use the one that works best for you. The chop box is a portable saw able to cut 10 studs at the same time. If you have a lot of framing to do, purchase or rent this saw.

A yellow snips makes straight cuts.
A yellow snips makes straight cuts. (Image: aviation tin snips image by Christopher Dodge from Fotolia.com)

Assembly Tools

The power-actuated nailer is used to nail the track to concrete. A hammer drill and concrete anchors can be used instead. A locking C-clamp is necessary to hold the studs while you screw then to the track. You will want at least 4 clamps. Without these clamps, it is difficult to hold the steel studs in place while you attach with screws. To screw the studs to the tracks and other studs, a screw gun is the main tool, not a drill. Screw guns operate at a higher RPM than battery-operated drills. A 24-inch and 48-inch magnetic level is useful for framing soffits (the undersides of an eave or cornice) and setting shorter framing members.

Use a magnetic level when framing with steel studs.
Use a magnetic level when framing with steel studs. (Image: top level image by Stanislovas Kairys from Fotolia.com)

Safety Equipment/Tools

Metal studs are sharp, and cutting them throws tiny bits of metal into the air. Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection while using power tools. It is also a good idea to wear gloves while working with steel studs, not only because they are sharp, but because they are coated with oil.

Where safety gear while working with metal studs.
Where safety gear while working with metal studs. (Image: Helmet image by Hedgehog from Fotolia.com)

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