In my ongoing effort to get my new shop functional, I've been hanging
drywall and am looking forward (or rather, not looking forward) to taping
the joints. I've done a very minimal amount of taping in the past, but
nothing approaching this scale. I'm been doing some reading and one of the
articles says that for anything but the smallest jobs, they recommend a
banjo to apply the tape. For anyone who has used one, how difficult is it
for a novice to operate? To give an idea of the scale, I've got roughly 700
SF of walls and 500 SF of ceilings to do.
Having done a fair amount of taping on a new house, and several remodels,
I'd suggest you get a price from guys who do it professionally. It looks
easy when they are doing it; but, like anything esle, requires some
experience. Take up the ukulele, while they are doing the job! *G*
I meant to mention that I'm considering that at the same time. We have very
good friends who have a carpentry contracting business and have guys they
could send out (at my cost, of course). But I'm stubborn about wanting to
do things myself if I can. If it was the living room, I'd definitely send
in the pros. We'll see. By the time I'm done hanging drywall, I'll
probably be tired of the whole thing and want someone to finish it anyway.
With the self-adhesive mesh tape I don't believe a banjo is required. It
goes on pretty easily and doesn't come up even if you're a bit heavy on the
knife. I think it's even better than the paper tape in the corners.
Difference for the amount you're working probably wouldn't make the price of
I used self adhesive mesh, found it easier overall than paper tape.
If you are inexperienced, hard to properly bed paper tape so that
bubbles don't follow you out on each successive coat. I also used
metal backed inside corner tape, once again, to make the job easier
for a guy who doesn't do this every day and doesn't like to do it in
the first place.
I've had issues with the metal backed tape rusting and bleeding
through the paint, which might be an issue depending on the OP's
location and shop heating and cooling. There are alternatives, such
as http://www.straitflex.com/sfmedium.htm Generally, I only use the
stuff on oddball corners, and on occasion outside corners. Mesh or
paper tape is fine for most all 90 degree interior corners.
The banjo is probably overkill for what the OP needs to do, but I'm
the last one to tell someone to not buy a tool. ;) If you haven't
read Ferguson's book on drywall and taping, you should. He also has a
forum on JLC's web site http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=4
I thoroughly agree with that. One of the things you'll find is that
generally he prefers paper tape for new work and mesh for repairs. He
says paper tape, properly mudded is stronger than the mesh which
merely "sticks" to the surface of the sheetrock.
By the way, there's only one way to get decent at taping and that's to
tape. With regard to the banjo, in the words of the immortal John
Wayne in "True Grit": too much gun.
Do the tapered joints first. Lay some mud in the ditch, cover with
tape, then run the knife (I use an 8" for this pass). Do not attempt
to get a paint ready smooth finish on this pass. The goal is just to
get a basically level (or even slightly depressed) surface. The two
main surfaces of the sheetrock outside the tapers making up the ditch
are the striking gauges for the knife which acts as a screed.
For the next layer of mud, first knock down any blemishes with the
next knife (I use a 10" for this pass), then apply some mud
essentially the same as you did for pass #1 (but a whole lot less of
it). The longer knife will help feather out the mud beyond the ditch
and the initial application.
For the third layer, repeat the above (except I use a 12" for this
pass). It will take very little additional mud to cover, and your
application should be more in line with a smoothing action than one of
Rules for mud:
1) If you want a decent job, you will need three applications.
2) Do not attempt to declare any mudding complete with fewer than
3) In the event of any questions regarding Rule #2, see Rule #1.
4) The amount of mud you use in passes 2 and 3 should probably total
less than the amount you used in pass 1.
Corners are a variation of the theme. I do adjacent corners one side
at a time, except for bedding the tape. The pros do them all at once.
I originally bought a cornering tool, but I didn't use it the last
couple of jobs, as I find it winds up leaving too much mud in the
I'm not getting it. The mesh is held by its own stickum and the same mud
that holds the fiber tape, both above and below and in the case of mesh,
through the medium. Seems like it would act like a steel mesh in concrete.
I don't know if it is stronger or not, but I built my shop over
fifteen years ago, and have had not problems with the mesh. No cracks
or splits even around door headers, which surprised me. The point
is, if your goal is not to become proficient at drywall finishing, but
only get the job done, mesh is easier.
I'm in the initial stages of a shop expansion, and it will be mesh
I believe his point is that there is no mud between the mesh itself and
the wall. Thus, the mesh itself sticks to the wall fairly poorly, and
is held on mostly by the mud squeezing between the holes in the mesh and
sticking to the wall.
With paper tape the mud bonds the tape to the wall over it's entire
surface, and the next layer of mud bonds to the tape. Overall it's a
Whether the difference is meaningful is another issue, but I've read
more than one book that suggests paper tape is stronger overall.
: Lay the tape by hand. By the time you finish, you'll have
: enough practice under your belt not to need a banjo. The only
: taping tools you really need are a 5 gallon pail of mud an a
: 6" knife.
I found that a J roller was inexpensive and very helpful.
Take this for what it may be worth to you, but I've known several drywallers
well enough to help them out on jobs if they were short handed and only one
had a banjo...not that he used it, he just had it because he thought that
he'd need one when he started out, but it's faster without it.
Me, I never use one...not that I'm a great mudder, you understand, but I can
hold my own and it just seemed like more hassle than it's worth.
Just my thoughts, anyway
???????????? Faster without it? Can he do a whole house in less than a day
and a half? A crew of 3 using banjos can do a whole 2,000SF home in an
Easiest way to do this without paying for a banjo is to simply lay down a
bed of drywall mud on your joints and wet your tape before putting it on the
mud. I use a bucket of water and cut it to length first, then a quick dip
in the bucket of water. Then I sumply use the knife to press the tape into
the mud. However, unless I am doing just a patch job, next time I need to
do some amount of taping (a room or more) I will be gettign a banjo. What
the pros do is messy and they hold the end of hte tape and slap about 16" of
mudded tape to the joint, hold the spot with their hand, and do another 16"
again. They keep doing this until the whole ceiling is done, then run a
wide drywall knife over the tape to smooth it out. Slick actually!
Just saying what the pros told me. I will only say that the times I've
helped them, we went fast enough. Largest job I was on with them was about
3000 sq ft, give or take a square, and with a crew of 5, drywall was hung in
15 hours and the first coat of mud took just over 12 hours.
Plenty fast enough for my tastes.
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