A reader came across drywall-specific utility knife blades at the hardware store, and asked a fair question – are they actually better for cutting drywall?
I would like some input on this: Drywall vs. Heavy Duty Utility Knife Blades
I ended up buying the heavy duty ones after spending way, way too much time standing there over thinking it.
Man those were sweet – for the 1st 10 cuts or so. That hardened edge is so brittle that after 10+ cuts if you look really close it’s got a bunch of chips out of it, almost looking serrated. The chips then get bigger of course as you go on.
I was hoping you could get some comments/input from actual drywall guys to see what they think about this particular question, as well as which ones they prefer.
(The email was shortened for the sake of brevity.)
I’ve thought about this before, but must admit I have yet to take a closer look.
Milwaukee, Dewalt, and other brands offer drywall-specific utility knife blades, but they tend to vague about the benefits over standard and general purpose blades.
Milwaukee says: Optimized grind angles deliver improved sharpness for less repeat cuts.
Images of the blades don’t show much differences, but they are also unlikely to.
Dewalt says this about their drywall blades: Engineered edge for cutting abrasive drywall materials, and Drywall Utility Blades offer a long life and are not easily confused with other blades as they have the word DRYWALL etched into them.
I would think that drywall-specific utility knife blades are designed to be tougher than standard and heavy duty general purpose utility knife blades.
A cutting edge with higher edge hardness can provide greater sharpness retention. But, higher hardness can also go hand-in-hand with brittleness.
As David mentioned, cutting into drywall with a heavy duty blade resulted in a lot of chips.
So, it seems likely that drywall blades should be tougher and slightly less hard, to help them last longer when cutting drywall and similar abrasive materials.
If all you’re doing is cutting drywall, it might be worth it to equip a utility knife with drywall-specific blades.
All this is speculative. I don’t cut drywall day in and out, but I’m betting some of you do.
Do you use drywall utility knife blades? Have you seen any differences? Have they been worth it for you? Do you have a favorite brand?
I’m interested in this too. I hate cutting drywall. Having to do it as a teen really cemented me going to college. I can’t say I was affected by the blades though, being impatient and uncoordinated was my issue.
I’m not a drywaller, per se, but I’ve hung a lot of it over the years. Some folks who don’t have a lot of experience with drywall, think the deeper you try to score the board, the easier it will be to break. Personally, I just score the paper, barely getting into the core, then snap it off. The break seems cleaner. I cut maybe an eighth of an inch deep.
Likewise. I’ve found that I can do hundreds of scoring cuts before a blade gets to where it’s not so usable. Even then, wiping off the blade, stropping it on an offcut, or giving it a field re-grind on a bit of cement– and they can keep going and going indefinitely. Maybe my panel work is a little slapdash, but the only time I find myself going for a fresh blade is when cutting bevels for the end-butt joints. And for that I often use snap off blades — the Olfa super-hard blades are ace for this. Tajima regular and extra hard blades, as Fred mentioned, also great. Another sleeper on hard-wearing, expendable metallurgy is SDI, made in Taiwan. In fact, I often use snap off blades for drywall, or whatever already used blades are on hand, diminished to the point that they are no longer suitable for clean work.
These are good points. I switch blades when I can’t cut the paper cleanly anymore – not because of how deep I’m scoring the board.
I’m not a drywaller though, just done a few basements, ceilings and repairs, etc. I’ve never thought to buy drywall-specific blades, but I’m curious about those who have whether there is a noticeable benefit.
I agree. I think these guys are trying to cut all the way thru the piece. You only need to break the paper.
I do a lot of electrical work which is scoring various kinds of plastic and rubber and quite often cutting against metal (copper or aluminum). Often I go through multiple blades in a few minutes. Stropping, grinding, etc. just a waste at $10-15 for a pack of 50 blades.
Thanks for the tip, ill have to try this next time. Ive been flip-flopping recently about my attitude toward drywall. Ive become more of a jack of all trades the last few years. Im not very good at drywall(slow and inefficient). Im not sure if i want to get better or my low skill means i wont get paid to do drywall much and im ok with that.
Just cut the paper clean your blade and you can resharpen with a stone will last a long time.
Pressing too hard on the knife will cause problems in your wrist and finger joints later in your career.
Koko The Talking Ape
I would’ve thought that drywall blades should be harder and less tough (i.e., the opposite of what you proposed), because of the abrasive drywall material.
But now that I think about it, drywall is made mostly of gypsum, which is pretty soft (2 on the Mohs scale, compared to 4 for ordinary steel.) So maybe the steel doesn’t have to be especially hard.
But on the other hand, I know cardboard is very tough on knife blades, even though it’s much softer than steel.
So, what? Should drywall blades be softer and tougher than regular “heavy duty” blades? Why?
I also checked the Mohs hardness value, but it’s difficult to go by that. The Mohs scale is based on scratch resistance.
It’s possible drywall blades are even harder, to better hold an edge against drywall. But if standard blades chip, as has been in the reader’s experience, then harder edges would chip even more so.
But if drywall blades were harder and sharper, they’d be even better suited for everyday tasks as well. There wouldn’t need to be any distinction.
Like I said, I’m speculating here.
It seemed like a good idea to ask for readers’ collective experiences before digging deeper.
Koko The Talking Ape
“But if drywall blades were harder and sharper, they’d be even better suited for everyday tasks as well.” If they’re harder, they’d typically be more brittle, and would chip more, wouldn’t they? That might not be good for certain tasks.
Since it isn’t clear whether cutting drywall would need a harder (and more brittle) or softer (and tougher) blade, I wonder if “drywall” is just a word they printed on regular utility blades. Ink is cheap (as we all know!)
Maybe somebody with a Rockwell testercan give us some answers.
If standard blades chip extensively when cutting drywall, drywall-specific blades should be slightly less hard and tougher. Or the bevel angle could be different, but it would be difficult to see this in both product images and real-world examination due to the scale involved.
If increased abrasive resistance and edge retention is needed, that’s completely opposite chip resistance.
A Rockwell tester isn’t going to do a lot here I don’t think. It’s possible edge hardness is going to be different than spine hardness, and minimum thickness requirements might come into play.
This is why I thought it would be best for users with extensive drywall-cutting experience to chime in.
I don’t cut drywall enough to have observed repeated blade wear/damage patterns.
Blades don’t need much edge for drywall. Two of the best drywallers I’ve known barely use their knives, the edge of the tape measure scores it enough to snap. I’d imagine these are similar – with a thicker, less razor-like, edge. The aggressive teeth on something like a jabsaw is way better if you need to do anything other than size and snap.
Carpet is the nastiest thing I’ve cut – it’s rather soft, but just destroys blades and then punishes you further if you don’t keep swapping them. It’s definitely worth using quality and properly designed blades for this.
Drywall is more about finesse than the blades. It’s somehow both soft and brittle – you’re really just starting a line to fold and break along. Don’t bury the blade deep and drag hard. It’s should glide easy. Most issues I’ve seen involved tip breaks from having a little wiggle, otherwise I’ve literally kept blades I’ve nicked on something hard like a hidden fastener because they’ll still score drywall, so they get a second life if they aren’t totally destroyed.
Yeah, Mohs hardness is just a relative number. It means that cutting something softer than the blade will dull the blade slower than cutting something as hard as the blade. But it does dull the blade no matter what. It’s just a matter of how long. A diamond scribe of hardness 10 will eventually dull from cutting (scratching the surface of) glass of hardness 5. Personal experience and understanding of physics.
Another factor is particulate matter, like sand particles and other debris, that is in the paper and the gypsum. That’s what abrades the edge the fastest. Fortunately it is not at all hard to sharpen the blade as I pointed out previously.
I would guess they are just made out of a more abrasion resistant steel like A2 or D2 or some proprietary alloy.
That’s if they actually designed to last longer.
Not at 32 cents each.
Personal experience hanging 300+ sheets drywall over the years. I’ve found buying good quality blades like Lenox or Irvine cut great stay sharp never bought a specific drywall blade.
I cut my fair share of Drywall. I don’t usually look for blades specifically marketed towards Drywall. Out of 3 different manufacturers Milwaukee/Dewalt/Irwin. I find Dewalt blades to last the longest when hanging Drywall. I’ve never been impressed with Milwaukee blades at all. I remember Lenox use to make a gold tip blade. They were very expensive but didn’t seem to be any better. If anyone has any other suggestions let me know.
The Dewalt carbide blades are the best all round blades. Milwaukee blades are sharper out of the box, but that just means they dull faster. I liked the Lenox carbide, but for a while I could only find them in 5 packs which made them too expensive.
As I ahve posted before – Tajima were the only blades that I ever recall any of the guys specifically requesting:
10 or more years have past on this experience – but they still may be worth a try.
I can vouch for Tajima blades, I feel like most of the Japanese disposable blade products I have tried were significantly better than anything else although you do tend to pay a bit more for them. All of the OFLA knives and blades I have used have been excellent as well.
Agreed. My favorite blades are probably the Olfa 25mm snap-offs, specifically the black extra-heavy-duty ones. For utility knife blades either Dewalt or Tajima.
At this point? Being totally honest? I genuinely don’t know if anything involving Drywall is truly “Worth It”… I’ve witnessed friends redoing rooms, with store-bought panels, set everything up perfectly, finish everything off beautifully (even artfully in some cases, where they’re dedicating the room to one of their children, and they’ve literally hand-painted the room to suit the child’s tastes.) and then be told by doctors, that despite the respirator coverage, and the safety precautions, they still got some gypsum dust in their lungs. Said friends are currently getting regular screenings for cancer, or cell damage to form.
I have also seen plenty of gadgets, meant for many tools, to deal with drywall as quickly, cleanly, and efficiently as possible. From Oscilating Tool Blades that cut perfect outlet holes, to drill extenders that have a mechanism to do the same thing, but never need to replace the blades. Only to have to compete with the good ol’ cutting or rotary tool, with Drywall blade. Only difference with those being, it’s not just for cutting outlets, it’s for cutting sheets to size, and even to mitre them in some cases. So many options! All of them make some sort of logical sense, too!
Then… Something floods… or pipes wear out, burst, or mysterious stains show up where no one could possibly have reached the Drywall there… We have so many ways of working with this flimsy material, I often wonder if Drywall itself is worth using. Ready made plaster-like walls? Still believe in it… but Gypsum-Based Fibre Board, with Paper on both sides of the compacted dust layer? It genuinely makes me wonder if we can’t do significantly better, don’t you?
Something more Blade-Friendly perhaps? Blade in all senses of that word, across all the tools I mentioned, plus others. A product that isn’t so… oddly feeble, despite its simple effectiveness. Maybe something that could self-seal, or repel water, or generally endure more, without resorting to extortionate price increases. And… yeah… Maybe something that isn’t dust-based inside? Maybe a Resin, or Polycarbonate base? Something poured, and easy to handle safely? I dunno… I skipped a night of sleep, and these are just random ideas.
Drywall blades are what we have for Drywall right now. I genuinely don’t know if that’s a good thing, or a sign of the apocalypse. Hell, I think I saw a Mastercraft Drywall-Specific 6-1/2” Circular Saw Blade at Canadian Tire once… They were on clearance for some reason… possibly because they didn’t sell well, or perhaps they discontinued them… I’m not sure… They may even have made a new version and wanted to get rid of the old ones. With such importance put on handling Drywall so many ways, I genuinely wonder if, perhaps, the better question might end up being… Can we do better than Drywall, so that there becomes a more obvious answer to the question?
I suppose I should be getting regular screenings too, considering I drywalled and compounded my entire house without a respirator…
Actually, it’s only if you develop certain airway symptoms, like coughing up blood, or other actual indicators that there’s something wrong with your lungs.
The friend I’m talking about is a guy whose Mom was my Mother’s best friend, and between myself, and her three sons, we were kinda Co-Momed… They’re like my Brothers… This one happened to be having a second daughter, and so had to redo one of the crappier rooms in his house for his elder daughter. He is no idiot when it comes to building. All three of my Brothers from that family connection are amazingly skilled tradesmen. He did the room, used a proper respirator mask and sealed goggles, the whole bit. Blew the dust off afterward, and some time between finishing the job on the drywall, and cleaning up the dusty room, prepping it to be painted, he inhaled a few particles that had accidentally got kicked up by the vacuum.
Now… It’s not as bad as Asbestos, don’t worry. It’s not instant Carcinoma. It’s just, any kind of actual physical particle of something to get into the tiny bronchi of our lungs, causes them to clog, and form a sort of “Zit”… Sorta…. Cells grow around it in the hopes the immune system can eat it up and flush it away. So, like Cancer-Cell growth, it shows up on x-rays as a cluster of cells, where there shouldn’t be any. It’s effectively just trying to hold the foreign debris still, while the body tries to destroy it. But like Cancer, that means you have damage to your total lung surface. Also like Cancer, cells growing in your Lungs, pushes on, and breaks, some blood vessels and veins…. Some slightly unpleasant pains and coughing come out of this. On the up side, a tiny grain won’t grow out of control, like Cancer. It’ll stay tiny, and just annoy you until they can remove it in a biopsy. Then your lung just says “Oh good, it’s gone now!” and you return to normal. But scar tissue remains. And that means you’re more likely to actually have a weak spot, if you’re already prone to Cancer Genetically, or are a Smoker, that you’re giving it a place to take hold and grow past Stage 1 quickly.
That Dear Sir, Dominic… is why my Brother is regularly undergoing checks on his lungs. He grew up in a smoking household, he smokes, and his Mother died of Pancreatic Cancer before his kids could be born. So he has the family history, as well as the carcinogens going in his body. He has it checked regularly, even though they got the Gypsum out, because he knows he’s at a higher risk now. He’s only doing it to make sure they catch any Cancer at Stage 1, where completely harmless Stereoscopic Radiation can just target the tiny tumors and zap them into oblivion, rather than grow into a killer disease. Considering he’s currently… Well… I think he’s around 4-6 years younger than I am, I can never get their ages perfect, he’s just cautious because he genuinely had proof of real health problems. Only if you develop real health problems, should you start a regimen of regularly checking yourself.
And Stuart? I’m sorry about how off-topic this is, but I wanted to cover and clarify that Drywall isn’t some magic Cancer Material, nor am I saying it is some product to be feared. It’s just that it has some statistically borderline-impossible adverse health effects if certain conditions happen. I don’t want Dominic S here, going to the doctor, and sounding like a hypochondriac or lunatic, if he has no symptoms to report. It could cost him a lot of money if he does that. I just wanted to explain Symptoms are what you should monitor first.
And Dominic? If you’ve lasted so long doing Drywall, I would imagine you’re still in that 99.99999999% range of safety, and are doing everything right. But, please, stay safe and healthy, okay? I want you to go through all this with confidence, not fear. Out of compassion for a fellow human being, I don’t want you to do anything too severe, and I don’t want you to endure the annoyances my Brother goes through every year. We’re Canadian, so the checkups are free (unless you drive yourself, then it’s gas money, (and probably parking as well, at the hospitals.) which is minimal compared to the costs it would be in the USA to do the same.
Ive been boarding for more than thirty years. I have copd. My cutting/ screwing wrist gives me very sharp pain when doing certain tasks. My back is an issue every couple of weeks. I have pins and needles running down both legs from wearing my screw pouch on one side and tool pouch on the other. Your partner cant hear the measurements you’re barking out while wearing a respirator. Not to mention how cumbersome they are. My partner and i have to hang 50+ sheets per day to earn a decent living. This is easier physically when you are young but much more difficult as you age. My advice? Kill you child BEFORE they decide to become a drywaller!
I find myself coming down on either side of this argument on occasion. Drywall, when done right, can provide a nice looking wall that’ll last for a long time. It’s fairly easily workable, even though the dust is bad for you. It’s easily patchable and retrofitted, which something like a wood paneling wouldn’t be. For many purposes, these are important, but more so, it’s fire-rated qualities are most important. A drywall assembly is probably one of the simplest firewall methods you can use, and is used extensively in multi family construction and commercial construction. A resin or polyurethane core would likely not be as fire resistant. On the other hand, it’s relatively easily damaged, and does require a surface finish to be presentable. The dust is bad for you and the sheets can be extremely heavy. I think overall, at this point in time, the benefits outweigh the consequences, but it’s entirely possible that might change in the future. Who knows what we could have next?
I wrote very late. I’m not genuinely advocating Resin or Polycarbonate. Just some future product that isn’t powder-based. I couldn’t think of anything at the time.
We have Drywall as a building material right now, and I have lived in a house where the landlord built the house himself, on his own property. He used some really intensely high quality Drywall that was so durable, and flame-retardant (Yes, Retardant. He had a spare piece when we moved in, he held a lighter to it. The paper on the outside burned for five seconds, and went out, without spreading!) that it was nearly like having brick or concrete walls, if not for how smooth it was. He was not playing around when he built the place.
I honestly just think the future is in a less-dusty material, that has fewer issues with being cut. That’s all.
I’m going to cast significant doubt that a DIYer, renovating one room, with a respirator, using modern materials, is now at a higher risk for cancer.
Could there be short term problems from high dust inhalation? Sure, especially if that respirator was affixed around the neck (covid showed that some people don’t understand that a mask doesn’t work over your chin).
Drywall and joint compound contain a fraction of a percent of silica. The long term effects for people other than professionals is assumed to be non existent.
Dust of all types is going to cause irritation in the throat and lungs. That is why every drywall (and joint compound) manufacturer recommends wet sanding or a vacuum to control dust at the source. You can get a HEPA bag for most shop vacs and a vacuum sander all for under $50. Control the dust at the source and it’s not only safer, but also significantly cleaner.
No no, My Brother (Adoptive… Look at my long response to Dominic above.) isn’t at higher risk of Cancer, simply for being around Drywall. It was less likely for him to accidentally inhale some gypsum particles, than it would be for someone to be struck by lightning, while riding a great-white shark that was munching on a surfer… It was a total fluke, and it didn’t give him Cancer. It gave him scar tissue in his lung. Overall, he’s in great shape, but between that scar tissue, and his history of exposure to other carcinogens and history of Cancer in the family? He’s just regularly monitored so they can catch anything early.
That’s all. Plus, this is Canada, and our healthcare system doesn’t charge us. Doctors can be as cautious with us as they wish, we don’t pay the price for it. Sorry for the confusion! Please don’t take it as a slam against drywall as a whole! It is not a certainty, it’s a fluke, I promise you!
Gordon I am a professional boarder. The shit is heavy and dusty. If you want to be productive; youve gotta hang boards. Now, today, governing agencies want you to wear a hard hat safety glasses, gloves, long sleeve shirt, mask, high viz vest. There are times for all of it. Tell me how a high viz vest keeps me safe while im boarding a bathroom on the tenth floor of an apartment with no machines around. Companies only care about the dollars and their insurance/wcb rates. Its not whether the blades are sharp enough. It whether the job is paying what its worth. PS stop importing unsuspecting immigrants to do this brutal labour intensive job on the cheap. Tell me. Whats the oldest boarder you ever met?
Having been in the business for a 50-year span – starting in the 1960’s – I can say that drywall still seems to be “king”. There was a period in the late ’50’s and ’60’s when paneling was the fad. It seemed to appeal to the DIY movement – possibly because it was easy to handle and cut. Jigsaws seemed to become popular too to do outlet cutouts. Paneling stores seemed to spring up – and every home center had a paneling section. Some of it looked good – but a lot of it was IMO cheesy. Many a “finished” basement had walls with paneling over furring strips and similarly installed Celotex ceilings. I can’t count how many of these installations we were asked to rip out over the years – because styles and tastes change.
We also renovated many old houses – some with “real” panels (rails, stiles and set in panels) – some with horsehair plaster over wood lath – some with plaster over metal lath – some with ceramic tiled walls (kitchens and baths) – some with simulated tile (Conga wall) – and even a few with stucco interior walls. Nothing is perfect. Most of my principal residence – has drywall with a coat of plaster over it – which has held up well.
Y’see… Adding the plaster over top makes a lot more sense to me. Paint or wallpaper, whatever the future holds… the main wall is Drywall, it went up fast. The Plaster just makes it more solid, and frankly more like a stone wall. Again, not perfect, but it’s closer to dust-free.
I don’t know what, exactly, it is about Drywall that makes me wonder if it’s truly worth it. The Paper covering being so flimsy? The choice of materials to make artificial Rock out of between the paper layers? Maybe it’s the fact that I have lived in several homes, with varying types of drywall installed, giving me a drastically wide range of opinions on how it performs as a building material? Maybe I just want a new generation of Drywall that requires a specific tool to cut it to size, thus ending this never-ending question about what tool to use forever? Surely, the industry can innovate on building materials as much as it does tools, right?
I dunno… Stuart asked if we should be cutting Drywall with Drywall-Specific knife blades… I couldn’t help wondering, knowing what I know, about whether it’s not the tool we should be questioning, but the material we build with? Maybe I get philosophical when such questions are asked. I’m sorry.
“Stuart asked if we should be cutting Drywall with Drywall-Specific knife blades”…simple question since he came across some.
Plaster won’t stick to drywall properly if it isn’t prepared with a special primer, even then it can come over the years if thee is significant movement.
You are trying to reinvent the wheel. Drywall had been the standard for years because it is cheap, it works, it is readily available and doesn’t require a lot of skilled labor.
Plaster does have certain advantages over drywall, but also many disadvantages. At the end of the day, home construction always looks at what is cheapest when you add the material and time together….thus drywall is the standard
Didnt read it yet but just came across this article.
I dont see drywall going anywhere. The biggest consideration is cost. Also there are currently no alternatives i can think of that dont have similar or worse alternatives in their dust. Part of drywalls advantage is it doesnt readily burn(through). Premade cinderblocks or earthworks like cob are probably the next best alternatives to address your concerns. Modern sensibilities want smooth/uniform walls and that generally requires mixing up some powder and/or smoothing by sanding which creates powder.
The closest comparison i can think of cost-wise is likely roofing. My understanding is Steel roofing offers many advantages to asphalt shingles including less cost per year over the life of the roof yet most people still use shingles because its cheaper.
You’re really talking a paradigm shift and that doesnt happen easily.
If it helps at all, I’m entirely open to the continuation of Drywall as a product, and this “Paradigm Shift” may only come in the form of how said Drywall is made. It would still be Drywall, but perhaps the inside product is bonded with some sort of gel? Maybe a non-Newtonian suspension that goes up smooth, and easy, but holds the dust when cut, because a sudden sharp edge turns the material solid for a split-second?
I genuinely don’t know. I know I wish Drywall was… “Better?” To the point where questions like “Is it worth it?” answer themselves. After all, electronics labs worldwide build rooms that have been designed as Faraday Cages so that the outside world’s radio signals, don’t get picked up by, or interfere with, the calibration equipment they’re using to create a product with a precise antenna. That Faraday Cage is rarely, if ever, built on the inside of the room, hanging off the walls. It’s put underneath, yeah, Drywall. And those tasked with building that signal blocking room don’t have to question what tools will be used to apply the copper meshing to the studs in the wall, or how long they have to wait before allowing themselves to create cuts for windows and doors in the room. And again, they don’t question what tools will do the job. A Faraday cage just needs to be there to catch the signals, and be wired into the Grounding cable of the wiring in the walls.
Drywall is a quick, cheap, easy material. I don’t think we should throw it out (unless it gets damaged, logically.) I just think… Maybe it needs to be improved, so that the tools we use with it become as certain as the tools we use for other specialized functions? If my old Landlord could buy such high-quality, high-safety Drywall, that he could demonstrate its ability to just… put out any fire that happened to catch on its surface paper… And, I might add, endure me tripping and falling into that same drywall in my room, without so much as a mark being left on, or in, the drywall… Then that means Drywall, even if it’s an expensive version of it, is something worth keeping around, it’s very useful. But what about improving on even the best Drywall? To the point where we don’t question utility blade or power tool when cutting it… Drywall that is of X quality and Y price, that using it becomes absolutely undeniable, even if it comes with the Z consequences that only one specific tool/tool class can shape it. I’d be great with that.
I agree with you absolutely – about something better than gypsum drywall. I grew up with brick and plaster walls both external and internal, the only drawback being having to chase the walls to install or move electrical outlets. I’m sure someone will come up with a better solution to gypsum drywall some day, but no doubt only when there is money to be made.
Drywall is called sheet ROCK for a reason. You will do better to buy a good quick change utility knife and change the blade often. If you are doing it all day change the blade at noon and the end of the day. Blades are cheap. Get a good utility knife. Unless they claim to use a different metal I am dubious of any significant blade advantages. To make the blade sharp it has to be thin AND FLEXABLE. hard to keep an edge when the metal needs to flex and not snap.
Best price I found online for 400ct Stanley blades is $.10/blade. Why would I spend $.32/blade? I can generally go through 2-5 blades in a rock session of several rooms. More if I drop the knife (it happens), or I hit something else. Maybe over score to the metal Tsquare, or hit the cement floor I’m cutting on or against. But most sheetrock, I score the front, then snap and slice through the back. For small pieces or complicated cuts, I score a line, then use the saw or drywall tip of the rotary tool (like wallbox/fixture cutouts).
Now if I’m working with Hardy board or Wonderboard… I would like something like a diamond blade…
So off the cuff I figure they are thinner grind. anyone that sharpens knives might recognize blade grind angle vs task up. For example in my kitchen knives my paring knife has the thinnest blade angle (12 degree or such and yes that’s per side). and it’s for fine detail cutting and slicing vegetable skin etc.
Vs my general purpose knife it a bit thicker at 15 degree per side – chef knife even more at 20 per side etc. So my thought here is thinner straighter grind slices the paper lighter and scores the rock thinner, cleaner to make a better break. Meanwhile same angle grind can’t cut a shingle well or at least often. Can’t tolerate more than 3 boxes of cardboard. etc etc.
also if I recall Olfa cutter basic grind it thinner than a GP utility knife blade. and that would also explain why a olfa knife works so well.
also side bit – I’m not 100% sold on drywall either but it is faster and easier than plaster and lathe and I don’t know that plaster is any safer for your lungs since it’s a dust maker too and I forget exactly what’s in it but I’m sure it’s on the cali pro 65 will kill you eventually in 3 lifetimes list.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”? Seems kinda appropriate?
Okay. I’ll go away…
Try a pizza cutter. Sharp breaks and lasts almost forever
Not a pro of any kind but have done drywall many times including right now, redoing a bedroom in my house.
My own personal experience has been that you just need to score the paper, going deeper gets into the gypsum and that will dull your blade more. When the blade is too dull, tearing or pulling strands of the paper, I change the blade.
I use both snap blades, like my Olfa (I have a Dewalt also) or typical utility knife, where once you have used both sides, new blade. I have bought some Stanley and other no name blades in 100 packs for $5. That’s cheap and they work.
Any time I see “specialty” blades, they are always much more expensive and I can’t recall seeing much difference…be it cutting drywall or anything else.
I have never seen any specifically for drywall yet, but I doubt when comparing the cost and how much longer it lasts it would be worthwhile.
I believe a good knife where you can easily change a blade in 5 seconds versus the old style where you had to unscrew it to open it (crazy when I think about it), is a better place to spend the money than on the blades.
I’ve used them and they are better for drywall. They are thinner and seem to be alot sharper… Some of my knives won’t take the heavy duty blades because they are too thick… But yes drywall blades are meant for drywall..
You can just sharpen any utility blade, so a specialized blade like this, which no doubt costs more, is unnecessary. I use this versatile $10 Corona AC 8300 Carbide Garden Tool Blade Sharpener : https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BPASBK/. If the blade is covered in drywall dust, wipe it off. Just stroke one side of the edge until you feel a slight burr on the opposite side with your fingernail. Then gently stroke the opposite side to remove the burr. If this creates a burr on the first side, gently stroke it. Test sharpness by making sure the edge catches on a fingernail. I use this quick sharpener to sharpen kitchen knives, including serrated ones, scissors, curved blades, scalpel blades, garden tool blades, and many more. The carbide edges last indefinitely. Well worth $10. I haven’t changed the blade of my package-opening utility knife in months. The corrugated cardboard of packages abrades the edge so it needs constant sharpening, every time actually. I keep the sharpener next to the knife.