If you’re cutting drywall, then invariably you’ve run across the need for an accurate drywall square. For more complex cuts, a model like the aluminum Swanson AD124 48″ Adjustable Drywall Square gives you the flexibility to cut angles without having to reach for another tool. It features a fully-adjustable head that locks into place with a positive 90-degree stop, but can also support 30, 45, 60, and 75-degree angles and anything in between. This is the perfect one-stop tool for drywall professionals who find themselves wanting to layout and cut multiple angles on a single sheet for more difficult rooms or applications. We used the Swanson Adjustable Drywall Square for laying out pieces of drywall we filled in while renovating a 1920’s-style bathroom. While not an expensive tool, the Swanson AD124 Square saved us a ton of time and energy.
The Swanson AD124 48″ Adjustable Drywall Square, like many of the company’s products, is made from a high-grade aluminum that all but eliminates corrosion and keeps the tool stiff, so your measurements and cuts remain accurate and true over the long haul. The measurements for length, which are given as both overall and from the perpendicular bar, are thermo-bonded so they won’t rub off from normal use (though if you scratch them with something metal they will wear off). Additionally, the angle measurements on the perpendicular bar are slightly stamped into the metal – which is a good idea, though in our sample the printing was slightly off, resulting in some premature deterioration of the markings. Over time this might be an issue, but it should last long enough to not be all that big of a concern.
We like the thickness and heavy-duty feel of the Swanson AD124 Drywall Square. At just over 3 pounds, it has enough heft to help keep itself on the drywall when you’re making a cut. Any lighter and it might slide all over the place or require an inordinate amount of top-down pressure to keep it in position. We liked how easy it was to adjust the angle and keep it in place. The positive lock at 90 degrees is also nice (and standard on most adjustable drywall squares we’ve seen) and features a slight stair-step to ensure it doesn’t have a lot of play once in position. This was an easy tool to adjust and use and it facilitated quick and repeatable cuts.
Swanson AD124 Drywall Square Testing in the Field
We got a chance to use the Swanson AD124 Adjustable Drywall Square on sheetrock we were placing on a wall to repair and renovate a 1920’s Bungalow home. The job entailed replacing damaged tile with a more period specific subway tile and chair rail that we picked up from Lowe’s Home Improvement Store. Because we were cutting around an existing window and matching up against existing plaster and lathe, the Swanson Square got a chance to really spreads its wings on a variety of cuts.
Using a razor knife was easy, and it just took a little pressure against the length of the square to ensure the blade stayed aligned properly. The almost 1/8″ thickness of the aluminum makes it easy to get a clean cut without worry that you’ll damage the metal or come overtop of the edge. The perpendicular bar is nearly twice as thick, almost 1/2″, and made it easy to grip the edge of the drywall and secure the square in place as we made our cuts. In fact, in using this tool it really just became a part of the process that quickly faded into obscurity. The tool disappeared from our thoughts because it worked well and didn’t require a lot of effort or thought. We just grabbed it, made our marks, cut the lines and kept moving. Having a durable, thick, and solid drywall square like this also removes a complete step from the process if you know what you’re doing – marking the drywall. For example. Once we found the correct horizontal point for our straight cuts, the trust in the tool (and its rigid construction) allowed us to run the razor down the length of the square without worrying about first drawing a line.
There’s really not much else to say about the Swanson AD124 adjustable drywall square. It’s easy to use, durable and inexpensive for what it offers. It doesn’t stand out all that much from the crowd in many respects, but it doesn’t really have to. For professionals as well as consumers we can heartily recommend the Swanson Adjustable Drywall Square with a Performance and Value rating of 7/10. If you need a new drywall square, this is one of the easiest and best purchases you can make. The fact that it’s durable and folds down compactly to store as a single straight 48″ piece of aluminum is just icing on the cake.