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 In Tricks of the Trade

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Whenever I have to cut down a sheet of plywood, I reach for one of my trusty metal stud straightedges. Metal studs are available in different thicknesses for different applications. For example, a 20-gauge non-load-bearing drywall stud wont deflect significantly when its not clamped to an 8 long sheet of plywood.

I bought 35/8 by 9 metal studs at my local drywall supplier. Home centers usually stock lighter 25-gauge studs, but they can special-order the heavier gauge for you (25-gauge studs deflect about 1/8 over 8). I trimmed one stud down to 8 6 for ripping and cut the other stud to use for crosscutting. — Dennis Densmore

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