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Posted By: SteveMc Can lights - 03/17/04 11:05 AM
Anyone have a suggestion on how to cut holes in sheetrock for can lights. I have a side job this coming weekend and need to install about 7 cans. I've used a rotozip in the past, but don't have one now. I hate to buy one just for this job. Of course I could just use a sheetrock saw, but they don't give the smooth cut of a rotozip. Any ideas would be appreciated.
Posted By: electure Re: Can lights - 03/17/04 01:18 PM
There are special hole cutters made for this purpose.
Greenlee makes the #6923, which is an adjustable hole cutter.
I don't suggest them, though. They have a strong tendency to walk their way right across the ceiling, doing more damage than good.

[This message has been edited by electure (edited 03-17-2004).]
Posted By: earlydean Re: Can lights - 03/17/04 02:50 PM
I always used the sheetrock saw (cut a little snug), then would dress it with a linoleum knife to remove the paper noodles.
Posted By: Jps1006 Re: Can lights - 03/17/04 08:32 PM
I've always used a sheetrock saw too and never had any problems with the rough edge. I just cut and go. It gets covered anyway.

If your using remodeling cans (depending on the brand) a tight hole sometimes can blowout the drywall when you shift the angle as you "jam" it up. The key to cutting that hole is: not too big, not too small, but just right........

I do use a 6-5/8" greenlee hole saw too, but more for 2X2 ceiling tiles. At $40 for the cup (no arbor) you'd probably be better off with the rotozip.
Posted By: Haligan Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 12:13 AM

My HVAC installer buddy uses his Rotozip for that. Every hole he tries to cut comes out shaped like a dinosaur.

Nora Lighting makes an expensive looking hole cutter that will go through 7/8's wood or rock smoothly. Adjustable up to 8". The pictures I've seen look very, very smooth. Even catches the dust.
Posted By: OreElect Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 01:06 AM
I use a 6 3/8 hole saw with my 18 volt milwaukie cordless.To keep the dust down,I use a cardboard box cut down to like 3",putting a hole in the center of the box with the drill on the botton.Fast and easy.I use a carbide hole saw when instaliing in L&P. The 6 3/8 I use for Halo
and a 6 7/8 for Marco.And for sure use the remodel housing. One other old way I have used to keep the dust down is use a half of a basketball instead of the box.
Posted By: Scott35 Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 08:27 AM
I hate to give away possible trademarkable inventions - of some stature, but per the holes for Recessed Fixtures (Can Lights), I have made several home made hole saw looking assemblidges which work great for drilling nice clean holes in Drywall and T-Bar Ceiling Tiles.

Using fine toothed bandsaw blades fitted onto a square piece of Plywood, you can create a large sized holesaw.

I picked up the bandsaw blade stock from a friend whom is in the business of making replacement bandsaw blades for Commercial and Industrial use, but even the ones from portable bandsaws will work. The best for me so far use 32 TPI metal cutting blades.

On a suitable piece of Plywood, scribe the circular limit line. With a Router and a small diameter bit (set to about ¾ the depth of the Plywood), route out the scribed line.
Insert some tough Glue - like an Expoxy, into the groove. With the bandsaw blade cut to fit the circumference, insert it into the groove. Add more Glue to both sides of the blade at the bottom.
Find the center of the circle and insert a suitable pilot device for stablizing and centering the apparatus.
Let dry a few days, then use away!

If done right, they last quite long! Takes some time to get the hang of it, but that's part of the fun!

Not being able to find holesaws of sizes like 6" and up (or if found, the sky-high prices makes one unconscience for several minutes!), I resorted to the option of creating my own saws.

Would like to get away from the Plywood base and go towards something metallic - and of one single piece for pilot / chuck extension and arbor.

Just a suggestion.

Posted By: SteveMc Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 11:09 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions. It's been a while snce I've instaled remodel cans n sheetrock, but I haven't forgotten what a pain in the a** the last ones were. Not much room for error. I have the same problem as mentioned above, lack of control, even with the circle cutter. I may see if I can go teh homemad hole saw route. I have a friend that teaches a machinist class and should have some band saw materal. I let you guys know how it went next week.
Posted By: mvrandazzo Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 09:50 PM
I also use the 6-3/8" hole saw. I am not sure of the brand name. I got it from the big orange box for around $30-$40. I use a standard hole saw arbor. I start the hole in reverse using my 14.4V cordless to scar the surface and then put it in reverse for the rest of the way. I do dispise the dust thrown all over. But it is quick and neat.

Blessings, Mark
Posted By: Electricmanscott Re: Can lights - 03/18/04 10:36 PM
For sheetrock the keyhole saw is the fastest, neatest and easiest. For plaster roto zip and good shop vac can't be beat. If you use the tool properly you should have no trouble.
Posted By: NJwirenut Re: Can lights - 03/19/04 03:48 AM
Another vote for the 6 3/8" hole saw. The one I have is a carbide grit edge, as opposed to traditional saw teeth. The circular grit edge has a lot less tendency to grab or skate across the ceiling than the adjustable cutters do. No good on wood or metal, but does a GREAT job on sheetrock and ceiling tiles. Price wasn't all that outrageous, at around $25.

Before I bought it, I was using a regular sheetrock saw, which worked ok, but was slow. Bought the hole saw when I got a job that involved 40+ remodel cans, and it paid for itself in time savings the first day... [Linked Image]
Posted By: Active 1 Re: Can lights - 03/19/04 06:09 AM
I use a sharp drywall saw. I have the one that folds up and uses sawsall blades. I bend the tip slightly. That way when I'm crancking out those circles my blade does not slip out on the down stroke and nick the cieling on the up stroke. That happens to me after cutting a lot of holes especially if I'm reaching out far. They don't make as much dust as a power tool. With a box undernieth the mess is not too bad.

Someone gave me a Greenlee adjustable hole cutter for Christmas but it broke before the 1st hole was done.

I seen the hole saws go out of control on the drywall before so I don't want to practice on the customers homes.

A roto zip with a circle cutter might work nice. I don't have the skill to use one free hand.

Posted By: sparked Re: Can lights - 03/20/04 03:07 AM
I have some kind of compass type thing I use. I believe its made by Wal-Borard Tools. You tun the knob and set the diameter you want. The spike goes on the midpoint and you turn it to score the sheetrock. Then I use a keyhole saw to cut out the circle along the mark scored by the tool. I've had too many hole saws lose control and go for a quick dance across the ceiling, tearing up the ceiling, so i try to avoid them.
Posted By: electure Re: Can lights - 03/21/04 03:33 AM
sparked, You've got the tool that the "good old boy" drywallers use. They actually work great in conjunction with a hammer.
Some thing that helps a little bit with the holesaws and drywall; Run them in reverse slowly with a very light touch initially, and make sure you keep it squared to the work surface. You wont dull your holesaw as fast, either

[This message has been edited by electure (edited 03-20-2004).]
Posted By: cavo148 Re: Can lights - 03/23/04 02:25 AM
"...The one I have is a carbide grit edge, as opposed to traditional saw teeth."

NJwirenut, I just bought one of those over the weekend and used it today with an 18V. Dewalt battery drill. The grit holesaw, brand name was Remgrit I think, worked great. It works really well if you let the holesaw seat at the bottom of the arbor instead of leaving a gap while using the pins, it tended to wobble too much that way. The Greenlee adjustable cutter was horrible when I experimented with it, I wouldn't risk using it on a finished ceiling.

BTW, the Remgrit may be made by Remington. The package had the same familiar green and yellow coloring as Remington ammo boxes.


[This message has been edited by cavo148 (edited 03-22-2004).]
Posted By: SteveMc Re: Can lights - 03/30/04 09:37 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions. Since these were cheap can lights (HO provided) they required a 5 3/8" hole and had a tiny trim (no room for error). I chose to go with the adjustable Ideal(R) hole cutter which is designed with two cutter blades on an arbor. Big mistake. It only adjusted in 1/2" increments and cuts a sloppy hole. The darn thing hung while cutting one hole and caused my drill to slam into the top of a cabinet and bust the trim. I'll have to reimburse the HO to have it repaired (I should send the bill to Ideal(R)). You can bet this is the last time I'll use the Ideal(R) cutter or install cheap can lights.
Posted By: electure Re: Can lights - 03/31/04 11:33 AM
The darn thing hung while cutting one hole and caused my drill to slam into the top of a cabinet

Posted By: DougW Re: Can lights - 05/09/04 01:50 PM
In case anyone needs more info:

(Check p. 9 of the PDF for Remgrit hole saws)

BTW, my foreman taught me the trick of using a carbide grit blade in my sawzall for drywall/plaster work. Beats changing wood blades every 5 minutes, and the wall doesn't flake apart on you.

[This message has been edited by DougW (edited 05-09-2004).]
Posted By: Joey D Re: Can lights - 05/09/04 11:19 PM
I vote for the Roto Zip and a shop vac. It can't be beat and is very easy to use. I use it for every hole I cut, old work ect.
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