The goal of every professional finisher is to maximize finish quality and board feet while minimizing effort and eliminating callbacks. Fortunately, there are dozens of tricks, shortcuts and trade secrets that have been developed by Ames Taping Tools over the company’s 70-year history.

Q: My tape always seems to wrinkle when I use a corner roller. Am I doing something wrong?

A:Wrinkles usually happen if you start to roll your corners from one end of the corner to the other instead of from the middle. Try starting from the center and working toward each end first, then roll the entire length of the corner once the tape is embedded. Also, check to be sure that the rollers are turning freely as this could cause the roller to drag the tape and create wrinkles.

Q: When should you use the straight box handle versus a bent handle?

A:The type of box handle you use is really a personal preference. The Ames EasyFinish straight box handle provides solid control to cleanly sweep the boxes off the joint, while the bent handle is ideal if you finish a lot of flat or butt drywall joints over shoulder height. The bent handle provides natural leverage that makes depressing the pressure plate of the finishing box easier. If you stand your drywall vertically, the EasyFinish bent handle can help reduce the effort when boxing these drywall joints.

Q: Why do I get scratches in the joint compound with the nail spotter?

A:Check the blade on the nail spotter to be sure there is no debris. You should also check to see if the blade has been damaged, which sometimes happens when the tool repeatedly strikes the heads of screws or nails that were not properly set.

Q: Where should the crown level be set on my finishing boxes?

A:Generally speaking, the crown for the finishing boxes is usually set at 0 or 1 for the first coat. This provides the maximum amount of crown and effectively fills the joint. For the second application, or topping coat, set the crown to 3 or 4. This reduces the crown and fills in any remaining recesses from the first application. If you apply a third coat-such as you would in Level 5 finishes-set the crown to 5, the least amount of crown.

Q: When I am using my Bazooka automatic taper, why does the tape cut at an angle instead of square?

Be sure to stop running the taper before pulling back on the control tube to cut the tape. When you stop running the taper, your natural motion usually makes the taper more square to the wall, resulting in a better, squarer cut.

Q: Why does my corner finisher leave edges?

A:Ames’ corner finishers are factory calibrated to feather both edges of the inside corner joint simultaneously. If your corner finisher is leaving one edge, be sure to apply equal pressure to both sides by centering the tool in the corner. If the edges are occurring on both sides of the inside corner joint, the blades of the corner finisher are most likely worn.