How to Use a Quick-Load Drywall Taper

Taping drywall isn't a demanding job, but it can be time-consuming, especially when you're working in more than one room.
A drywall banjo significantly reduces the time needed to tape drywall.A drywall banjo significantly reduces the time needed to tape drywall.
A quick-load drywall taper, also known as a drywall banjo, can cut the time needed for taping significantly, and it's also a less messy alternative to hand taping. A new banjo costs a little less than $100, so it's more practical to rent one if you're only taping a single room. You can use the same joint compound in a banjo you would use for hand taping, but you have to thin it somewhat.

Step 1

Open a 5-gallon pail of premixed drywall joint compound and transfer one or two gallons to an empty 5-gallon pail. Add 1 cup of water per gallon to the mud and mix it with a mud masher, which resembles a potato masher on a long pole. The mud should be stiff but pourable when you're done.

Step 2

Load a roll of paper drywall tape into the holder on the top of the tool. Open the mud chamber door and feed the end of the tape trough the chamber. Pull it out from the opposite end.

Step 3

Pull the tape away from the walls of the chamber and pour mud into the chamber. When the chamber is full, close the door and pull on the end of the tape. The bottom side should be evenly coated with a thin layer of mud. Adjust the chamber opening by turning the adjustment screw if there is too much or too little mud.

Step 4

Hold the end of the tape against the wall at one end of a seam you need to cover and pull the banjo away from that end. As the tape stretches out, press it against the seam. When you reach the other end of the seam, cut the tape by using a quick, shearing motion with the blade on the end of the machine. Alternatively, rip the tape by hand.

Step 5

Flatten the tape against the wall with a 4-inch drywall knife, just as you would if you were hand taping. As excess mud oozes out from under the tape, transfer it to a mudding trough so you can recycle it.

Step 6

Use the banjo to tape inside corners by starting at one end and stretching the tape out to the other end, pushing the tape into the corner as you go. Flatten the tape along each wall that forms the corner separately, using a 4-inch drywall knife.

Things You Will Need

  • Premixed drywall joint compound
  • 5-gallon pail
  • Mud masher
  • Paper drywall tape
  • 4-inch drywall knife

Tips

  • The primary way the banjo saves time is by eliminating the necessity to lay mud under the tape. If the banjo is properly adjusted, and the mud is the right consistency, it also does a neater job than you could do by hand.
  • If the tape isn't coated with mud when you pull it out, the mud may be too thick. Try adding a bit more water to the mud mixture, but be careful. If you make the mud too wet, it will drip out of the chamber.

About the Author

Chris Deziel has a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.