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Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

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Old 07-26-2015, 11:08 AM   #1
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Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

Did my first little bit of steel stud framing on my own this week. Had done a few with the framing crew I was on for awhile, but I was always the guy making cuts all day.

I find that I'm much faster with wood framing, but that makes sense seeing as how I have actual experience with wood framing. I know it can't be inherently slow, or people wouldn't use it, and I have seen jobs where it looks like people just spit the chit out without blinking.

It looks like the boss landed a decent sized commercial job calling for steel stud framing, and seeing as how this is the market he wants to start cornering, I'd much rather come in and knock it out of the park, as opposed to move at an "acceptable" pace while learning as I go. So, to the guys who have done a fair amount of it, where do you see steel rookies making their biggest mistakes as far as productivity goes?
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:39 PM   #2
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Re: Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

Use the right screws for the gauge. You only need to penetrate as deep as necessary. Different type of points for different applications.
Punch Outs always line up..always. Be consistent and cut TOP of studs always. Always.
Almost always for partitions the stud is meant to have a gap at top track. You have wiggle room here. Not critical, means faster production. Use slip track if application allows.
Find your break point with making blocking/ flat strap/ bridging scabs, and buying pre made. Factory is faster than onsite labor, but not always cheaper than a laborer chewin up scraps.
Carry several c-clamp vise grips on your bags with regular tips. Mandatory second hand.
Learn all the different sizes, types, pieces. Look through a catalog. There ends up being a product for everything. Don't be afraid to make clips to hang furring from, backing, or whatever. I find this easier to do than with wood.
Carborundum blade on a cutoff saw is cheapest way to get it done. Grinder for pickup work. Shears when noise/sparks present a concern.
I think getting creative with track/ stud/ gauge has made headers, headouts, etc. so much easier. Especially against out of plumb/ level existing tie ins, tight fits for structural components.

Earplugs, safety glasses, and maxiflex gloves mandatory.

Get good with the product, I think you will end up being faster.


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Old 07-26-2015, 04:45 PM   #3
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Re: Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

With steel studs you don't have to be as precise as wood. Like above, always pull from bottom to get your cut. When we use light gauge (20) they are usually bundled in 10. I'll cut a whole bundle at a time on the chop saw. We use a stud shear often. And if you need only a couple studs or modification, snips, speed square and a knife to score is often quicker then walking to saw.

When we join our top track, some guys like to butt them and then screw a small piece of stud inside of it. I find a 2" slit at each adjoining end works quicker, then they slide together and you don't have a splice which could interfere with layout.

We do layout to the center of the stud. Putting hard/soft side to layout depends on your hangers preference. We use 1/2" self tapping phillips screws and the small Vise Grip clamps, they work great.

You will find your rhythm, I still prefer wood, but the weight, consistency and speed of installation is nice with steel.
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Old 07-28-2015, 06:05 PM   #4
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Re: Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

Haven't had a chance to look at this yet, thanks for the replies!
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:18 PM   #5
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Re: Steel Stud Framing - Tips For Productivity

Get precut studs. I'm not sure if it's cheaper, but it'll save a lot of cutting, and noise. I hate that sound.

Open (soft) side of the stud faces where you pulled layout from.

Quick clamps are a must. 6" are the smaller ones. Get one or two 12" just to have handy.

Go with the slit method when joining top tracks. Saves a helper hand, makes it easier to hold it in place while fastening in place.

Little spring clamp for holding your tape in place while pulling layout. Tapes always slip off the edge when pulling. Or a magnetic tipped tape. Which sticks to EVERYTHING.

Sharpies. Lots of sharpies. The milwauke inkzall markers are good too.

Layout, and mark, centers of studs, not edges. Saves headaches later when someone lays out and someone else installs, even if you're the same someone.
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