A Shingle Cutter: Either a Roofing Blade or a Utility Knife will suffice. A utility knife is enough for the work, but a roofing knife is more specialized and makes your job simpler. They are available at home improvement stores. These tools are easy to use and affordable.
The best way to choose a tool is by how much material you can cut in one pass. It should be able to cut through several layers of shingle material. Also, look for a tool with a wide blade so that you do not have to go over the same spot multiple times.
Finally, you want a tool that is easy to control. The thinner the better because it means less effort on your part. You also want one that has a long life because you will be using it often!
Overall, a utility knife will get the job done but a roofing knife is an extra piece of equipment that makes your life easier.
A utility knife, a tape measure, a hammer, and a chalk line are the basic instruments used in roofing. Roofing material is cut with a utility knife. A roofer's utility knife includes a knob that twists to open the tool, removing the need for a screwdriver to open and close the tool. The tip of the knife is also angled to provide better control when cutting curves in shingle.
Other tools required for roofing include a hammer and chisel for driving fasteners and knocking down nails, and a saw for cutting materials such as plywood and trusses. Material is supplied in bundles called "shingles" which contain about 100 units. A single shingle usually contains seven layers, although sometimes more or less are included. These layers include: 1 underlay, 2 sheathing, 3 insulation, 4 covering, 5 drip edge, and 6 finish layer. The purpose of each layer is explained below.
The hammer and chisel are used for pounding fasteners into place and driving them through wood so they will hold shingle pieces together. The roofer's hammer has a flat face for hitting metal or plastic fasteners and a claw-like handle for pulling them through soft material like wood. The chisel is similar to a shovel and is used for breaking up concrete slabs before it can be poured, digging post-hole trenches, and carving out areas for windows and doors.
A decent roofing hatchet/hammer features a back blade, a waffled face, a shingle gauge, and is low in weight. AJC's MWT-005-MH 17-oz. Magnet Roofing Hatchet is the greatest roofing hammer. It has a strong steel body and an aluminum head with a magnet attached. This tool is heavy enough to be useful but light enough to be portable.
The standard tool for most jobs is still called a sledgehammer because it works on the same basic design as its ancestor, the sledge. The modern sledgehammer is usually made from wood (often oak) and has a metal head weighing about 15 pounds or more. At its heaviest, a good sledge can break bricks or crush stones. At its lightest, a sledge can be thrown (see "slingstone" for more information). Modern sledgehammers are designed to be easy to handle and provide great force over a wide area. They are also very durable; some have been reported to be used by the same person for many years.
Roofers often use a claw hammer when working on roofs. The claw at the end of the hammer grabs onto sloped surfaces such as those found on shingles or shakes and allows you to lift large sections of material off the roof.
For a cleaner edge, use a craft knife with a sharp blade. The wood may split or rip if you use a dull blade. For the same reason, avoid using scissors, even if you believe the wood is thin enough to be cut this manner. The best tool for the job is a sharp craft knife, razor blade, or Stanley knife. These tools will not break and are easy to sharpen.
Balsa is an affordable material that's widely used in model building projects. It comes in flat sheets that are usually around 1/4" thick. The wood is light, so it's easy to work with, but it can still split if you use a sharp blade. Balsa is available at most hardware stores, often near the plastic-ware section.
You should always wear safety goggles when working with a knife or any other tool that could cause an eye injury. If you get any balsa dust in your eyes, immediately rinse them with water to prevent permanent damage. When cutting balsa, only use straight, vertical cuts. Otherwise, you risk creating a dangerous jagged edge. Be careful not to go over the line between the wood sheet and the back of the benchtop when cutting circles. Start at one corner and circle all the way around the sheet until you return to the first corner. This ensures a smooth, even hole for attaching the rod.
Now you know how to cut balsa wood! This is an essential skill for anyone who wants to build models.
A gas-powered stapler or nail gun is less susceptible to this problem, but you can still use too much force when stapling or nailing. Stapling shingles on a hot day through sun-softened shingles encourages over-driving staples and cutting shingles, as does working too quickly or using too much air pressure on the stapler. Cutting shingles uses more material than needed, increases your labor time, and reduces the overall strength of the roof.
The best way to nail shingles is with a cold hammering technique. First, make sure that the nailer is set up for cold hammering by removing the striker from the nailer's nose. Next, hit only once, at full force, with a clean, smooth stroke. Don't tap the nailer against any surface to drive it in; this will cause damage to the nailer's mechanism. Last, when you're done nailing, clear away all debris from under the nails to allow water to drain off the roof.
If you have an electric nailer, don't use a powered driver. Instead, use a standard hammer to drive the nails. This prevents damaging the motor inside the nailer.
Shingle size matters when nailing them down. Use enough nails per square foot of shingle material so that all of the nails go in deep enough not to come out of the bottom of the shingle.