At first glance, a putty knife is a simple tool, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The putty knife comes in many styles, sizes and materials, each of which is designed for different applications. Read on to learn how to decide which kind of putty knife will best suit your needs.
Flexible Handles vs. Stiff Handles
A putty knife is constructed in roughly the same way, regardless of the type or material. A handle can be made out of metal, wood or plastic, but the kind or material is inconsequential as the flexibility of the handle is what is important. In most cases, you want a handle that is very stiff so that you can use more pressure while using it. A weak handle can break under pressure, which can be dangerous to the user. There is a difference between a weak handle and a flexible one as the flexible handle will not break. The stiff handle is great for removing materials, while a flexible handle is perfect for applying materials.
Flexible Putty Knife vs. Stiff Putty Knife
A putty knife can be made out of rigid plastic or metal. Either of these materials can be flexible or stiff. If you're trying to remove paint from a wall or scrape away dirt and grime, then a stiff putty knife is the right choice for the job. If you need to apply anything from tape to drywall mud, you can easily do that with a flexible putty knife. Using a stiff knife for a job that requires a flexible putty knife can make a job that is more difficult than it should be.
Size of the Blade
The blade of the putty knife varies from ½-inch to as large as 3½ inches. The putty knife blade is an important part of the putty knife because it is what allows you to complete the job you are intending to use it for. If you are using a putty knife to strip paint from a wide area of a wall, then the larger the blade, the better. If you need to be more detailed, use a smaller blade. Smaller blades are also a great asset when applying tape around corners and edges.
Specialty Putty Knife
A putty knife is primarily used to apply putty but is also useful in applying drywall mud and plaster. A putty knife is also great for removing anything from paint to stickers on counters and floors. There are putty knives made for specific purposes such as sealing grout. Purchase this kind of putty knife if you require it for specific reasons.