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What is a Putty Knife?

Spatulas may be used instead of a putty knife for certain projects.
A putty knife can be used to remove old paint.
Putty knives are often used in home repair projects.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Sometimes referred to as a spackle knife, the putty knife is a scraping tool that is constructed in a manner that is similar to the kitchen spatula. Distinguished by a flat blade that is equipped with a sturdy handle, this tool can be used in a number of different construction and home repair projects. Putty knives are available in two distinct types, with each type being geared toward specific applications.

The stiff blade style of putty knife is constructed with a solid metal blade that is somewhat thick and does not bend easily. This is ideal for use in any job where there is a need for a rigid tool. One example of a task that the stiff blade putty knife is uniquely suited for is scraping. The scraper action can help to remove paint or wall paper, or as a means of ridding just about any smooth surface from a foreign element.

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The second common type of putty knife is the flexible blade model. These types of putty knives sport a thinner blade than their stiff blade cousins, and allow the blade to bend a little when necessary. A flexible blade knife is effective with tasks that require more of a spatula action, such as spreading a sealant or covering agent into an indentation or hole in a wall. Along with thin metal blades, this form of putty knife is also often available with a plastic body and handle, which make it possible to use the tool a few times, and then discard it.

Hardware stores and paint centers in many discount retail stores will carry a range of putty knives. The tool itself is relatively inexpensive, although some of the stiff blade models that are constructed for long term use will cost a little more. Simple to operate and very hand, the putty knife is often found in any home toolbox, and is always part of the equipment on hand at construction sites.

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