What Is A Putty Knife Used For?

By Ryan Leavitt •  Updated: 03/16/21 •  7 min read

Have you ever seen the scraper that we use for glazing windows? This scraper or spatula that we use to apply the putty and smoothen it, is also called the putty knife.

Now you can understand that this kind of knife is different from the normal knives that we use in our kitchens.

The main function of this knife is to scrape the surface and spread the putty evenly on it.

If you are interested in using the DIY tools in your home, you must have used the putty knife.

Well, you may or may not know about it, so let’s start from scratch and see in detail what a putty knife actually is, what it is used for, and how you can use the putty knife for DIY work around the home.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.

What is it?

A Putty knife is a versatile and specialized tool that can help you in carrying out simple construction tasks around the home.

According to the Wikipedia:

A putty knife is a specialized tool used when glazing single glazed windows, to work putty around the edges of each pane of glass.

An experienced glazer will apply the putty by hand, and then smooth it with the knife.

Modern insulated glazing may use other ways of securing the glass to the window frame.

It is available in the market with various names, such as spackle, spatula and scrapers are the other names for the putty knives.

You can find the putty knives in a number of variations.

Some of the variations include:

And many others.

The functionality of these all variations depends on the task that you want to carry out with these knives.

However, putty knives are widely used for construction purposes.

The commonly available widths of these knives are from 1-1.5 inches.

However, you can also find the wide-bladed knives that have a width of up to 6 inches.

If you want to know that is the right putty size, read the upcoming section.

What are the putty knives used for?

A Putty knife is an essential component of every toolbox due to its diverse usage.

The knives with smaller blades are preferred for the most efficient tasks.

On the other hand, although the larger blades are readily available, they can not let you attain the level of perfection that you can easily obtain using the smaller ones.

Some uses are the following.

How to use it effectively

As we discussed earlier, these play a vital role in spreading and applying compounds.

The fact is the generic ones have a very wide functionality and you can use them for the application of almost any kind of compound.

Some of the most commonly applied materials that you can apply using the putty walls, including wood putty, fillers, base application drywall compounds, adhesives, and construction materials.

Nowadays, people are opting for two-in-one products that are not only made up of plastic but are also entirely disposable.

It shows that people are now not much interested in the continued use of the same putty knives and want to handle variations to carry indifferent tasks efficiently.

Another reason why people prefer plastic disposable putty knives is that they are cheap and available at affordable rates.

Its importance

Now, we have discussed disposable and plastic knife blades, there are other types of blades that people love to choose from for the putty knives.

Carbon steel blades

The first ones are the blades that are made up of polished carbon steel.

These blades are durable and efficient and help the DIY workers in carrying out all the spreading and applying tasks.

However, if you do not look after them properly, they can get rusted.

Stainless steel blades

If you are ready to spend a bit more money to get a high-quality product, then you should go for stainless steel blades.

These are the premium version of the blades and often easy to handless because of their stainless properties.

You can use these blades for long-term usage, and even one with a wooden handle and stainless steel can last a lifetime.

Well made steel blades

These are also the steel blades but their construction is quite artistic.

In this case, the structure is much different from the common putty knife.

The blade of well-made steel knives is narrower at the center while the edge at the handle and the leading edge is thicker.

Customer reviews and testimonials on various online selling platforms have revealed that this blade has helped them in modulating the pressure that you use while spreading the material.

How to use it


Can I use them for painting?

It is true that some artists use putty knives for painting.

You can use it to apply the paint on the canvas, just like the putty on the wall.

Which ones are better for spreading materials, flat or the angled ones?

The flat ones generally help in better spreading.

Moreover, while spreading, make sure to find the flexible blade as compared to the stiff one.

Can I use it to seal holes?

Sealing holes is one of the main reasons why you should use putty knives.

You can use a putty knife to apply any kind of substance to fill up the holes.

Final Verdict

This article must have increased your knowledge about putty knives.

Now you can understand in a better way it is a different class of knives that you do not use in the kitchen for cutting or slicing purposes.

The choice depends on how you are going to use it.

Ryan Leavitt

Hi my name is Ryan Leavitt a Marine Corps Veteran and currently an over the road trucker (Long Haul). I am no expert chef but am enjoying preparing my own meals on the road and testing all the different knives.