Trade Secrets: TRADE SECRET: 6 workshop uses for razor blades you’ll want to try
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. I’m sure we’re all guilty of making do with the wrong tool when the right one has gone walkabout. You know, knocking in nails with the end of the spirit level, that sort of thing. Actually, though, some tools you’ll have lying around the workshop could actually be very useful for a variety of tasks. Here are some suggestions for ways you could use the humble razor blade, the strangest and most versatile of epoxy application tools.
- As a mini-spreader Razor blades can be used as a last resort to apply caulks and thickened epoxies with great precision.
- To fill tiny surface imperfections They’re just the job for filling isolated pinholes and scratches, especially when the blade is laid at a low angle (nearly flat) when spreading the putty.
- As cabinet scrapers Take a sharp blade and hold it on edge at 90° or so to the surface. Then scrape off small imperfections like drips and dirt specks in cured/dried coatings before buffing or final sanding.
- To clean windows A sharp razor blade is perfectly suited for removing dried paint from windows.
- To clean-up surfaces A single-edge razor blades can be modified to enable you to remove cured epoxy and dried paint drips from surfaces like gelcoat, well-dried paint and plastic laminates. The trick is to dull the razor blade slightly with 600-grit sandpaper before you begin, rounding the corners at each end of the blade at the same time. When you’re ready to tackle the drip, start at the end of the drip that is thinnest. (You might want to try the blade on an inconspicuous spot to be sure it won’t scratch the surface first). If you can get a peel started, you can usually get the drip off without damaging the surface. By using the edge of your blade as a very thin wedge in this way, you should be able to remove all but the most stubbornly adhered drips of hardened epoxy or dried paint. And it should save you having to sand off the hardened drips and buff back the shine.
- To clean fibreglass A dulled razor blade is also great for removing old bathtub caulk on fibreglass tub and shower surrounds without damaging the gelcoated surfaces. Be sure to try the dulled blade on an inconspicuous spot first, though, to verify that it won’t scratch the surface. If the blade gets a little rough on the edge, run it over the 600-grit paper and smooth it out again.
So there you have it. 6 uses for a razor blade that might just save you a bit of time and effort on your next boat project. Our thanks to Tom Pawlak for his great ideas. Photo credit: Scott Feldstein