April 15, 2009

Pipe Knife - Review

pipeknife.jpgOriginally designed for the auto glass industry, the Pipe Knife is simply a long handled utility knife. There are a number of different sizes, ranging from 24" all the way down to 9". While it's not something that you want to hand off to your five -year-old, over the course of a few weeks, we found it to be a handy item to have in the tool bag. Definitely good for more than just replacing windshields.


There are two body designs that we tested out; the thin handle and the pipe handle. The thin handle is available in both aluminum and steel (with the aluminum obviously weighing less) and is the thinner of the two (really?). The Pipe Knife, on the other hand, consists of a thin blade end, but with a hollow pipe for a back end. This handle can be opened at the base and can be used for blade storage. Of these two, we preferred the solid heft of the steel bodied thin knife, even though we were sacrificing the additional blade storage of the original pipe knife.

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We spoke to a glass installer and he told us that the benefit of the long handle is simply to get to spots that are unreachable to the common utility knife. This might mean very little to the casual DIYer, but a contractor can likely see the value of this, particularly anyone who works with curtain walls on a regular basis. The additional length of the knife can also be useful when cutting insulation or when installing carpet.

pipeknife_storage.jpgWe also found that there was a greater degree of control being able to use both hands while using the longer knives. The two handed grip also allowed us to put more into the cut. Again, this is unnecessary to the average caulking bead like the one around your sink, but it does help with something like a nasty bead of PL Premium that's in your way.

But you've got to be careful with The Pipe Knife. Because the design does not make any room for blade retractability, the razor edge is always going to be exposed unless you remove the blade after each use, which thankfully only takes a few twists of a screwdriver to do.

All in all, we think that if there's an opening in your tool bag, the Pipe Knife would be a good addition. In the course of a project, particularly a renovation, there's always something that needs cutting, trimming, or slicing, so here's one opportunity to make things easier on yourself. It's one of those things that you won't need often, but if you do need it, you really need it. It's up to you to decide if its worth it not to have one.

Purchasing info at Pipe Knife

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 15, 2009 5:43 AM

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