A Good Use For Your Worn-Out Palette Knife

A while back, Stephen wrote a post about how to tell when your palette knife is getting old and why this matters.

Today I’ll follow that by showing you what we do next.

We don’t throw our worn out knives away. We put them to good use.

So here’s a worn out knife

This knife is getting too old to use. You can see the curve in it, top and bottom:

Worn out palette knife

And the reason we want to retire this knife is, yes, it’s still good for grinding, but the curves mean it slows us down when we push our reservoir of paint to where we need it on the palette. The curves are like a bridge: the paint flows underneath. And we must scrape 5 or 6 times, instead of once or twice, which our wastes time and energy, and meanwhile the paint is getting dry again.

You might think this waste of time and energy is small.

But – it all mounts up.

Now, rather than throwing this worn out knife away, we work on it and find another use for it.

Here’s what we do

First, I clamp it to the bench:

Palette knife

Then I saw it, first on one side, then on the other. This is not a quick job. It takes several minutes:

Palette knife

The blade gets hot: wait a few moments before you can snap it off like this:

Palette knife

Next thing you do is file it on top and underneath:

Palette knife

Final step is, you use a stone to smooth and sharpen it:

Palette knife

And what you now have is a sharp and lovely knife for cutting lead:

Leading knife

Now a knife like this is just what we need right now. A pair of lovely church windows had a lot of broken glass and their lead had buckled:

Stained glass repairs

So we’re re-painting and re-leading them.

But, when we stripped them down, we discovered the original lead – its heart was really thin: 1 mm, no more.

So the man who makes our lead, he milled us a box of 1 mm heart.

And a repurposed palette knife will be the perfect tool with which to cut this fragile lead.