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Stanley Knife

  • Also known as a utility knife
  • Retractable and fixed blade versions
  • Stanley is a brand name often used for this type of knife, regardless of brand.
  • The toughest of the knives popular for DIY

Wallpaper knife

Plastic wallpaper knives 0130-5.jpg
  • Lightweight disposable plastic knife with snap-off segmented blade
  • 9mm & 18m blades
  • Very cheap, many for £1
  • Widely used for tasks where high strength is not needed
  • Blades easy to replace
  • Durable metal bodied versions also exist.

Pocket Knife

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The forerunner of the above knife types, these are no longer popular for DIY use, but are still used by some.

  • Higher initial purchase price, zero ongoing costs
  • The non-replaceable blade(s) must be resharpened
  • Most types can snap shut on fingers in some situations, which is not really a Good Thing.
  • Heavier and bulkier than wallpaper knives
  • Some pocket knives include other small tools, which usually prove to be more useful for inflicting minor self injury than DIY.
  • Toolchest in a pocket knife

Craft knife, X-acto knife

Xacto 11horizontal.jpg

These are small knives sometimes used in DIY, but more popular for craft use. The handles are somewhat like a writing pen, and the blades used are scalpel blades and other blades of a similar size.

  • Many blade shapes are available.
  • X-Acto is another trade mark that has fallen into general usage


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More used for DIY surgery than house maintenance, the most popular pattern of these is a 1 piece metal handle with no moving parts, into which the scalpel blade snaps into place. Designed for sterilisability.

  • Disposable plastic handles scalpels are also common
  • Useful for removing splinters, and other very fine work

Carving Knife

Kitchen knives aren't much use for DIY, but mean looking serrated ones can be used as a chipboard saw if caught without the right tools.

Electrician's knife

  • Insulated handle
  • Used to cut wire insulation

Lead knife

  • for lead roofing
  • Long hook-nosed blade

Carbide tipped knife

Hacking knife

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  • Hammerable
  • Various jobs, eg removing putty


2x wallpaper knife blades 9mm & 18mm. Stanley type
Popular scalpel blade shapes
Blades in bulk

According to the power tool blades retailer Saxton Blades, there are 11 common types of knife blade.


Bone handles can be rewhitened with hydrogen peroxide.

See Also