The prototype of this handy helpmate, the brainchild of an unknown house painter in California, was a stiff-bladed putty knife with a semicircular cutout to clean paint rollers, a beveled edge for scraping and puttying, a sharp pointed tip to clean out cracks, and a blunt tip to open paint cans. Its inventor never patented his 5-in-1 tool, but the folks at Hyde Tools Inc. suspected the idea had promise and started selling one nationally in 1975.
It sold briskly, prompting other tool companies to come out with their own versions. Hyde responded with the 6-in-1 tool, and the race was on. Now there are 8-in-1, 10-in-1, and, yes, 17-in-1 painter’s tools. What hasn’t changed: Those original five uses that proved so valuable to painters and carpenters have remained part of the tool for 45 years.
You Can Also Use It To:
- Punch holes in a paint-can rim. The holes, made by hammering the point though the rim, allow paint to drain back into the can and keep the rim from gumming up.
- Pry off moldings and window stops. The wide chisel edge separates pieces cleanly; the metal cap protects the handle from hammer blows.
- Protect plaster or drywall. When removing trim, position the blade between the wall and the pry bar before applying force.
- Clean out caulk. The beveled edges on the point work on both the push and pull strokes.
- Tear masking tape. Set the blade on the tape and pull; you get a straight, torn edge without lifting the tape.
Purchase the Hyde 17-in-1 Painter’s Multi Tool for $14 at hydestore.com.