If you wish to cut linoleum, then a linoleum knife is the only tool you need. It is also the only tool you need to cut other sheets used for making buildings, such as those of veneer, mica, vinyl, vinyl tiles, and wood panels. Also known as a hook axe or banana knife, it is a small knife with a handle and a short and stiff blade featuring a curved point for cutting at different angles. The handle usually has a round shape and is made up of wood. Many times, it has a coat of vinyl or rubber for ensuring a better grip than expected by the user. Our guide will help you find the best linoleum knife for you. We have also provided short linoleum knife reviews towards the end of this article for your reference.
The design is almost like a sickle and other cutting tools with curved blades, with a shot wide blade warping into a sharp tip. These tools share the same working mechanism of cutting by pulling. They cut as you pull the pointed underside via the target item. This mechanism aids in alleviating the futile exertion of concurrently pushing the blade into the target, which makes it more efficient than the press-and-pull mechanism of a straight blade. It also enables reaching and cutting an item with a fully extended arm while harvesting, trimming, or making an elongated constant cut.
The knife is also effective for picking locks by evading the safety latch in the door post. Its use is also common among the carpenters and interior designers, specializing in installing a sheet material or floor panels. For trimming or cutting a thin piece, the blade is usually used to slice completely through it, instead of scoring. So, if you are about to perform any of the aforementioned applications, a linoleum knife is essential. Before buying such a knife, you need to know about it in detail. This will help you in focusing on the right model as per your usage or application.
Overview of Linoleum, Vinyl, and Paneling
While a linoleum knife can cut through these sheets, all three of them tend to differ. Let’s just explore the main differences.
Abbreviated as Lino, linoleum is a type of floor covering composed of renewable substances such as wood flour, ground cork dust, jute as backing, pine rosin, mineral fillers like calcium carbonate, coloring pigments, and solidified linseed oil (linoxyn). Because the linseed oil is the primary ingredient, the substance obtained the name as linoleum.
The premium linoleum floors are highly durable and are commonly known as ‘inlaid’, as they are made by joining and inserting solid linoleum pieces. There are also cheaper linoleums available in a variety of grades or gauges. However, they consist of thinner layers and are more susceptible to wear and tear.
Thus, it is best to choose and work with the linoleum piece of good quality, which is adequately flexible for use in edifices in which a firmer construction material like a ceramic tile is likely to crack.
Another important characteristic of good linoleum is that it is biodegradable and natural. It is largely unknown but is more relevant to the present home-building trends. The color passes through to the backing due to which the scratches are not promptly visible. Thus, many homeowners prefer this green and relatively inexpensive material.
It is essential to install linoleum on a leveled, smooth, and clean surface, as imperfections might result in bumps. The material is usually cut with a heavy-duty curved linoleum or utility knife and is attached using a flooring adhesive.
Linoleum versus Vinyl
It is vital to note that linoleum is different than vinyl, although they are interchangeably used due to the similar appearance after installation. They differ significantly in terms of composition. Linoleum is purely natural, while vinyl is purely synthetic featuring a composition of a few toxic chemicals. Further, not all vinyl flooring sheets are inexpensive.
Used for flooring, the vinyl sheets and tiles just like linoleum are cut with a knife. However, it is more flexible and easier to cut vinyl, as it is relatively thinner than linoleum. If you are willing to change the appearance of your home by installing a vinyl floor, a linoleum knife is helpful. However, vinyl is more prone to show deep scratches, as the color and patterns usually do not pass through to the backing.
Linoleum has fewer color options and is not as widely used as vinyl. In terms of maintenance, vinyl flooring needs no special care and applying a mild cleaner is sufficient. Linoleum needs only basic routine such as sweeping and wiping via a pH-neutral cleaner. However, it is essential to polish the floor by using a sealer up to twice a year due to the porous surface.
Paneling is a full covering made using semi-rigid or rigid substances, which are conventionally meshing wood, plastic, or other materials. Its main purpose is to make rooms in stone structures more comfortable by insulating it from the cold stone. Secondarily, paneling is preferable for a decorative purpose in modern buildings.
Conclusion: A linoleum knife is versatile.
Linoleum Knife versus Banana Knife
At times, a linoleum knife is called a banana knife. However, both are different. A linoleum knife appears like a banana knife but it is typically stiffer as well as shorter.
Overview of Linoleum Knives in Terms of Look, Feel, and Working
The fairly short blade of a linoleum knife is usually made up of carbon steel and boasts the shape of letter C. Both the outer edges and the tip are extremely sharp and pointed. This is why it is essential to keep such a knife away from kids and pets.
The typical length of this knife is approximately 27.94 cm or 11 inches. Similarly, the width is around 12.7 cm or 5 inches, thickness is approximately 3.81 cm or 1.5 inches, and weight is less than 5 ounces. This means that a standard linoleum knife is very lightweight.
A linoleum knife is famous for a clean cut that has no burrs or jagged edges. The credit for this outcome goes partly to the blade’s sharpness as well as its angle. This tool normally does not need to be sharpened often, but this can be done with a sharpening stone if it stops making smooth cuts.
It is important to bear in mind that a linoleum knife is not for trimming thick materials such as a ceramic tile and a plywood. Trimming these materials with such a knife may result in loss of control while using it. This can consequently lead to a serious injury and blade damage. It can even render the knife unsuitable for the targeted use.
Due to the intended use, a linoleum knife requires incessant maintenance. Doing so helps in retaining it as sharp as possible, as per the application requirements. You can easily sharpen the knife by yourself instead of taking it to your local smith.
Your way of using this knife is ideal if, upon turning it over and peeping into its sharp portion, there is no white glint on the edge while tipping it from side to side. A jagged or dull edge reflects light, unlike a uniform edge. This reflection involves the light bouncing off the edges, which results in a white glint.
A sharp linoleum knife features a fat white line along its sharp edge, which continues to the tip and is essential for keeping the tool’s functionality in top condition.
How to choose the best Linoleum knife
Most linoleum knife models are from generic brands, although there are some special models. Well, the latter ones follow the same designs as of the generic ones. Unlike other types of knives, a linoleum knife has a fixed blade whose length differs from 1 inch for trimming cuts to 5 inches for cutting big sheets. Thus, the length to choose depends on the size of the required cuts.
The handle can be made using a molded ergonomic soft rubber if not wood, while the blade can be made using high-quality carbon or stainless steel. The former blade material is ideal for cutting more rigorous mica sheets.
It is wise to avoid choosing a knife with a straight blade for cutting linoleum. This is because a straight blade typically creates burrs on the edges, which tends to damage the overall linoleum cut. Finally, this can even damage the whole flooring due to which you then need to purchase another sheet. So, it is indispensable to have a linoleum knife for cutting the material correctly at anytime.
Most linoleum knives are available for less than $10 regardless of the brand. Even though the price is low, these knives take good care of your linoleum flooring for several years. Some of the leading brands offering linoleum knives are Stanley, Roberts, Dexter, Allway, and M-D Building Products. Their prices range from $5 to $15.
While choosing a linoleum knife, it is vital to keep in mind that the blade quality is the most important determinant of the price. The more the price, the better is the blade. Such a blade is likely to handle a variety of difficult jobs of high volume.
A cheaper model priced at almost $7 is simpler and more unambiguous than a pricier one but is equally functional over a period of one to two years. For best outcomes, it is recommended choosing a linoleum knife that lasts up to five years.
The market is filled with a mix of styles, such as the conventional and slider. The slide off style features a slide lock for easy use of the blade. There are also different cutting points in the latter style, which is also lighter than the former one.
5 Best Linoleum Knives of 2017
Weighs 4.3 ounces and features a blade made up of high carbon steel and a handle with a grip that is resistant to slippage. It is a carpet installation knife that is durable, efficient (in cutting), and long lasting. This contractor-grade knife is versatile to cut a carpet, vinyl sheet, carpet pad, wallpaper, linoleum, and vinyl tile. It is also effective for cutting boxes and plastic packages without any issue of dulling. The handle is not only comfortable, but also soft to hold, unlike the wooden ones. You can even use this knife for cutting the weeds and scraping the ceramic tile joints while installing the tiles.Click Here to Find Out The Pricing and Reviews on Amazon
Weighs 3.2 ounces and features a high carbon steel blade. This 3.6-inch Linoleum knife also features a full tang construction, a hardwood handle, a fixed lock, and a mirror blade finish. The blade has a plain edge and an angle of 35 degrees. The quality build and craftsmanship make this knife ideal for use in even the toughest situation. The blade is long enough for industrial, gardening, and agricultural applications.Click Here to Find Out The Pricing and Reviews on Amazon
Weighs 1.2 pounds and features a 2.75-inch curved, taper ground cutlery blade made up of steel and a convenient hardwood handle measuring 4.5 inches in length. The knife easily cuts and trims roofing and floor covering materials. The blade is known to stay sharper than a conventional heavy-duty blade.
Weighs 3.2 ounces and features a blade made up of carbon steel. The overall thickness is 0.0062 inches. The sharp blade is attached to a professional quality handle made of hardwood. This knife is shipped in a carded pack. You can use it even for skinning palm trees and cutting wrapped soya beans.
Weighs 1.8 pounds and features a durable blade that is made up of SK5 carbon steel. This steel is known for its ability to retain the edge while cutting through different flooring materials. It is heavy-duty steel that is resistant to corrosion. The handle is also unique, as it is in black and red combination, and features a hanger hole. It ensures comfortable dual density grip due to which you can reliably use the knife throughout the day. The hooked design needs less energy while cutting linoleum than a straight blade.Click Here to Find Out The Pricing and Reviews on Amazon
We hoe this guide was helpful for you to find the best linoleum knife for you. Before you buy please do read the reviews on market place such as amazon.com as well. Let’s know if you have any question or comments.