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B&Q for professional decorating tools and paint?

Listed under abranet, Blog, Independent suppliers, Matthew Evans, Polyvine, products Posted Aug 02 2012

Credit where credit is due, professional decorating tools and paint from B&Q do exist, if you look hard enough. 3 examples.

Hamilton steel filling knife

Hamilton flexible filling knife

The name Hamilton still smacks of traditional quality. I’m not so sure the brushes have kept up with modern paints, but they still adopt a 5 star approach to making a reliable filling knife – a full length continuous piece of steel from the blade through to the butt of the tang, with a triple riveted rosewood handle. Nice.

The steel on a Hamilton’s filling knife may not be the same Sheffield quality of yesteryear, but I bought one a couple of years ago and it still has the lovely spring that you need when applying traditional or modern fillers. (If you mark the handle on one side, that will help you to use the same face each time you fill. Eventually it will become “your knife”, slightly worn on one face – much like brushes mould themselves to become “your brushes”.)

Compare that build quality to cheap imitations with a 2 piece blade / handle, which will snap like a pear with enough tension. Also, flex! Press that Hamilton blade down again, see that spring and flex. I never understood why, or even how, “they” sell inflexible filling knives in DIY stores. It is like selling paint that doesn’t spread.

On the downside, the steel will surface rust, if you leave it in damp conditions, but a quick rub down with abranet gets it shiny again. And at a little over £8, it is a price that not a lot of DIY painters, even professionals, want to pay, but ask at a trade outlet, and I bet there isn’t much in the price.

All in all, a staple pro bit of kit!

3M Scotch Blue masking tape

3m Scotch bluee tape

If you don’t want to get too involved with the intricacies of masking tape, the safest bet for general painting and decorating is 3M 2090 Scotch Blue tape.

It is a low to medium tack tape that will stick well to floors and carpet and glass for several days without leaving a residue. Ordinarily it will also not damage freshly painted surfaces – but YOU MUST TEST A PIECE ON NEW PAINT, and REMOVE THE TAPE WITHIN A FEW MINUTES.

In ordinary use, 3M Scotch blue is such a safe bet compared to own brand blue tape and crappy white / cream crepe DIY tape. It is reliable. DIY masking tapes are not reliable they are either sticky enough to lift carpets, or so not sticky they adhere to nothing! I may use a DIY tape at a push for sticking lining paper to a tiled floor, but not much else, and I wouldn’t buy it myself, as it is way too pricey – spot the size differences – trade are 50m at least.

So it is good to see 3M Scotch Blue tape on the shelves, as that means a few less painters and DIY are suffering from the by-product of using cheap product. And £5.99 for 50 metre roll of 1.5″ tape, sure it is more than you pay online, by quite a margin, but it is comparable to trade outlet prices without doubt, so at a push, not so bad.

Oakey rubber sanding block

Oakey rubber sanding block

This rubber sanding block is a blast from the past. Cut a standard sheet of automotive Wet ‘n Dry black abrasive (you get 4 pieces per sheet), fix a strip on the block (the paper is held in place on the spikes under the flap at each end); drop into a bucket of water with maybe some KrudKutter Original added, and you have the ultimate all-in-one hand-sanding and cleaning machine.

The automotive industry have moved on to Mirka Abranet and Abralon dry sanding, as have many of us decorators, but this low tech combination still has its place when preparing really scuzzy paintwork quickly. The block is really comfortable to hold, and it will last. I am pretty sure I have the same block as I purchased from Wrights of Lymm 30 years ago. And at £3.98, pro rata, that works out at 12.5p a year and still going strong.

In general I am not a fan in the slightest of the big shed mentality, as the powers-that-be have been able to drive standards on the basis of what homeowners and DIY painters want (and notice!) Without wishing to be down on homeowners and DIY, it is like me telling a car mechanic which parts to purchase from Halfords to repair my car, and telling them how to do it. I may think that easy-fit, pop-on 3rd party parts and no messy lube is the way ahead, all very convenient, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is right or appropriate or even the most cost-effective option for the repair at hand. But that aside, the above 3 decorating products from the DIY sheds work, for sure.

For further information on products that work, or to ask about a product or paint, check further articles, or look over on the Traditional Painter forum

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7 comments to “B&Q for professional decorating tools and paint?”

  1. Charles Budd

    I saw Soudal Acryrub caulk in B&Q last week too! Not sure of the price, as I got a job lot from jolly good chap recently. 🙂

  2. Lee baker

    All good products and the edge B&Q have is that they’re open Saturday pm’s and Sunday’s. Makes the market open but the trade places have not tried to stand up agaist them yet.

  3. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Thanks Lee. I’m sure many will wonder why I’d mention B&Q on a site like this, where we are all committed to the best in decorating. Make no mistake, the vast vast majority of decorating products at B&Q make people’s lives harder not easier, and generally pricey compared to most independent merchants! But as you say, they do have some professional quality lines, and they are convenient. Someone said they wouldn’t be seen dead in B&Q regardless. I know what they mean, but then again, if you are out of tape on a Sunday, on a deadline, at least you now know where you can get some decent 3M masking tape… at least until they get in a batch of obscure poor quality blue tape for a few pennies less than the good tape.

  4. Lesley Anne Kinney

    In America, Home Depot (equivalent to B&Q, even down to the orange aprons!) carries 3M tape with an orange core. It is for delicate surfaces and is brilliant. Very disappointed I can’t get it here.

  5. Charles Budd

    Lesley, my favourite delicate tape is Tesa pink tape, I’m some of the Traditional Painters have their own favourites too. Tesa tape isn’t available at B&Q, but is available online and in Brewers Decorators Merchants at least.

  6. Lesley Anne Kinney

    Thanks Charles I’ll check it out. I’m constantly looking for products to replace the ones I was used to in the States.

  7. Darlic

    They now have started selling zinerser paints,and Wooster rollers,but I still prefer to deal with a knowledgeable decorators merchants.

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