More Paint Gadgets

One of the first things you will notice when you walk into the paint store or the paint counter at the big-box home-improvement center will be the racks of gadgets that are supposed to make your painting job easier.

If these things are so handy, then surely Professional Painters use these things all the time, right? Um, no, not really.

Well then I need to have them to make my paint job look neat and professional, right? Again, the answer is probably no. To get great looking results on your paint job, all you really need is some sort of serviceable brush and a can of good paint, along with some patience and a willingness to do some hard but careful work.

Then what are these gadgets good for? Some of them are good for parting your with some of your money and not much else. A few of the things you see on the racks will do more harm than good to your paint job and your sanity! But there are some of these gadgets that actually work! A few of them make your preparation, painting, and clean-up easier. And some others are just fun to use!

One that really bugs me is the Paint Edger. These are seemingly simple plastic contraptions that hold a pad made of foam that is covered with a fuzzy substance. Usually there will be a pair of plastic wheels on one side of the edger. The idea is that you “float” the tool in your paint tray- careful you don’t “dip” like you would a brush or roller! If you get paint on the plastic, or especially on the wheels, you will be making a terrible mess! When the fuzz on the pad is loaded place it against the wall, and allow the wheels to guide against the ceiling, floor, or trim that you are trying to get a straight line next to. Does this sound like a pain in the neck compared to using masking tape to get a straight line? I think so, especially because the pad is only good for painting smooth surfaces, and it won’t hold enough paint to cover more than a few inches at a time. But the worst part is that the pad and the tool quickly get gummed up with partially dry paint, and become worse than useless. And heaven help you when (not If) you get paint on the wheels and try to stay neat!

Another tool that is sold to make cut in and touch ups simple looks a little like the ketchup bottle you see in some restaurants, only this one has a pad that can attach that acts lick the tip of a shoe polish bottle. When you need to touch up or paint some trim, you attach the tip, squeeze some paint into it, and smear it on the surface. To be honest, I haven’t used one of these, but they strike me as a big mess looking for a place to happen. And it really isn’t that much trouble to open a paint can, dip in a brush, then clean the brush when your done doing a touch-up or repair.

One device that actually works is called a paint stick. This is a big syringe that is attached to a paint roller. There is a special lid that covers a gallon paint can which holds a large straw. Place the fitting on the paint stick on the straw, pull the plunger back to draw the paint into the stick, then start painting! You will have to push the plunger into the stick a half inch or so every now and then to keep the roller sleeve loaded, but that’s about it. Now instead of having to stop every couple minutes to dip your roller in the tray, you can just keep going until the plunger is all the way in, then suck up some more paint! It isn’t a perfect tool- it must be cleaned thoroughly and carefully to preserve the seals, and the roller sleeves have to be cleaned very well because they are not as inexpensive as a regular sleeve, but it does work! (But to be honest, it doesn’t work that much better than a roller and tray that I would buy one if I didn’t see it on sale!)

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