A spreader of any vintage will tell you that waving at walls for a living will inevitably take its toll, so anything that can make the time served behind a hawk and trowel just that little bit easier will be very welcome indeed.
Calluses on the hands and thinning cartilage in the shoulders are an occupational hazard, but there is one company that has a long and proud history of designing in the kind of user friendly features that plasterers now demand of their tools.
Since inventor and entrepreneur, Dave Lennox manufactured his first trowel in his own Iowa machine shop back in the 1880s, Marshalltown has established itself as the weapon of choice for many in this particular wet trade, which makes new product developments a source of some interest.
As the name suggests what is most notable about the latest tool to follow in the legacy of Mr Lennox is an ultra-flexible, 0.3mm stainless steel blade, and plasterers should be able to feel the difference straight away.
“It certainly makes it a lot easier on the arm when you’re trowelling up, and you can see immediately that it leaves a really nice finish,” remarks Damien Jones of DG Plastering & Screeding.
The Hertfordshire-based firm of plasterers are already avid fans of the American firm’s products and were intrigued to test a tool that has already generated considerable interest on online plasterers’ forums.
“One advantage with this trowel is that it doesn’t need breaking in. If you picked up a trowel like this straight out of the box the edges would be too square and it would dig in when you were finishing.
“I’ve got a trowel now that’s a few years old that’s so sharp you could shave with it, but that’s only with prolonged use. This PermaFlex is ready to go straight away.”
Not only does the increased flexibility provide enhanced comfort over a prolonged period, there’s also a DuraSoft handle, which is far more comfortable than the cork versions still seen on some trowels.
Its makers claim that it’s the soft feel that reduces fatigue whilst the tool has also been manufactured to be 10 per cent lighter than existing flexible rivals on the market.
With such a thin and flexible blade some might at first glance question the longevity of the PermaFlex and the proof will, of course, be in the toil of daily use, but the manufacturer’s trowels are already well-respected for their build quality and durability, and the PermaFlex is a tool that follows in that tradition.
An xtralite aluminium alloy mounting and stainless steel rivets ensures endurance, whilst the blade has been both bonded and taped.
The usual regime of cleaning in water, and avoiding chemicals or solvents, should be enough to ensure years of service.
In addition, although the blade is flexible it is not designed to be bent away from the handle. As well as that, for best results the trowel is designed to be used with minimum pressure, which also has the happy consequence of easing pressure on the arm.
Flexible trowels are, of course, nothing new but with this example Marshalltown has produced a particularly thin and bendable blade – one which proved particularly adept at flushing into the old walls with the new patches of multi finish, and it is in the final smoothing and finishing of multi finish that this trowel will come into its own.
Features at a glance
- Highest grade ultra-flexible stainless steel blade
- Xtralite aluminium alloy mounting
- Thin 0.3mm blade for durable flexibility
- 10 per cent lighter than other flexible trowels
- Bonded and taped for ultimate blade security
- Rounded corners
- Comfortable DuraSoft grip
For further information on Marshalltown click here.