If you’ve ever shopped for a finishing trowel, you might be familiar with the options available in blade metal choice. But which is right for you and your job? Some basic information about metal properties can help guide you in the right direction.
Every metal tool must be made with a small amount of another metal to create an alloy. This adds qualities to the metal, which, in its purest form, may otherwise be lacking.
Tempering is a process that heats metal alloys to specific temperatures in order to add strength and reduce brittleness. Metals take on different colors based on the heat during the tempering process and the time they are exposed. Different metal alloys require being tempered in different ways, based on their material structure and what the end use for the metal will be.
Stainless Steel is usually offered in the most available sizes of trowels. It is tempered evenly throughout, to normalize the structure of the metal and create uniform hardness. Stainless steel is slightly heavier and less flexible than carbon steel. It holds the sharpness of an edge well. Used commonly in concrete and plaster work.
Carbon Steel is a strong lightweight option, that is more flexible than stainless steel. It can be tempered harder than stainless steel, due to the carbon content. This is also commonly used in concrete and plaster work.
Blue Steel is tempered at higher degrees, which makes the metal harder but adds a spring to it. This process also gives the steel the final blue color it is known by. This is mainly used in the concrete world. Blue steel is very popular for pool trowels, due to its hardness with added spring, which allows finishers to easily follow the radius of a curve.
Golden Stainless Steel is given its recognizable golden hue through the tempering process. In many ways it is very similar to stainless steel, but the tempering process allows thinner blades and finer edges to be made. Golden stainless steel is very resistant to rust. It is used for some concrete work, but is mainly preferred by plasterers for its ability to hold a good straight working edge.
Chrome is used almost exclusively for gunite, shotcrete, and swimming pool finishing. It will not leave any black “burn” marks on surfaces, and offers high abrasion resistance.
Swedish Stainless Steel has a bright shiny appearance, with benefits similar to golden stainless steel. It is rust resistant, and will hold its edge very well. This is used in concrete and plaster work.
Kraft Tool Co. can cover all of these trowel needs – from cement finishing, plaster and drywall, to tile installation. Shop a full selection of available trowels online or see your local Kraft Tool distributor.