“Why buy a single blade knife when you can have an auto-loading knife with a one handed thumb lock and ratchet lock with extra blade storage that’s just as compact?” This is how Desmond Tse (@thesidingguy) describes his favorite knife in his toolbox, the OLFA PL-1 Multi-Blade Auto-Load Utility Knife.
Desmond is a self-taught siding installer who’s been using his PL-1 Pro-Load™ Utility Knife almost every day for 15 years. “The main use I have for this knife is cutting building paper. Years ago it was mainly Tar Paper, but in the recent years I have transitioned to using it for cutting Tyvek daily. I also use this knife for slicing and cutting holes in vinyl siding. Using my PL-1 makes everything quicker, as the smaller size and the thumb lock dial make it an easy, one-handed operation. For example, I don’t have to grab a drill and drill bits to make holes, but rather I can just use my PL-1 to make 3 small slits and make a triangle hole for the wire to be fed through. Other than these common applications, I will occasionally use my PL-1 to open up hems on aluminum flashing, which creates a nice seam that isn’t noticeable”.
There are several reasons why Desmond never leaves the house without his best-friend in the toolbox: “Weight makes a huge difference to me, as the less I carry, the less fatigued I’ll be at the end of the day. The main reason this is my favourite knife is in fact due to its light weight compared to all the other utility knives out there that can hold spare blades. I believe the OLFA PL-1 Pro-Load™ Utility Knife is the most compact and light weight model on the market. This knife also has that must-have feature that I could never be without: it holds spare blades. To make cutting siding and Tyvek safer and easier, I am constantly breaking off sharp points throughout the day. With the PL-1 being so lightweight and easy to use, it’s a no brainer to continue using it. I’ve had other brands as spares, but the blade replacement features on the other knives aren’t simple to use like the PL-1. After fighting with the spares, I ended up buying another two Pro-Load’s as spares, but haven’t needed them because my original just keeps going”.
In the spare blade holder, Desmond mainly uses the regular silver OLFA blades, but has tried the black ones and describes them as “day and night”, with the black blades showing a noticeable difference in how extremely sharp they are.
When asked if he’d recommend this knife to his fellow siding professionals, Desmond didn’t hesitate: “I honestly haven’t found a thing I’d change about this knife after all of these years. I would definitely recommend this knife not only to other siding professionals, but also to other tradesmen. And all the colleagues and friends who’ve taken me up on my advice to purchase a Pro-Load™ in the past, agree with me. This knife should be stocked at all hardware stores that carry OLFA!”
Desmond Tse Bio
Desmond Tse is a self-taught siding installer who works alone, and who’s constantly seeking ways to make every task a bit more efficient. He’s not not afraid to think outside the box and try new ways of doing things! Follow Desmond on his Instagram to enjoy watching fun reels and learn about the latest and best tools on the market.