10 Things You Can Do With a Multi-Purpose Tool

Otherwise known as multi-tool, an oscillation tool is something you have at your home. As the name suggests, multi-tool is a tool that has multiple functions. Only by changing the blade, you can go from cutting to polishing in seconds. In North America, it has a trademark name of ‘Master Tool,' as in master of all tools. Various types of blades are available that allows you to saw, sand, rasp, grind, scrape, cut and polish all using a single motored body.

How Oscillating Tools Work

Oscillating tools work using a motor that creates a side to side motion. Again, as the name suggests, the blades oscillate which allows the blade to perform its function. The motion is minimal (three degrees), but it is swift (about 350 strokes per second), so you can count it as vibrations. Using this fast movement, the tool can be used to cut, grind, or polish with great ease.

To help you visualize the action, if you have been to a barber shop or seen an electric razor work, you will know that the blades move side to side and that motion cuts your hair. In the case of an oscillating tool, a similar motion occurs, but instead of hair, you can cut wood or metal. And just like on an electric razor, the blades on the tool can be changed to serve different purposes.

How to Use a Straightedge for Straight Cuts

Don’t you hate it when a piece of wood from a piece of furniture sticks out and scrapes you every time? Using the straightedge blade, you can easily cut off the protruding portion of the wood and make life easier. You can use the oscillating tool you can perform a clean and precise cut, but you have to be very cautious that the blade does not slip and land somewhere it was not intended to go. It is widespread to make mistakes while reading the measuring tape when making furniture. This leaves the final product with a bit of part sticking out, but thanks to the straightedge blade, giving the finishing touch is easier than ever before.

When to Use Round Blades and Straight Blades

Straight blades are used for short restricted cuts, while round blades are used for long straight cuts. One secret to getting cleaner cuts is using straight blade first to mark the position you will be cutting, then using the round blade to finish the cut. Changing blades is very easy so that won’t be a problem.

Keep in mind that applying to much pressure will not only result in the cut not being precise and clean but also damage your blade. Be patient and clean the dust from the blade every few seconds.

Using Oscillating Tool for Faster Flooring Prep

Getting new flooring placed at doorways is a tiresome job, but using a flush-cutting blade on the multi-tool, this can be done with ease. Using a piece of flooring as support, you can quickly get under the doorjambs. After removing the old flooring, you can slip the new one into place, and you are good to go.

Cutting Rusty Faucet Nuts

Getting rusty faucet nuts off is almost impossible without cutting them off. With the arrival of bimetal cutting blades on the oscillating tool, reciprocating saws are losing popularity day by day. The bi-metal blades require very little space to operate and can quickly get under the sink deck, where no reciprocating saw ever reached.

There is a more natural way to get faucet nuts off than cutting all the way through, and we all already know it is impossible to pull the nuts off by now. Start by cutting the nut at an angle using a slower speed until you reach a grove. After that slowly increase the speed until you are three-fourths of the way through. Then pull off the remaining attached portion using pliers.

How to Remove Trim Without Damage

If you pry the trims off, you are bound to damage the wall. Thanks to the straight blade, now you can easily remove trims off walls by cutting the nails. To do this, first gently pry the trim just enough so that you can slip a metal sheet and the oscillating blade in. The metal sheet will stop the oscillating blade from harming the wall. After slipping the metal cutting blade in, poke around a bit till you feel the nail, and then gently apply pressure to cut it off. Removing trims from walls has never been more comfortable and also harmless to the wall too.

Always Use a Bimetal Blade to Cut Metal

Always remember that not all blades are made to cut metal. Most blades are meant to cut soft materials like wood and plastic. Trying to cut metal with standard blades will only damage them and not get the job done. In stores ask for bimetal blades which are made for cutting metal. Bimetal blades hardly get damaged when cutting metal.

Great for Removing Tiles

Don't you hate the dust storm created while removing tiles? Using an oscillating tool, you can easily remove the adhesive between the tiles, and also keep the tiles undamaged and your surrounding free from dust.

Remember that it is easier if you change the tool's speed rather than applying more pressure. More pressure only damages the blade. Well set grout needs higher speed, while loosely set grout can be removed using lower speed. You are more likely to damage the tiles using higher speeds.

After removing the tiles, you can use sanding paper on the oscillating tool to remove the grout underneath. Then your floor is ready for new tiles or whatever you have planned for it.

Get Grout Removal Blades

There are individual blades for grout removal known as carbide blade. However, carbide blades are only good for smaller jobs. For larger jobs, you need diamond blades, which are a bit pricey but lasts a lot more than its worth of carbide blades. Both carbide blade and diamond blades come in several thicknesses, so be sure to get the one that matches the width of the grout. Remember sparks are an indicator that the outer edge of the blade is damaged and the blades need replacement.

Easily Trim Shims in a Jiffy

Trimming shims with a saw always leaves a bit of the wood on. On top of that, because of the saw blade's thickness, you cannot cut the shim without leaving a bit of wood out. Even if you want to cut the piece with a knife and snap it off, you will always leave a bit of wood left. Thanks to the oscillating tools endless uses, it can trim shims easily and also deliver a clean finishing.

Reaches Where Other Tools Don’t

Other than the fact that this one tool can perform a lot of functions, another reason for its greatness is it can reach tight corners where no other tool ever reached. Other than cutting at tight spots, you can also use the sander at tight spots too. For example, you can use the sander after trimming shims to apply the finishing touch, even if the shim is at a tight spot. And of course, it is the only tool that can reach between the trim and the wall to cut the nails.

Extra-Wide Blades Available

Blades up to 6 inches wide are available for the multi-tool. Which means you can cut a pipe of 6 diameters in one go. Also, while cutting a pipe using a wide blade, you do not need to worry about it slipping as narrow blades do. But keep in mind that thin blades are not all that bad. They can reach tighter spots and also put less strain on the motor.

Can be Used to Scrape Away Adhesive

Scrapping stray adhesives off after finishing a job is the most tiresome task. Not only they don't want to come off, but they are also very messy. You need to spend hours scraping if you intend to use a knife, and still, have bits and pieces left over. However, using an oscillating tool fitted with a scraper, you can get the job done within a few minutes.

Lots of Scraper Blades Available

Doesn’t matter which type of adhesive you want to scrape off. You can rest assured that there is a specialized blade available for it. There are thin ones available for reaches the tightest spots and also wide ones available for scraping big pieces of gunk.

Can be Used to Remove a Toilet

That first thought that may come to your mind is that why would you want to remove a toilet on your own. But little do you know that removing a toilet is more comfortable than removing a faucet sink, even without an oscillating tool. Usually, there are only two bolts and a pipeline connected to the bathroom. Now there are two options for you; the first one is you can attempt to unwind the bolt nuts and remove the toilet the old-fashioned way. But due to all the water spillage, the bolts are likely rusted and stuck in their place for good. Lucky for us, there is a more natural way. Using an oscillating tool with a bimetal blade, you can easily cut off the bolts, and the toilet can be removed within minutes. Even if the toilet is set to the floor with adhesives, you can use a scraper blade to remove it easily as well.

Remember that applying high pressure will only damage your blade, so use high rpm and apply lower pressure. Also, after cutting the bolts, the metals will be hot due to all the friction. So be careful while handling the metal blade and even the metal bolts after cutting them.

Lots of Adapters and Accessories Available

Due to different brands of oscillating tools and different brands of blades available. Not all modules may fit on the oscillating tool you have in possession. But there is no need to worry. There are a lot of adapters available that will ensure any and every blade can be attached to your oscillating tool.

Many stores do not have a lot of choices for adapter and accessories as well yet. But you will have an infinite number of choice if you intend to buy from the internet. It is always good to know the options available for you, so do surf the internet before you rush to the hardware store.

How to Remove a Towel Bar or Soap Dish

You must have figured out by now that it is easier to cut or scrape off everything using an oscillating tool. The truth of the matter is that you do not need rusted nuts and nails anyways. And it is easier to cut off stuff that you do not need, literally and figuratively.

It does not matter if the towel bar or soap dish is attached to the wall using adhesive or nails. If it is connected with a nail using a bimetal blade to cut it off, and if it is attached with adhesive use a scraper blade to scrape it off. Like explained in removing trims from walls, use a metal shit to keep the blade from damaging the wall.

VIDEO: Multi-Tool Basics and Tips


As you may have already presumed out from all that, life is more comfortable with an oscillating tool at your possession. If you are the type of person that hates it when mechanics poke around your home and like doing things yourself, the oscillating tool is bound to make your life easier. Even if you are on a budget, you will be glad to know that it starts at a low price of $30. Also, the lowest priced deals come with a lot of accessories, so you do not have to worry about that. At this point, there is no reason not to get one for yourself and make home improvement works a whole lot easier.

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