5 Ways To Avoid Looking Stupid With An Oscillating Multi Tool

Since you are reading this, it’s safe to assume you either already have an oscillating multi tool or you want to buy one. Getting a new toy can be exciting, but don’t start hacking up everything in sight just yet - DIY home improvement rewards preparation and scorns eagerness. A little planning could save you heaps of wasted money and regret down the road, so sheath your tools for now and read on.

1) Get Attached to Your Attachments

With a variety of blades for cutting, grinding, sanding, and scraping, choosing the right attachment for your oscillating multi tool seems like half the battle. First, you’ll want to make sure that any attachments you purchase are compatible with your tool (buying the wrong attachment can make you feel surprisingly dumb). Blade manufacturers provide attachments that fit almost every tool on the market, with similar quality and lower prices than attachments specifically made for your oscillating multi tool.

Once you know your attachment won’t oscillate its way out of its socket, the next step is choosing the right one for the job. For long, linear cuts, you’ll want to use a round blade; for plunge cuts, the straight blade is your weapon of choice. Don’t get too attached to one blade - just because the straight blade popped off your wall trim with ease doesn’t mean it will make a clean cabinet cut. Invest the extra five or so dollars in the right blade attachment for best results.

2) Think Before You Trim

You thought removing trim was going to be the least of your worries. Think again! Those nails are clinging to the wall almost as desperately as Madonna is holding onto her music career. If you’re like a virgin to DIY home improvement, you can damage your trim and drywall in a botched trim removal attempt.

To get the job done right, gently pry your trim away from the wall and use a fine straight blade to slice right through nails. Use this same attachment for precision cuts if you want to salvage old trim or molding. In either case, be sure to use a thin sheet of metal to protect your drywall from the blade. Otherwise you might end up removing more than just your trim.

3) Expect the Expected

Your cordless multi tool will run out of battery. While cordless convenience is great, a dead power tool is nothing more than a paperweight. Most 12-volt oscillating multi tools come with two batteries that will last around 10 minutes with continuous use and take 30 minutes to charge. If you plan on getting extensive use out of your multi tool, then you want it plugged into a wall. Corded tools deliver a more consistent power level as well.

4) Choose Your Battles

Think your oscillating multi tool might not be up to your next task? You might be right. Although its versatility and precision as a compact power tool is unmatched, certain tasks are better left to the big boys. Here are a few things you’ll want to delegate to traditional power tools:

- Cutting 2 x 4s (circular saw)

- Heavy duty stone and metal work (angle grinder)

- Production sanding (orbital sander)

Remember that oscillating multi tool blades are small and thin, making them even more sensitive to heat from friction. Give your tool a rest during long cuts and clean off the dust to keep things running smoothly. If you break a sweat from pressing the blade down, you might want to consider using another tool (or renewing your gym membership).

5) Ask for (Professional) Help

Whether you are using an oscillating multi tool or not, this step is a surefire way to ensure you’re on the right track. Next time you are feeling iffy about your home improvement plans, remember that there are people who do this for a living who would be happy to give you some advice.


Image courtesy of Kookkai_nak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

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