Oscillating Tool Uses

Getting the most out of your Multi-Tool

The Oscillating Tool

goes by many different names. Oscillating Multi Tool, Multi Tool, or Fein Tool are just a few of the names that you’ll hear it called on jobsites today.

How Does it Work?

An oscillating tool’s blade moves (or oscillates) side-to-side. Each stroke is very short (only about 3 degrees) and super-fast (around 20,000 times per minute). Setup with the right blade or accessory, it is capable of cutting, slicing, sanding, grinding, polishing, and even scraping.  

Prep for new flooring

Often when installing new flooring, the existing door jambs and casings need to be cut to accommodate the new flooring. An oscillating tool excels at making these cuts. Just use a scrap piece of the new flooring as a guide and buzz the door jamb off. You’ll end up with the perfect amount of space to slip the new flooring under the jamb.



Make Plunge Cuts

You need to add an outlet or switch in an existing wall or cabinet. An oscillating tool is the “go to” tool for cutting out the rectangle for the remodel box. It’s faster than a keyhole saw in drywall and the extra fine teeth on the blade will not risk chipping the finish on a finished piece of wood.   


Make More Plunge Cuts

In the old days, we used to plunge cut with a Skilsaw and then spend a lot of time with a chisel to replace a piece of damaged hardwood floor or to add a heat register. Today, an oscillating tool zips right through it.


Remove Grout

An oscillating tool is great for removing grout between tiles. Pro Tip: Purchase a diamond blade instead of carbide because it will last three or four times as long.      


Use it in tight spaces

Its compact size and super-short cutting stroke mean you can use in tight spaces to cut off a plumbing pipe under a sink inside a cabinet.


Cut Rigid Insulation

True story: Many people have used their electric turkey carving knives to cut up rigid insulation and upholstery foam. Now you can return yours to the kitchen where it belongs.


Run Circles Around the Competition

Install a drywall jab saw blade and you can cut perfect circles all day long.


Scrape Stuff

Need to remove some old caulking from around a sink or bathtub? A scraper blade makes it come off easy.


Scrape More Stuff

You won’t need nearly as much elbow grease when removing old flooring or residual adhesive if you use an oscillating tool with a scraper blade.


Speaking of Residual Adhesive

A grinder pad on an oscillating tool can even grind away old thinset mortar from under a tile floor.  


Sand Metal

Just think of an oscillating tool as a very useful detail sander.


Sand Wood

An oscillating tool with a sanding pad is the perfect tool to get into tight corners.


To Wrap it Up

An oscillating tool is one of the most versatile tools in your toolbox and one that no tradesperson or DIY-er should be without. Click here for my review of The Best Oscillating Tool.


A Note About Safety

Safety is important. I can’t say it any better than my all-time favorite woodworker/ TV host, Norm Abram, so I’ll just leave you with his famous quote:

“Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these (Norm points to his glasses) — safety glasses.” 

-Norm Abram, New Yankee Workshop



Some of the photos in this post are courtesy of Dremel and Milwaukee, and are used by permission. The instructions and opinions are my own and neither brand provided the content. 


Steve Wright

Steve Wright is a general contractor who over the last 30 plus years has built hundreds of new homes, ranging from first time affordable homes to multi-million dollar custom homes and everything in between.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Pepe Roni

    Hi. I thank you for all the great tips in this article.

  2. Cole Kutz

    Your website is valuable for me. Thanks!…

  3. Ridgeline Tool

    Oscillating Blades are very useful in any condition and also goes with many different names but it work’s really fantastic and effortless.

  4. ash green

    Wow 🙂
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    Waiting for more helpful pieces.

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