How To Use Oscillating Multi-tools For Home Improvement Projects


For home-owners or home project enthusiasts, a handy tool collection is essential to make home improvement DIY dreams come true. A few trusty tools are irreplaceable and they can make the difference between a project to last years or a few months.

One of those flexible and multipurpose tools is a simple oscillating multi-tool. From cutting, grinding, polishing to scrapping – this tool is a marvel both around the house and the backyard. Liked by both professionals and homeowners, nowadays, almost every household owns an oscillating tool for convenient repairs and touch-ups. The benefits of this simple tool are uncountable.

Oscillating Multi-tool – What Is It And How Does It Work?

It is a handheld tool with a tip that vibrates at a very high speed. Unlike a drill or a rotary machine, the tip doesn’t spin. But, the functions are quite similar to the other two tools.

Oscillating multi-tools run on batteries or AC electricity lines. Battery run ones are usually cordless. Read this article for more cordless oscillating tool reviews.

The vibration of the tip can be very strong, almost 20,000 times in a minute. Even if the vibration is pretty strong, the tip oscillates maximum at 3 degrees of angle.

The oscillating multi-tool is very handy when it comes to attaching different kinds of heads to the tip to accomplish different tasks. For example, different kinds of pads can be attached to smooth out surfaces or different kinds of blades to cut through woods or boards. The possibilities are endless.

Read on below to learn some of the DIY projects you can do with an oscillating multi-tool.

Grout Removal

Grout removal with the help of an oscillating tool is probably the easiest and safest option. You will need a wet/dry vacuum cleaner, work gloves, ear muffs, worker knee pads, dust mask, a grout saw for tight areas, and last but not the least, an oscillating multi-tool with a grout removal blade.

Removing grouts with an oscillating tool requires extreme care and precision, make sure the room is properly ventilated and illuminated. Before you start working, remove everything from the room or the bathroom apart from your tools.

If you are new to removing grouts using an oscillating tool, you start with an area less noticeable or perceptible. Get a nice easy grip on the multi-tool and place it on the grout line. Be sure not to put too much pressure on the line and push the trigger gently and work up slowly. The more pressure you put on the trigger, the faster the tool will glide along the line.

If you want to be extra careful not to damage your tiles or keep clouds of dust at bay, you can cover the edges of the tiles with a couple of layers of tape. Be careful not to cover the grout lines as this will slow down or hinder your work on removing it.

Caulk Removal

How many of us hate those nail-cringing, dark open areas between tiles in the kitchen and bathroom? And most of us resort to cover up those hideous areas with caulk as a solution.

But, removing excess caulk around the tile lines can be a pain in the, well, hands. It’s impossible to remove excess caulk with bare hands. But, it can be removed using sanding tools but that takes ages and a lot of patience.

And, hence comes the hero of the hour – the oscillating multi-tool. Just use the same blade as the one for removing grouts and it won’t take one-tenth of the time to remove the caulk compared to using sanding tools. Fast and easy!

Cut A Drywall

There are a few tools you will need to cut out a piece of drywall. Safety is intransigence – you will need a pair of safety gloves and protective goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris. If you are going to use an electricity-driven tool, make sure to wear non conductive shoes.

The next thing you need to choose is the shape of the blade for the oscillating tool. It depends on what kind of cut or hole you want on the drywall. There are two kinds of blades – round and straight. For deeper cuts, choose the straight blade and for cleaner cuts, choose the round one.

Before you start cutting up your wall, measure the size of the hole you want and mark it with lines. Be sure to be accurate and precise with the measurement, use a scale or a compass for a round shape.

When you cut with a straight blade, start from one corner and slowly reach the other corner in line. Make sure to take the blade out before you begin on another line. When you use round blades, you can start anywhere but you need to stop before an edge to stop from cutting more than required. It’s crucial that you have full control over the blade.

For finishing touches, smooth out the edges of the empty hole with sanding paper after you have nipped out a desired cut in the drywall.

Rust and Paint Removal

Usually, spinning tools are used to remove old paint or clean rust from metal or other objects such as bikes, doors or even from walls. It’s not such a good idea as spinning tools can take a long time to get rid of the rust or worn-out paint and there are also chances the tool won’t be able to reach every corner to remove every bit of it. Spinning tools are also notorious for making metal dust fly all over to create a big mess.

An oscillating tool is very handy in this sort of scenario. Attach a sanding pad and a sanding paper with grits on it to get the best result without a mess.

Last Few Words

These are only a few uses of multipurpose oscillating tools. Their uses can range from diverse functions such as cutting pipes and metal parts to smooth wooden surfaces and so on.

A great addition to any household or a professional’s toolbox, the uses of oscillating multi-tool is only limited to your ability and creativity.


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