An oscillating multi-tool is one of the most convenient tools you can have around the job site or workshop. Its versatility allows you to do many things that no other tool can. You can sand; saw metal, wood, and drywall; punch large holes; cut into hardwood; or weaken doorways. You can also remove grout, cut trim for new floors, and cut nails and screws flush. This is just the beginning. We love our oscillating multitools so much that we've compiled this list of 6 ways pros use them. Trust me, there are more than five…and be sure to check out our best oscillating multi-tool reviews.
All in all, using the Oscillator tool couldn't be easier. The tool vibrates the blade, scraper or sanding pad back and forth in rapid motion. This action together with the attachment creates a very fast cutting, scraping or sanding action. Designed for smaller applications, the multitool works best in areas where accessibility is key.
Often, when you need an oscillating multi-tool, there's no other tool that can do the job. Using the oscillating multi-tool simply attaches the appropriate accessory and turns it on. Initially, each tool had its own connection type. More recently, accessories and interfaces have begun to consolidate — leaving two major styles.
The first goes back the furthest: the OIS interface. Bosch originally designed the OIS interface or Oscillating Tool Interface System. It has a ring groove to fit most tool pin sizes on the market.
Using this interface, you can use either a manual thread installation or a tool-less interface installation to free the head and insert or remove the oscillating multi-tool attachment. After re-tightening or otherwise securing the attachment, you can start or continue working.
Bosch (and Fein) Starlock interface
The Bosch Starlock interface (joint venture with Fein) uses a unique tool-free, hands-free system. You just flip a lever to release the attachment or open the stand. You then physically press the oscillating multi-tool onto the new accessory, and it snaps into place automatically.
This system works best so far. Add-on pricing appears to be in line with the rest, so you don't need to pay much of a premium to get the benefits of the Starlock interface. However, you do need to make sure you're using both Starlock-compatible tools and Starlock accessories for everything to work. Most Starlock accessories now have OIS compatible holes, however, due to the 3D "cap" shape of the interface, no OIS accessories are Starlock compatible.
This might be our favorite of the 5 ways pros use their oscillating multitool. This tool is designed for "impossible" cuts. It makes them easy – if you use the right blade. While multitools are typically used to cut holes in drywall for electrical boxes, they can handle any job that requires a plunge cut. Start the mortise. Make a notch. Cut the trim and shell of the floor.
2. Orbital sanding with the multitool
The action of the oscillating multitool gives it an orbital sanding action when used on small areas. Swap the blade attachment for a sanding attachment, and you can use the oscillating multitool as a small detail sander. It's not a replacement for other handheld sanders, but it's fine for small areas. We love the control it gives us over our work. There is also a grinding attachment which is great for removing fine grout or glue.
3. Straight cutting of wood, plasterboard and metal
Swap the attachment for a half-moon blade and you can easily make longer cuts in wood, drywall and metal. You'll be amazed at how easy it is to cut. We do a lot of this in our Ridgid Jobmax Multi-tool review. The increased surface area of the half-moon blade helps you stay straight while cutting fast.
4. Peel, peel and scrape with the oscillating multi-tool
Old paint, "beautiful" old linoleum floors, unidentifiable dirt, and more can all be easily removed with the multitool's scraper. I'm sure you can now think of at least three places where this functionality could be used. You don't want to use an oscillating multitool to scrape the entire floor, but for key areas, it can cut to the chase. For larger areas, use something like a Makita floor scraper.
5. Remove grout and caulk.
If you've ever experienced the joy of removing old grout and caulk to remodel your bathroom, you probably haven't finished your sentence before heading to the hardware store for a multi-tool. The swing function makes this type of work easy and efficient. The caulk will come right out, and an experienced user will leave the underlying material largely unscathed.
6. Tile and Floor Undercut Doors
Perhaps the best way for a pro to use the oscillating multitool is to undercut doors when laying tile or flooring. When we did our Pergo Outlast laminate flooring review, we did a lot of flush cutting. When pruning hardwoods, invest in a good Japanese tooth blade and you'll be done in no time. If you suspect you might hit a nail, choose a carbide blade that can handle both wood and nails. Not only does it get the job done, but it lasts for dozens of jobs.
This technique uses a tile or a piece of wood on which the tool rests. This sets the height of the undercut. Simply slide the tool blade over the material and make the cut, you can now slide the tile or floor under the door for a perfect fit that looks like it was.
wrap it up
We hope you've gained useful knowledge from these 6 professional uses of oscillating multitools. If you're a pro and have tips for using an oscillating multitool, add them to the comments below. You can also contact us or visit us through our social media channels.