Fein, Porter-CAble? Multitool question

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 07-07-2012 11:59 AM 1989 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2314 days

07-07-2012 11:59 AM

Removing the flooring in our kitchen for a remodel. ALL of it. There were 4 layers in the main part of the kitchen and there’s 2 really tough ones in the dining area. Nobody ever REMOVED a floor. They just added underlayment and another layer of vinyl.

So my little issue is that apparently they replaced the door that goes out to the garage at some point and, of course, set it ON all of that flooring. When I take up the flooring it’s trapped under the door threshhold and doesn’t come out clean. I am eventually (not THIS year) going to replace that door, but I need to get a clean edge to bring the new flooring to.

I’m thinking something like a Fein oscillating tool. Cut straight down at the inside face of the threshhold and then either call it a day or see if I can get some of the crap out from underneath. At some point I may be cutting through those DARNED flooring staples. I swear they had some real staple-happy SOBs installing the underlayment.

Anyways…. I have no experience with the multitools. The Fein costs twice as much as the PC. I think I’m more interested in a corded tool rather than cordless. And it has to come with a blade that can cut flooring staples if I run into them.

The Fein blades look expensive. Not sure on the PC blades. Anyone got any experience with these things?

Going to try to get the last of the floor out today. Been working (sweating) on it for 3 days now. With all of the overlapped flooring there are places where it looks like a staple forest and the underlayment just splinters. I’m primarily using a square shovel to get under the underlayment and pop it up (when that works) but we’re also shoving a big spud bar under it and when it gets pickey, we use a flat bar and hammer. THEN we go around and pull staples left in the floor. Can’t have my dogs getting out there and walking on staples. I don’t need a vet visit to complicate and already frustrating experience. I planned on getting the floor out in a day. It’s making me fight for every square foot and I’m wearing out. I have one strip left about 5 feet wide and 16 or 18 feet long. My brother-in-law is coming over today to help. This is probably the worst floor removal I’m ever been involved with. It sucks. :)

17 replies so far

View jdmaher's profile


430 posts in 2607 days

#1 posted 07-07-2012 01:04 PM

We’ll get to the tool in a minute . . .

So, the door will stay in-place. You are lowering the floor on the inside of the door; by how much? If you are lowering it by more than an inch, I’d be worried about the threshold being too much of “step up”. You mention four layers of underlayment, and I fear that’s too much height difference. What about on the outside? Is the threshold at ground level, or a step up?

The door is the issue to resolve. It is probably cheaper and easier to handle that now, rather than later. If you don’t want to buy a new door, take out the one that’s there, get your floor level re-established (including UNDER the door opening), and re-install the door.

Although I can think of many alternatives, they are all “kludges”. They’d be harder to fix later. Better to resolve it all now while you’ve got the place ripped apart, anyway. I suspect that even I (with my minimal skills) could take out the existing door, get the floor under the opening, and re-install the door in about 4 hours. ‘Tis a small investment.

Now, as to the Mult-tool. If your going to do have a lot of use for a tool in the future, buy the Fein. If its a one-time use tool (or a once-a-year tool), buy the PC. I OWN the PC, but I’ve used the Fein. The Fein is worth the price difference, but only if you use it regularly (and I don’t).

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3096 days

#2 posted 07-07-2012 01:20 PM

I vote with Jim about the door threshold issue. It would be much easier to remove the door, establish your new floor height, and re-hang the door. If there’s an excessive gap at the top, use a wider casing until you can get your permanent door.

As for the staples, I believe that flooring people are addicted to firing their staple guns. I just removed carpet and pad in my hall and a bedroom and decided that I could make a fortune in the carpet business just by limiting the installers to half the staples they typically use. Some of the stapling makes sense, but I don’t understand why the back corners of a closet need 20 – 30 staples. Maybe a flooring type can enlighten me. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3026 days

#3 posted 07-07-2012 01:46 PM

Just to start the whole HF issue again, I picked up the cheap Harbor Freight multitool. For less than $30 on sale. If you really like it, get a good one.

I have been really surprised at how well they cut through things. Staples should be no problem (Although a bit slower cutting)

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2261 days

#4 posted 07-07-2012 01:56 PM

Imperial makes blades that are quality and affordable . Nail cutting blades will cut wood as well, but they are slower. Keep them cool and clean for longer life. Any saw blade cleaner and a damp rag used often will extend the life of expensive blades. Fein is worth the dollars in the long run, but if you go a cheaper route watch out for bogging the motor down and letting it get too hot ! I cool my Fein with compressed air during extended projects like the one you are tackling .

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View AHuxley's profile


665 posts in 3350 days

#5 posted 07-07-2012 02:30 PM

The Imperial blades are excellent for the price.

For a corded multi-tool if you don’t want to spend the money for the Fein, look at the Bosch and Makita, both are good tools and cheaper than the Fein, better then the PC as well.

View moke's profile


1182 posts in 2804 days

#6 posted 07-07-2012 05:30 PM

Unforuately I do a lot of remodeling ( that means less time in my shop). About a year ago I started a project that included striping floor coverings in multiple rooms. To make a long story short, I ended up with both a PC and a Fein. I bought the 199.00 fein “starter” kit. I returned it and got the bigger kit (299.00) the difference is the number of blades and such, it is a much better deal. The Fein is by far a better machine, the pc gets hot, and is just plain not as effiecient. It has been an ok back-up, but certainly not the same quality.

As AHuxley wrote, I too have heard the Bosch is a closer comparison. I have tried the cheaper blades and scapers with mixed success. I will say that I have used the detail sanding ( the one with the clips for regular paper) in the shop and flat out loved it. I have an old PC and a dremel and they PALE in comparison!!!

One more thing, I had some very difficult vinyl to get off and I was instructed to use a recip saw with a scraper (can’t remember the brand) and after a small learning curve, it was 5 times quicker and was awesome. Try that….

-- Mike

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2314 days

#7 posted 07-07-2012 06:31 PM

Talked to the wife. I think we’re replacing that door and the one for the basement as well. They kinda meet in a corner so the basement door is 90 degrees from the door to the garage. The kitchen is going to be a “cottage kitchen” so I told her I think pine panel doors would be fine. We were actually going to install panel doors for the bathroom, both bedrooms and the front hall closet as the “extension” to the kitchen remodel. Replace all of the wood base and moldings with something other than the ranch casing that’s on there now.

Anyways, replacing the doors won’t be that expensive and you’re all correct, it would be the right way to go. I still have to pull up the front entry flooring, but it’s small. Like 4 by 7 or so. I know the front entry door is a replacement. I’m hoping they didn’t do the same thing there, but if they did…. maybe the wife gets her new front entry door now too. We’ll look at those while we’re out today. I do need a couple days of just painting and stuff to recuperate. I’m pretty sore.

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 07-07-2012 07:09 PM

good call Charlie…those height transitions are a big problem (not the least being the safety issues).

you live in NY…you might want to check insulated doors (not so sure if the fed energy credits are still going).

View Ted's profile


2873 posts in 2239 days

#9 posted 07-07-2012 07:20 PM

I just want to throw in that I owned the Fein a couple of years ago and I now own the Bosch. The Bosch is a pretty darn good tool, in my opinion, almost or as good as the Fein – or certainly close enough that I could not justify paying extra amount for the Fein.

Replacing or rehanging the door seems the right way to go. To remove it for rehanging, simply remove the casings and cut the nails behind the jambs. On the framing, you’ll probably have to add some wood to the bottom of header for something to nail to, and extend the drywall down to cover the resulting gap. If you’re happy with the existing door, there is no reason to buy a new one.

-- You can collect dust or you can make dust. I choose to make it.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2314 days

#10 posted 07-07-2012 09:16 PM

The door goes into the garage and the garage, while not heated, never really gets all that cold. Eventually we’re going to take the back half of one garage bay and turn it into a laundry room possibly with a toilet and sink. So the door is going to get removed (again) and either replaced or rehung.

The existing door is a pretty standard entry door and it has a pretty thick threshhold. If I do nothing I’d definitely have a tripping hazard. The basement door right next to this where I COULD remove all the flooring, I can now fit my entire hand under it all the way to my wrist. Left my tape in the van…. dang it…. but I’m guessing it’s a 2 inch step over right now. Maybe more. We removed EASILY a full inch of flooring and that door had a pretty noticable step-over before. So it’s pretty apparent that I have to do something. :)

View Tenfingers58's profile


96 posts in 2706 days

#11 posted 07-08-2012 01:18 PM

Instead of the tripping hazard, why not put a block on the bottom of the door to bring it down to the threshhold. It could be finished the same as the door or covered with baseboard to blend into the room.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2314 days

#12 posted 07-08-2012 03:20 PM

Tenfingers58 – I’m not sure I understand what you’re suggesting. Sounds like you’re making MORE of a step-over.

I think I’m abandoning the Fein vs PC oscillating tool and just getting a sawzall. :)

I have to lower the rough drain height for the new kitchen sink, replace at LEAST 2 doors (with 5 more to follow shortly) and who knows what all else. I think a reciprocating saw makes sense.

View jdmaher's profile


430 posts in 2607 days

#13 posted 07-08-2012 04:17 PM

Being on the “frugal” side (read: incredily cheap), I’ve avoided buying a sawzall for a long time – but I’m certain that I SHOULD get one. AT LEAST once a month, I could use it.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View bobburk's profile


78 posts in 2359 days

#14 posted 07-08-2012 04:42 PM

I for one am +1 on the Bosch Osc. tool. I bought one for doing all my backcuts at my door trim when we redid our floors and love it. Beats a backcut saw and chisel any day of the week. Nothing against Fein but I couldn’t justify the extra $$.

As to what Moke stated about using a Recp. saw with a scraper blade, I tried it too but ran into issues. Whatever the substrate was used on my old vinyl played HE!@ when using the scraper blade (kickbacks galore). He’s right it probably does take a little learning, I learned so well – no. I ended up using a chisel blade with a ground down sharp edge on my Rotohammer.

-- Bob, Kingwood, TX

View waho6o9's profile


8209 posts in 2605 days

#15 posted 07-08-2012 05:33 PM

When the blades wear down on the oscillating tool, you can re- grind them and then file new “teeth” in the
old grooves or make new “teeth”. This will give you more mileage and the new blades work just as good.

This was a tip from a Festooler from England that put a video on it in the FOG. (Festool Owner’s Group)
and showed how effective the grinding and making of new “teeth” worked, and it was amazing. I wish I could
remember his name to give him credit because he came up with a good one.


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