Osciallating multicutter - do you use it ?

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Forum topic by damjensen posted 12-27-2014 08:03 PM 1833 views 0 times favorited 27 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 2483 days

12-27-2014 08:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: multicutter

So, I have been given some money for xmas etc. Thinking a little about an osciallating multicutter, but as my budget for tools is limited, I would like to justify the purchase.

When I search these tools on youtube etc, I see a ton of ads from bosch / Fein / makita cutting a tile here, and a doorframe there. But how often do I really do that ? I have never seen any of the (many) woodworking channels I follow actually use, or even mention the use of such tool.

So, if you own one, what do you actually use it for, and how often ? Would I be better of getting a €50 unit instead of forking out the €600 for a professional.

Thoughts welcome.

27 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile


19619 posts in 2095 days

#1 posted 12-27-2014 08:11 PM

They are great tools. I just got a porter cable corded one for Xmas. I’ve been borrowing my dad’s cordless one for years. No it’s not a woodworking tool, but it comes in handy more than you would think if you do any kind of rehab work or home remodeling. It will cut something when nothing else will fit in the spot.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2726 days

#2 posted 12-27-2014 08:16 PM

I have a low budget one, ($15 or 12.30 in Euros), that I have been using for 4 years.
At times it comes in extremely handy. Other times it sits in the box I built for it and sulks.
I have used more expensive models, and never saw much difference in them. Plus as long as they sit without use, the more money you will have doing nothing.

I don’t do fine craftsmanship with it, but for making long, rough cuts it is good.

Just be ready to buy blades often. At 22,000 OPM, it goes through them fast.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2535 days

#3 posted 12-27-2014 08:23 PM

I have a 5 year old Sonicrafter. When you need it nothing else will replace it. I’ve used it mostly for plunge cutting into the bottom 6 inches or so of rotten door casings to put good wood in. Installing electrical boxes in wooden paneling or baseboard is also a great use for a plunge cutter. Also if you are doing a tile floor and need to undercut door casing it’s great. Cons are the blades are too expensive and don’t last long and the Sonicrafter blade is held in with a hex screw that vibrates loose constantly. I’d look for one with a better blade holding system. If you don’t do renovation or refurb work I would skip it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5236 posts in 2732 days

#4 posted 12-27-2014 08:31 PM

I have a 5 year old Sonicrafter. When you need it nothing else will replace it.
...............If you don t do renovation or refurb work I would skip it.

- dhazelton

That’s pretty much how I see it. I bought a Fein for some remodeling work and to replace a detail sander in the shop. I think I’ve used it as a sander maybe 5 times (in over 12 years) and since that initial remodeling job I’ve used another 8-10 times in home renovation. It does less work than my biscuit joiner…....but like dhazelton said: when you need it, nothing else will replace it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2666 days

#5 posted 12-27-2014 09:06 PM

Precision plunge cuts straight through two by fours made a recessed bathroom cabinet a breeze. Nothing else can do what these amazing tools can do.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View runswithscissors's profile


2928 posts in 2264 days

#6 posted 12-27-2014 09:37 PM

I use the HF version of the multi tool (about $15 on sale, or with a coupon). I know the Fein must be vastly superior, but 10 times as good? The cheap one is the single speed, and I have yet to feel a need for the multi speed unit.

I have abused the hell out of this thing. Sculpted a half-round hollow in solid 2×4 blocking for an inset toilet paper holder; scraped up an entire linoleum floor from my kitchen; cut a 2’x3’ hole through plaster and wire lath in the kitchen ceiling for a skylight (with diamond blade); cut ceiling joists for the same skylight; polished a roughly cut end on a 3/8” thick piece of glass for a greenhouse window in the bathroom (diamond blade again, obviously); plunge cut the bottoms of door casings to accommodate new cork flooring; used in numerous situations for running wiring and new outlet boxes; sanded over 300 louver slats (in place) for custom closet doors; any number of plunge cuts where no other tool will work, short of a drill and chisel. I much prefer it for outlet boxes in drywall or even plaster over a Roto Zip, and it’s much easier to control than the R-zip. Almost every task a R-zip can do I think the multi tool can do better.

I use it so much that I bought a spare (again, about $15) to have on hand in case of breakdown. In spite of many hours of use (sometimes 3 or 4 hours at a stretch), it has never gotten hot (as I found Dremel’s version to do after about 20 minutes of work).

Twice it went dead on me. Opened it up, and found one of the leads had popped off a prong; the 2nd time, I had the sense to pinch the fitting a little so that wouldn’t happen again.

I agree the blades are too expensive, and you go through a lot of them. Grizzly has the best prices by far on the blades (1/2 or less than anybody else), and they have a good selection.

I agree they are slow (though not bad with the Japanese style saw teeth), and tend to create smoke and burning in plunge cuts in hardwood. And they are annoyingly loud. I never use mine without ear muffs. I think the Fein is a loud as any of them.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View dawsonbob's profile


3144 posts in 1994 days

#7 posted 12-27-2014 09:44 PM

Once you have one, you really will wonder how you lived without one before. Really, you will. I thought they were toys till I owned one: boy, was I wrong. Over the years I’ve used mine more than I ever thought I would. Even sanding in corners becomes easier, as well as cutting, scraping, etc. I first bought the variable speed model from Harbor Freight, then, when I needed a second one, the Sonicrafter. Both have been going strong for 5 or 6 years now. While I like the Sonicrafter best, I certainly have nothing bad to say about Harbor Freight, either; they’ve both been good.

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View runswithscissors's profile


2928 posts in 2264 days

#8 posted 12-27-2014 09:47 PM

Sorry. Duplicate post.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Kazooman's profile


1268 posts in 2191 days

#9 posted 12-27-2014 10:07 PM

I use my Fein ALL the time. One of the chores in the world that ranks right up there with the worst is scraping and sanding exterior trim for painting. The Fein makes this a piece of cake. It works fast, without destroying detail. Worth every penny for just this one use. The saw blades for flush cutting are great. I use mine with some clamped on wooden guides to cut copper-clad printed circuit board to size for a second hobby. The tools are so portable you can take them to the job rather than vice-versa.

A few lessons learned: Big brand name blades and fixtures are expensive. You can usually find a cheaper source for parts that will work. Some of the manufacturers have tried to come up with mounting systems that will keep you wedded to their line. There are some adapters that allow you to shop around.

It is VERY easy to overheat the triangular sanding pad attachments. They use hook and loop to attach the sanding sheets and pressing too much on the tip of the triangle can generate a lot of heat and it melts the hooks and loops together, eventually ruining the pad. Easy pressure, let the tool do the work.

Still not certain? Buy a cheapie from HF and give it a try on a few projects. You can always move up to a higher-end version.

View CharlieK's profile


587 posts in 4032 days

#10 posted 12-27-2014 10:41 PM

I also have the harbor freight version. It is not something I use very often, but I agree with Fred and dhazelton that it is invaluable when when you need it. It is great for flush cuts and for cutting soft plastic without burning. I especially like it for plunge cuts!

-- Adjustable Height Workbench Plans

View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2590 days

#11 posted 12-27-2014 10:47 PM

It is a great tool for home repairs, remodeling, etc.. I have never needed one for wood working though.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3887 days

#12 posted 12-27-2014 11:30 PM

It’s kind of a companion tool to a reciprocating saw. It
can get in places the saw can’t and do a plunge cut
into framing right quick and then knock out the
waste with a chisel… they are great for working
on old houses.

For making furniture I would recommend thinking
about hand tools. You’ll enjoy having some good
ones, hand saws and decent chisels and things
like that.

View ChipByrd's profile


146 posts in 2166 days

#13 posted 12-27-2014 11:39 PM

I really like my Porter Cable and use it often around the house. It’s a great DIY tool. But like Bondo said, I have never used it on a woodworking project. I suppose you could, but there are other tools that do the job better.

View RPhillips's profile


1241 posts in 2075 days

#14 posted 12-27-2014 11:51 PM

It’s a great tool for remodel work. I bought mine after my remodel was mostly done, but I still found a ton of uses for it.

Such as:

  • Flush cut door jambs for flooring install
  • cutting wedges around door and window frames
  • cutting tile / grout
  • cutting outlets in wood / drywall
  • cutting in floor registers for a/c
  • cutting a stud that is still attached on the other side (jack studs in window)
  • getting behind trim and baseboard for easy removal (will cut through nails)
  • cope trim (coping saw blade breaks and you don’t have a replacement)
  • cut conduit both PVC and metal
  • Removing old vinyl flooring

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View Mark Smith's profile

Mark Smith

509 posts in 2279 days

#15 posted 12-27-2014 11:52 PM

I have one and use it a little, but not a lot. I haven’t used it at all in woodworking. I used it a lot when putting in laminate flooring. It was great for cutting under the door trim pieces to get the flooring under. It also came in very handy in removing old caulking from my motorhome roof. I have a fiberglass roof so it works great. Wouldn’t work so good on a rubber roof.

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