dcsimg

32 Ways to Use a Multi-Tool – The Ultimate Multi-Tool Project Guide

Posted by:

Share This Article:
FacebooktwitterlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Oscillating Multi-Tools –

32 Uses, Only 1 Tool!

We recently ran a contest asking pros how they use their oscillating multi-tools (both cordless and corded) and we received some amazing responses!  Click on any of the topics below to find stories from real users describing how they used their multi-tools.  If you have applications you want to share, feel free to leave a comment below.  And please share this with others who you think will benefit from learning new ways to use a multi-tool.

One Project, Multiple Applications

Depending on the project a multi-tool can also be used for numerous applications.  No longer do you have to use different tools for different tasks, but instead you can use one tool and just swap out the accessories.

I USE my multi-tool for doing carpentry, electrical, plumbing, tile repair, and most general home maintenance – just about everything.  It is the only tool that I take with me everyday, because I never know what might come up where I will use or need it.  Just the other day I hung a new door, and while installing the casing, I used the tool to cut back the baseboard (in place) rather than removing it, which would be much more involved, and making a mess. – Kerry

I HAVE used my multi-tool to make repairs to door jambs and for setting hinges and door knob striker plates. I have also cut nails to allow access behind trim without damage to walls, and have also used it to make plunge cuts on the sub-floor to allow access to joist below. It is one great tool to have on hand. – Tom

THE MULTI-TOOL I own is Chicago Electric. Once it was purchased it was on its way to the job. I purchased this multi-tool to cut a hole in a bathroom ceiling to install an exhaust fan. For cutting through the bathroom ceiling it worked very well. I purchased the multi-tool just in time to use it to under cut the door jambs, so the laminate flooring would slide effortlessly under all of the door jambs in the house. At home, I had recently purchased some oil paintings that were painted on wood as opposed to canvas. Being a little larger than any frame I could find, I used the multi-tool to trim the paintings. – David

I ORIGINALLY bought my oscillating multi-tool to cut drywall.  However, I quickly found myself using it for sanding metal, undercutting baseboard mouldings for installing new flooring, removing ceramic tiles, quickly removing old carpet padding adhesive, and many more applications.  My favorite was cutting acrylic panels to make new sliding doors for a bird flight cage.  Years ago, I had built this cage and it was tedious work to cut the acrylic panels to size.  But, the OMT made it as easy as putting a warm knife through melted butter.  And, there was no need to mask the area being cut, nor did I worry about the acrylic cracking.  It came out great! – Pat

I WAS making a tool shelf for my cordless tool to mount on my lumber rack that I had just built. I made the notch cuts for spacing around the 2x4s with my circular saw and my Dremel MM30. I used the Dremel multi-tool to plunge cut the shelf and to finish the straight cuts from the circular saw. I also used the sanding attachment to sand the edges and the flat face inside the cut. It worked very well. The ease of changing the blades and storing the tool wrench really made this project easy to accomplish. – Randy

JUST FINISHED a master bath remodel and used my multi-tool countless times. I cut nails holding various trim, under cut door jamb/casing for new tile floor, cut trim to fit the hardibacker board (particularly around toilet flange), final fit of all trim to achieve a more precise fit, scrape old paint on sills, sand rough spot on sills, and cut holes in drywall for outlets/switches/lights/exhaust fan/inset medicine chest. And I’m sure I left out some applications. I don’t now what I did before I purchased one. There is no way I see myself without one today. The tool is so important, that I have multiple multi-tools (truck/shop) plus a backup. – Bob

Me and my buddy started this project a week ago after I purchased this house with a ginormous basement. The multi-tool was very helpful in cutting the wood paneling that was pre-existing on the wall. And, also, cutting wiring metal tube that was behind the projection screen. The 1080p projection screen was phenomenal. – Teng

Click here to WIN PRIZES from our sponsors Bosch, Blaklader, SKIL and more.

Cut Wood with Your Multi-Tool

MY FRIEND picked up a new sliding door to replace his falling apart French doors. I needed to notch out 1-1/2″ x 50″ from the bottom plate to fit/mount the door. My RotoZip flooring saw could cut only 3/4″ deep into the plate. My 12V oscillating multi-tool did it in 2 batteries + 1 recharge. It sure impressed my friend (me too) so much, that I cut all the miters for the trim with it too! Caulked and painted, while he fired up the grill and iced the beer. That’s how to spend a Sunday, helping a friend, eating steak, drinking beer and watching football. – Maurice

I BORROWED a Rigid multi-tool off a friend for cutting the moldings on the wall and cutting the odd angles around the room, that would have been almost impossible with a circular or jig saw. The use of the oscillating tool made the job so much easier and there was less clean-up after the job was done because of not having to use a saw which would have caused a mess due to all the dust that is created by them. – Lester

I JUST finished putting in a new kitchen floor and to say my mult-tool made my job easier is an understatement!! I don’t know if people understand how much work went into trying to cut the bottom of the baseboard to put the new flooring in. I can tell you that it makes my job so much easier you can cut under door jams with ease!! Anything that makes my job easier and faster means more money in my pocket. I bid jobs and don’t work hourly so any time a tool can speed up my job and save me time is more money in my pocket which is what you want from any tool you buy because if it takes me longer I cannot charge more – I lose money if I get slowed down on any part of the job.  If you are a professional or just a handyman this tool will do the same. – Gary

I RECENTLY was working on a large custom home with very expensive hardwood trim and 1″ Oak paneling.  I needed to install several security devices, and the cutouts had to be very precise.  Working clearance was tight and the material to be cut was very hard. Traditional methods were not possible due to wiring close to the surface behind the paneling and trim.  The multi-tool with the appropriate accessories allowed me the combination of precise control and cutting power to do a professional job in a difficult situation. – Kris

I RE-GROUTED and re-trimmed our entire backsplash in the kitchen (20 sq. ft.) to break in our new multi-tool.  It worked better than I thought it would – so well that it earned a permanent place in the work truck.  Not many tools can claim that honor after a first go round. – Katherine

I WAS hired to wire a shop. The owner didn’t quite know where he wanted all the receptacles. The builders covered one side of the center wall with T111 board. Afterwards the owner wanted receptacles every four feet. I precut a board the size of my receptacle box. I then marked the height and location for each box. Using my Bosch MX30 mult-tool I was able to quickly cut all the T1-11 board holes necessary for the receptacles. My MX30 saved me a lot of time on this (and other) project. – Garrett

IN A depressed tiled patio with a too small floor drain, the jambs of both doors rotted out and needed the bottom 6″ replaced and the sills reattached to the repaired jambs. The rotted areas were removed and new sections spliced in with complex lap joints that duplicated the original jamb profile. – Jon

LAST YEAR, I was remodeling a waterfront cottage in Vermont. The main part of the old ‘Camp’ was built in 1908 using 1-3/4″ x 5-3/4″ floor joists spaced 24″ on center. I had to cut many notches out of a beam sitting on a concrete foundation to fit larger floor joists. The only saw I could use to get to the area was the oscillating multi-tool. It enabled me to cut the sides of the slot all the way into and up against the exterior siding. The ability to position the blade in many different ways made the tool work well. I was also able to cut the bottom of the slot to the depth of the blade. Still a bit challenging but it worked and I then took a chisel to remove the remaining wood between the cuts. – George

I HAD to repair 3 Andersen casement windows where the bottom frame, & part of the 2×6 sill had rotted out. This involved cutting out what was left of the wood frame, remaking a frame piece & installing it in each window. Remaking the piece and reinstalling it was a piece of cake. Removing the old rotted wood is where the multi-tool shines. The tool was able to get into small areas to the left, center & right where the lower frame met the sides or center stile. To remove the partially rotted 2×6 sill, the tool was able to slide in above the jack studs & below the sill plate. Due to the action of the tool, the exterior stucco wall, the interior drywall and the window itself weren’t damaged. Another tool, like a sawzall would have shaken the wall & window frame, & damaged the stucco, window and drywall. – Ira

Cut Window with Oscillating Multi-Tool

WHEN WE installed the new kitchen floor, we lowered it to adjust for level and the old door casings no longer reached the tile. We cut the casing using the multi-tool about 1/4 inch above the base mold in the room and installed plinth blocks at the base of each casing. The job finished out with a better look than it had before with the larger and more substantial trim installed but with out the multi-tool we would have had to remove all the casing. What a great tool. – Rob

Click here to WIN PRIZES from our sponsors Bosch, Blaklader, SKIL and more.

Cut Metal with Your Multi-Tool

In addition to standard wood cutting applications, a multi-tool can be used to cut tough metal, but you need to make sure you use the correct blade.  Read reviews on a new carbide-tipped blade from 10 BTP product testers.

I BOUGHT a 3-panel patio door for a home project, but the glass was defective and I had to replace it myself. Two panels were stationary and the only way to remove them from the installed frame was to reach in through a very slim opening and cut hardened steel factory installed screws around the perimeter of the panels. Using steel cutting blades on an oscillating multi-tool was the only way. A lot of blades and some patience made an almost impossible job relatively easy. – Ed

I RECENTLY used my multi-tool to restore an antique mantle for my daughter’s new home.  The photo is of my Mastercraft multi-tool cutting off old nails with a wood and metal cutting blade.  I also used the tool to cut out damaged sections of the wood to replace it with new wood around the bottom.  Multi-tools make jobs like this much easier and faster! – Rob

Cut an Antique Mantel Using Oscillating Multi-Tool

I USE my multi-tool for dozens of jobs, but the most satisfying is cracking the nuts on kitchen sink faucets, the ones that are either corroded in place or made of brittle old plastic – the ears break, but the nut doesn’t move.  You’re wedged into a cabinet door that would have been narrow when you weighed 30 pounds less and the nuts are at arm’s length above your head, in a dark narrow space with no room for tools.  You reach up with the multi-tool and go ZIP…ZIP…ZIP and the nut falls off.  Usually in your face, but hey, at least it came off.  Do it a couple more times, that old faucet is headed for the brass recycling bin and life is good. – Bob

WHERE THE Bosch oscillating multi-tools really shine are the hard to get to places that no other tool can get to. With my MX25 I was able to cut a four inch sewer pipe that was stuck in a corner behind a water heater and fresh water entry. I have used this tool in many awkward positions with great results. Most recently I was able to cut the head off of a rusted toilet tank connecting bolt by simply turning the blade backwards and laying the blade against the bottom of the tank and pulling the saw teeth into the bolt. (After draining the tank of course.) I love this tool. – Phil

Cut Everything Else with Your Multi-Tool

Besides wood and metal you can use your multi-tool to cut a variety of materials.  Read below for ideas for your next project or add your own to our comments section.

ALL OF the original aluminum windows were replaced and the T&G siding had to cut back. All the corners were finished using the Bosch multi-tool. The exterior trim had to be modified in spots to make it all line up due to bad framing with inconsistent sight line. There were more than 20 units over 32 sf with 8′ x 8′ patio doors adjoining. – Bill

Cut Siding Using Oscillating Multi-Tool

I HAD to install another post for a retrofit a screened in porch on an existing patio. There was no way to attach the post at the top without cutting through the soffit and nailing the post to the rafters. The oscillating multi-tool was the perfect tool cut the small access through the cement fiber soffit to get the post up to the rafters. Quick, neat, easy, and accurate. – Jerry

OCCASIONALLY YOU come across a pipe that has no clearance for a tubing cutter. The multi-tool cuts through drainage or supply pipes with ease on those cases. One of my favorite tools! It is also excellent for starting a cut in installed duct work instead of the often used hammer and screwdriver method. – Lorne

OUR CHURHCH’S gym bulletin board needed a plexiglass guard.  I used my Bosch 12v multi-tool to cut plexiglass and grind off the four corners and used my Bosch 12v drill for the mounting screws.  My 12v Bosch multi-tool is one of my favorite tools and is used on numerous projects. – Joseph

Click here to WIN PRIZES from our sponsors Bosch, Blaklader, SKIL and more.

Grind, Scrape and Sand with Your Multi-Tool

WITH MY job I always run into one-more-task that needs to be done, and need a tool to be flexible enough to complete it.  Just last week, I was on a job and am normally able to use a razor to cut caulk, and remove pieces that I need to remove.  As it turned out, this time, I couldn’t get the rail to move after cutting the caulk.  Looking at the area closer revealed an inch of caulk behind the rail, which was acting like glue.  The rail had to come off, so what to do?  I grabbed my Dremel, chose a multi-purpose cutting bit, and cut through the caulk like a knife in hot butter.  The rest was history, and the shutter I fixed worked better than before. – Sven

I BORROW my neighbour’s Bosch multi-tool to clean the rust off my landscaping tools. It works better than anything else I have ever used. – Ed

ONE OF the tasks I used to hate was removing the grout from customer’s showers. It was a tiring, dusty CHORE that I hated taking on. When I discovered a carbide grout blade for my OMT I was I initially sceptical, but figured, why not? Since then, I haven’t looked back. The ease of the multi-tool coupled with dust collection makes this task almost a pleasure. No more aching shoulders and tired arms. No more breathing nasty dust from all over the place. – Mark

THIS PROJECT illustrates (see image below) several advantages to using an oscillating multi-tool to grind and add texture and grip to slippery a concrete step.  The project starts with taking a standard speed square and marking lines at a 45 degree angle roughly 1” apart.  Next, I used the Milwaukee 18V oscillating tool on the low setting to carve a 1/16” groove where the lines were drawn. When the carving is complete it is important to use a high quality sealer with sand added for grip. – Jason

Grinding Using a Multi-Tool

I HAD to cut back old existing baseboard to where the stair skirtboard terminates at the top of the stairs and then blend in the new baseboard which is almost identical to the old (only a different thickens). I had to sand flush the new baseboard which is thicker to the old in order to have a flush joint – Jeff

Sanding Using Oscillating Multi-Tool

It Did What?! – Creative Multi-Tool Uses

We’ve heard some creative ways pros have used their multi-tools.  If you have a unique application for your multi-tool, please share it in our comments section.

BELIEVE IT or not, I used mine to clean up a chain link fence that we painted. A large grape vine, the base was about 5 inch in diameter, had grown into the chain link encasing the wires. This tool made it possible to surgically cut it off without damaging the fence. – Vince

UPON GETTING into golf a few years ago I bought a set of clubs, but they were too long for me. Rather than paying a professional to shorten them I decided I can do it myself and my multi-tool is the perfect tool. My multi-tool cut the golf club’s graphite shafts great.  – Boyd

Cutting Golf Clubs Using Oscillating Multi-Tool

Read all about oscillating multi-tools on our forum.  See what the pros prefer and what tools and accessories they find most helpful.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, join more than 45,000 of your peers who subscribe to the BeThePro.com newsletter to receive professional construction articles and news.

About

BeThePro.com is a construction industry information source for professionals working in the North American market. It provides access to how-to, best practices and best new materials details from experts in a variety of disciplines. The site is sponsored by leading construction manufacturers

29 comments on “32 Ways to Use a Multi-Tool – The Ultimate Multi-Tool Project Guide

  1. Matt

    My OMT is definitely among the most versatile tools I own. I haven’t used them for as many uses as all of these, but I have found it to be well worthwhile enough to haul out almost every day. The selection of blades, adapters and tools is growing all the time too.

  2. Chad

    I bought my OMT to cut holes in plaster and lathe for some new outlets. It worked great for that project and has gone on to become the tool that I always carry around and my go-to tool for multiple jobs.

  3. Kurt

    Great information Boyd, it seems like we find a new use for our multi tools every day. Before I had one, I thought the were more of a hobby tool, not something for professional tradesman. Once I had one, I wouldn’t be without it.

  4. Pat

    Re: Bob’s experience in removing corroded kitchen faucet nuts – I can relate! I’ve replaced most of the bathroom faucets in the apartment complex, but there was 1 that I couldn’t because the nuts were so tight the ears broke off. I unfortunately left it for several years, then I bought my OMT. After using the OMT for a few projects, I realized this was the right tool to remove that faucet – and like you experienced, it did the job.

  5. John S

    I knew I could use my OMT for a wide array of tasks, but I didn’t think about using it a lot of the ways mentioned here. I definitely will try to keep the things I learned from this article in mind! Great stuff!

    1. Bob

      Ref turning a saw blade into a scraper, I’ve been disappointed because most of the available scraper blades are too soft. W/ the help of a grinder, sounds like a good way to recycle dull toothed blades.

  6. Marc

    I used my Fein multi-tool to cut a hole for an outlet box in a plaster and lath wall and the plaster ground the teeth of the blade almost down. Which surprised me. Its a scraping blade now. The plaster was in a house built in 1907. I am afraid to do that again because the blades are costly. Anyone else have that experience? I will stick to just wood in the future.

  7. Boyd

    Marc, Have you tried the carbide tipped blades? I cut a lot of metal with mine and they seem to hold up pretty good. I would think they would do better for your use

  8. Dirty

    I like the carbide tipped blades along with the ones with the Japanese style teeth on them for wood. I use the Bi metal blades for the demo work because I never know when I’ll hit a nail.

  9. david

    I also use mine almost daily! Great for cutting vinyl siding also!! When they first became popular i didn’t think i would use it much! Boy i was wrong!! =)

  10. Brendan

    Cutting sapplings.

    I was putting some siding on this older house, it was overgrown and hard to walk thru. Grabbed the new 12V Bosch OMT and trimmed away.

    Keep the blade close to the ground and grab the top and bend a bit. For old dead branchs farther up the tree, keep the blade as close to the truck.

    Beats going to the truck for a chain saw.

  11. Michael

    I dont know what I would do with out my multi tool. Some situations it is irreplaceable, i really like it for cutting off nails behind trim, not damaging the wall or the trim. i have used it scrape VCT off concrete and cut a miter or two as well. It comes with me to every job.

  12. Brian

    Love my MX30! Used it the other day cutting out a section of wall plate that was sitting on concrete.. I thought it worked better than a reciprocating saw . I’ve learned you can cut electrical wiring with it too …just make sure the power is off first! (Notched a brand new blade ):-(

  13. Dan Fast

    Started with a Harbor Freight OMT (the better one), and got a Porter Cable when they came out with their tool-less. Used them for all sorts of things from wood to Cu pipe to tile and back. Great for all. Works where nothing else will. If I were buying today I’d go with the Bosch tool-less. Their blades seem to last the best and I like the way their tool-less works.

  14. William Smith

    Hello
    I have a Craftsman Nextec 12Volt Multi-Tool. What Blade do I use to grind metal-steel down. I have a rectangular steel tubing 2″ x 4″ x 4 1/2″ long with 1/4″ wall. It has a internal seam 1/16″ to 3/32″ high. I need to grind that seam down, to get even with surrounding metal. I would rather grind the seam than to cut it. Open for any suggestions. William

  15. Doug

    I use my multitool almost daily. I am a flooring contractor so it has to cut and sand. I have had tried master craft, 2 different size Dremels, and the Fein. Nothing even comes close to the fein. It is corded, but it is a long cord. Some have complained about the cost of the blades and dulling quickly. Blades at the big box stores are around $10 a blade if you buy a sleeve of 10. Order blades online for less than half the price and make sure your using the proper blade. Otherwise you will ruin the blade or your project. FEIN FEIN FEIN multitool, nothing I have used even comes close.

  16. best plasterer

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing
    through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me.

    Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I discovered it and
    I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back often!

  17. Ray

    I have used my Bosch MX30 for a lot of things from grinding tile grout to cutting holes in drywall for outlet boxes/electrical sub-panels, hole in door for doggie door installation, cutting the heads off drywall hanger screws (sometimes that toggle just turns with the screw), cut PVC, to name a few. This is about the most versatile tool I have ever owned!

  18. Pingback: Best Multi Tools 2018 - The Must-Have for Outdoorsmen

  19. John Stokes

    Selection of a tool is depending on the elements that you want to cut. Metal is composed of individual crystals arranged in a pattern and density specific to that type of metal. Thanks for sharing. Visit: https://bit.ly/2jOPBak

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

queries. 0.327 seconds