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What Is an Oscillating Tool?

If you ask any person who does a lot of DIY projects or home repairs, installing your toolkit is not complete without an oscillating multitool. This tool gives you a wide range of projects and tasks that you can do with one simple tool. But not only does it give you multiple tools, but it is also often easier to get into tight spaces so that you can complete the job to the best of your ability.

So just what is an oscillating tool? We thought we’d break it down a little for you so that you could decide if that person who suggested you add this to your toolkit was right or not.

Defining An Oscillating Tool

You can think of an oscillating multi-tool as the Swiss army knife of power tools. It is crafted with an interchangeable head so that you can attach multiple different types of attachments allowing you to complete multiple tasks with just that one simple tool. The design of these tools allows for clean results even in the most inaccessible areas. The tools themselves are popular with a wide number of tradespeople, including flooring and cabinet installers and carpenters.

This tool is designed to take those interchangeable heads, and utilizing electricity, the tool itself oscillates, which vibrates the blades in a smaller arc than other more powerful power tools. This means that there is less mess and dust, so it’s cleaner and quieter, making it ideal for many different projects.

Things To Look For in an Oscillating Tool

Now that you understand a little about what exactly an oscillating tool is, you’re probably wondering what you should look for. The first thing you want to do is make sure you check out the specs, paying close attention to the oscillation angle above all else. This is the metric that measures how far the blade travels as it vibrates.

Typically you want to find one between two and four degrees. The shorter strokes of this oscillating angle will give the user better control, and the final project will have a smoother finish. However, if you’re looking for something that cuts fast, you will want a greater oscillating angle.

When looking at the features, you’re going to want to look for a variable speed trigger, which means that you have greater control and an optional cutting speed. That means you can customize the speed for the project, the attachment, and the material, making it safer.

You can also look for other safety features such as trigger locks so that you can ensure that no matter what, you’re protected against as much as possible. Also, since you will be using the tool for long projects, you may want to look into the comfort level, including an ergonomic grip. This may reduce overall fatigue and allow you a better experience.

If you’re someone who’s working on a job site or just on a rather large project, you may also want to look into whether the unit is cordless or non-cordless. Of course, cordless will give you more mobility, which can come in handy for those working in large areas.

Lastly, you should look for an also-in tool with a wide variety of accessories, particularly blades and discs. The more options you have, the more jobs this one tool can do, and in the end, that will save you time and money.

A Few Jobs An Oscillating Tool Can Be Used For

We’ve said over and over again that this tool allows you to do a wide range of jobs. To show you what we mean, we thought we’d go over some of the tasks that this tool finds itself regularly doing.

Trim Cut In

Maybe you’re looking to modify an interior partition, and you don’t want to have to go through a demolition and construction project. With an oscillating tool, you can go in almost surgically along the wall where you want to make the changes to your baseboard and trim any surfaces pretty easily.

Undercut Door Jambs

If you’re tired of looking at that old flooring and you want to install a new one, you will have to deal with the doors in the house. The best way to do this is to cut the door jamb and any trims so that you can have enough room for the elevated floor levels.

Typically, you might see a flush-cutting circular saw used in this process, which makes the project more expensive and time-consuming. You can use an oscillating multitude to do the same job and a fraction of the time.

Grout Removal

Every now and then, it’s good to replace the grout in your bathroom. This gives your bathroom a new and fresh look, and you can easily do it if you use an oscillating tool with a carbide grit attachment. This can cut grout and even tile if you need it to. On top of this, if any repairs have to be done to any of the shower piping, you can use the multi-tool to help you as well.

Paint Preparation

Adding a new coat of paint to anything from your house to furniture can make it seem brand new. But there is a specific process that goes through in making something ready to receive a new coat of paint. This typically starts with removing any dirt and then sanding the area and filling and hiding any blemishes.

That is all done before you even slap a coat of primer on. Most oscillating multitools come with a triangular sanding head which is perfect for smoothing rough wood or sanding down wood filler which is one of the first steps you have to take in your paint preparation process.

Final Thoughts

So you can see that including an oscillating tool into your kit can be very beneficial as it gives you a wealth of tools in one compact package. You now know exactly what an oscillating tool is and how you can use it. Good luck!

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