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10 Uses for Your Oscillating Multi-Tool

10 Uses for Your Oscillating Multi-Tool

Here at SGS Engineering, we believe an oscillating multi-tool is an essential part of any DIY tool box. This versatile tool you'll find is often your "go-to" all purpose fix-it tool. Whether you're cutting, scraping, sawing or sanding, the convenience of a multi-tool often wins out over other more specific power tools.

With the right accessory you can slice through woods, metals, drywall, mortar, fibreglass and plastic with ease. There's even heads out there specifically for polishing and grinding. Woodworkers, plumbers, contractors and do-it-yourself-ers have all found unique purposes for their multi-tools - so we thought it was worth sharing some of the ingenious ways they can be put to use.

Are you looking to purchase your own multi-tool or upgrade to something new? We've got a comprehensive buyers guide for choosing exactly the right model for you. Take a look at it here.

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Here's a list of 10 of our favourite uses for an oscillating multi-tool - we hope they'll give you a bit of inspiration for your own DIY projects!

1. Trimming pipes and screws

trimming pipes with a multi tool

Fitted with the right accessory blade, your multi-tool can become a plumber or labourer's best friend. Slice through plastic, copper and even galvanised metal piping with ease. Yes, a multi-tool can cut metal. Slice off excess screws that would otherwise be unsightly, if not dangerous. Because of the compact and portable nature of a multi-tool, awkward angles and tight spaces are super simple to navigate. This means you can trim of pipes and screws inside of cabinets, in the ceiling, behind the wall and under floor boards and many other hard to reach places.

2. Plunge cuts in your decking

Plunge cuts

Plunge cuts can be difficult, dangerous and just impossible with a conventional power tool. Whilst a good multi-tool and the right blade, makes it incredibly easy and safe, even when working on a harder material like decking boards.

Cut out holes for some clever under step lighting, make a cut for a support railing or just tidy up the edges for that professional finish. The light weight and easy to wield nature of a multi-tool makes it ideal for use outside and in tighter areas.

3. Trimming wood and floorboards

trimming wood and floor boards

Trimming operations aren't however limited to the outdoors. There are a hundred variable woodworking projects that you can use your oscillating tool with. Chopping out excess material from a frame, adjusting a piece of furniture or even altering a stud wall is an ideal task for this versatile power-tool.

Because the focus is on portability and manoeuvrability, trimming tasks are simpler, than say, a conventional jigsaw. If you have a battery powered multi-tool like the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Multi-Tool - you'll be completely freed from power outlets and cumbersome cables.

4. Cutting out openings in drywall

cutting openings in drywall

It's a simple one, but honestly, there isn't a better alternative for cutting out dry wall than your trusty multi-tool. Getting a perfect square cut is simple and accurate.

Mark an outline on to the surface of the dry-wall and use your wood or metal plunge cut blade to chop straight through the surface (remember to check for pipes and cables beforehand!). This is the most simple way of installing power outlets, switches, light fittings or removing damaged patch of dry wall. And don't limit yourself to just the walls - a good multi-tool is just as simple to use on the ceiling. Regardless of how tricky the angle is, you'll have the least amount of trouble with a multi-tool and plunge blade.

5. Removing rust from metals

multi tool for rust

Using a fine sanding pad you can clean rust from almost all mistreated metalwork. For example, you could use a multi-tool to clean the rust off old garden tools restoring them back to their former glory. Take the base of rust off an old garden gate before repainting for a professional looking finish.

6. Sanding down furniture

sanding using a multi tool

Sanding wood smooth is an integral operation for your multi-tool - but are you using this function to its full potential? Nice furniture tends to be an awkward shape, so using a traditional palm sander or orbital sander might not cut it.

With the right accessory, your multi-tool will tackle those tricky areas with ease. This is another job where a cordless, battery powered tool will save you the extra time and effort.

7. Scraping adhesive

Scraping adhesive

You probably don't have a power tool in your toolbox better suited for scraping than your multi-tool. High-strength mastics and vinyl floor adhesive can be a nightmare to get rid of after it's hardened. Instead of resigning yourself to a long, tough job by hand, get yourself a steel scraping attachment and put all those OPMs to good use. Simply slip the blade under a patch of the adhesive or a vinyl floor tile, scrape and pull.

8. Removing mortar

removing mortar

Attach a triangular-shaped carbide-grit rasp to your tool and now you've got yourself a convenient mortar grinder. Remove hardened thin-set mortar from a floor tile you're trying to salvage. In a few seconds you can remove set mortar, cement and dried adhesive with a grinding attachment.

9. Get rid of grout

getting rid of grout

Yes, there's even accessories out there designed specifically for removing grout. If an angle grinder seems a bit like over kill, buy yourself an inexpensive grit grout-removal blade and use it to cut out the ground from the joints between wall and floor tiles. Since the blade moves backwards and forwards, rather than spinning like a grinder, you won't get anywhere near as much dust spread throughout the room. Accessories come in a variety of thicknesses and shapes for use on wide and narrow grout joints.

10. Remove old paint

removing old paint

Scrape and sand away paint from a dilapidated window sill or a salvaged piece of vintage furniture. Being able to quickly swap around accessories means you can use a minimal amount of tools on one project.

That's less trips in and out of the shed fetching and carrying different tools. Tools like the Ryobi 200W Multi-Tool come with a handy carry case so you'll have all your accessories exactly when you need them where ever you want them.

Still not convinced a multi-tool is the most convenient tool in your toolbox? 10 ideas not enough? Here are some other things we've used our multi-tool for:

  • Cut back a baseboard
  • Repair door jambs
  • Setting hinges and door knob plates
  • Trim paintings
  • Sand down coarse metal
  • Remove old ceramic tiles
  • Pull up carpet
  • Cutting acrylic panelling
  • Make perfect notch cuts in a wooden shelf
  • Chop the end off nails
  • Cut out basic mitres in trim
  • Remove rotted wood
  • Open tough casing and packaging
  • Trim plastic piping to shape
  • Add a non-slip texture to concrete
  • Sand flush a baseboard or skirting

The only limit to these tools is the scope of your imagination. Be the best do-it-yourselfer you can be by getting to grips with a good oscillating multi-tool. Want to try some of these projects yourself, but don't have a multi-tool? Read our handy Multi-Tool Buyers Guide today.

Still need help?

still need help?

Our in house experts are always on hand for buying advice and to provide bespoke care, regardless of the application.

Call SGS on 01332 576 850 or fill out our contact form today.

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