Every real man has a drill. Most men who are at least semi-serious about their DIY have a jigsaw, grinder or sander in their shed. But if you’re a man who uses power tools for more than fun, and not just because you got one as a Christmas present, you have probably considered adding a multi-tool to your arsenal. It’s worth it not only for the impressive-sounding accessory names (like ‘Sharkblades’ and ‘Supercut‘) but because of the time you save and the jobs it can do for you.
What’s a multi-tool?
‘Oscillating Tools’ are versatile handheld power tools that saw, grind, sand and scrape depending on the attached head. They are great for getting into those difficult corners and tight spots, and since the blade oscillates back and forth instead of spinning like a grinder, it doesn’t spew dust around the room which cuts down on the cleaning after a job. They are more and more common now but until 2008 the Fein Multimaster was the only multi-cutter on the market. Since the company’s patent on the idea expired, brands like Bosch, Makita and Worx have raced to provide cheaper alternatives that still cut the mustard so the choices available are broadening by the year and the prices are coming down.
The most common complaint about multi-tools is not the price of the tool itself or the speed (ususally over 11000rpm at least even for cordless models) but the cost of replacement blades;
“There are some jobs where nothing else will do, but I only use mine as a last resort because the blade prices are a rip off.
“I’d use it a lot more if I could get the blades at a sensible price.”
The branded blades at the top of the market like Fein multimaster blades or Fein supercut blades are very pricey, and the Bosch multi tool blades are no better- even Worx sonicrafter blades are not as cost effective as they seem. Your best bet is to go for one of the off-brand providers that fit blades for a variety of multi-tools (like Sharkblades or similar) as they will provide an equivalent performance for a much lower cost which means that you can use your multi-tool without tearing a hole in your wallet.
Why a multi-tool?
It’s handy for loads of different jobs- great for plumbing because with the appropriate blade a multitool can quickly cut through plastic,copper, and even old galvanized metal pipes. It can slice through virtually any building material, and is invaluable for flooring- when installing a new floor, a multitool is ideal for trimming the bottom ends of the door casings and jambs so the flooring will fit. You can grind off old adhesive with it, clean paint off most surfaces, it can be used for crafting wood or metal, and it will get into difficult places like the inside of cabinets or annoying ceiling corners without giving you a headache.
About the only thing you can’t use a multi-tool for is to shave yourself (although maybe the sanding attachment would work if you’re really tough…)