8 Ways To Use Oscillating Tools

Cut DIY time in half by using oscillating tools for these 8 jobs 

Oscillating Tools, DIY, Handyman Magazine,

Oscillating tools are versatile and can be used in lieu of many other power tools

Oscillating tools bridge the gap between the functions of other tools. They can save the day when you least expect it, especially if you’re armed with a good range of accessories. They’re useful for an incredible variety of tasks including flush cutting, scraping and sanding.
An oscillating tool works by moving the blade from side to side in a small arc at very high speed. The blade only moves about 3º, at a rate equivalent to about 20,000 rpm. It is compatible with a wide range of attachments, from flush-cut saw blades to sanding pads to scrapers
Here are 8 ways you can use an oscillating tool for easier DIY.

1. Make plunge cuts

One of the handiest applications of an oscillating tool is its ability to make plunge cuts in materials ranging from plasterboard to plywood and weatherboard. It’s ideal for cutting away a damaged section of a wall as well as making cutouts for switch plates or multimedia cables.

TIP Rotate the blade to cut neat, perpendicular corners.


Handyman Magazine, DIY, Oscillating Tools, Make a plunge cut with an oscillating body,

Use an oscillating tool to easily make plunge cuts in materials like plasterboard and plywood


2. Undercut a doorjamb

When installing a new laminate floor, or tiling over an existing surface, it is often necessary to trim the base of the doorjambs. Instead of using a handsaw, make the cuts using an oscillating tool with a segment blade. Position an offcut of flooring under the blade to use as a guide that will instantly align the blade at the precise height required.

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Undercut a door jamb with an oscillating tool  Trim the base of doorjambs with an oscillating tool 

3. Slice through fasteners

When replacing weatherboards or wall trim, you may be faced with screws that have seized or corroded, or nails that split the timber when you try to pry it off. The simple solution is to lever the board just enough to slip the blade of an oscillating tool in, then use a timber and metal blade to cut through the stubborn fasteners.

TIP Protect the adjacent surface with an offcut of sheet metal.

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Slice through fasteners with an oscilllating tool
 Oscillating tools come in handy when you need to slice through fasterners 

4. Remove grout with ease

Fitted with a carbide grit segment blade, an oscillating tool is great for chewing through old grout. It’s faster than using a handheld grout saw and it won’t damage tiles or whip up a dust storm.

TIP It’s best to use a corded tool for this job as removing grout can be quite time consuming.

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Remove grout with an oscillating tool,  With an oscillating tool removing grout is easily done

5. Give your chisels a break

Making flush cuts in small pieces of timber, such as when trimming dowels or cutting packers around a new doorjamb, has traditionally been a job for a sharp chisel. An oscillating tool with a flush cut blade can do the job with equal precision but without the shock of a hammer blow, which can jar a key component out of alignment.

 Handyman Magazine, DIY, Use an Oscillating Tool instead of a chisel
A flush cut blade allows an oscillating tool to function as a chisel 

6. Scrape away dried glue

Another invaluable use for this tool is to mount a scraper attachment and scrape away dried adhesive, peel up vinyl tiles or strip old silicone.

With a chisel accessory, it can even chip off small splashes of concrete after a masonry job. 

Handyman Magazine, DIY, scrape away dried on glue with an oscillating tool  Next time you are faced with dried up gunk, use an oscillating tool with a scraper attachment 

7. Access awkward areas

One of the great things about oscillating tools is that they have a very compact working envelope. In other words, the cutting or grinding is highly localised, and situated at the very front of the tool. Unlike circular saws, reciprocating saws or jigsaws, which all need quite a lot of clearance around the actual cutting edge of the blade, oscillating tools can be used unimpeded in a tight spot.

 Handyman Magazine, DIY, use an oscillating tool to reach in to awkward areas
 Oscillating tools are great to use in hard-to-reach areas 


8. Slice through bolts

Instead of trying to remove badly corroded nuts with a shifter or vice grips, you can just cut straight through the bolts. An oscillating tool can also slice through adhesive with minimal damage to the joining surfaces.

Handyman Magazine, DIY, Use an oscillating tool to remove nuts Oscillating tools are a great tool to use for slicing through bolts and adhesive 
Vote It Up: 

See also

Adam's Workshop Overhaul
No matter whether you own enough tools to fill a shed or just a few for maintaining a bicycle, you need a space to store them...
DIY Classic Workbench
No DIY space is complete without a sturdy and stable workbench, and if this one looks familiar, it’s probably because it’s a...
Workbench Inspiration

This wall-mounted bench features strip lighting, powerpoints and dust extraction

The spaces that are used for DIY projects range from a garden shed or corner of the garage to a purpose-designed workshop....
Install A Sectional Garage Door Opener
Before automating a sectional garage door, it’s important to do research to ensure the opener matches the door.  A...
Install An Automatic Door Opener To A Rolling Garage Door
Tired of getting in and out of the car just to open and close the roller door on the garage, especially on rainy days?  ...
7 Tips For Using A Circular Saw
Subscribe to Handyman on Youtube A circular saw is a powerful tool that’s ideal for making straight cuts in a variety of types...