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So, I have been given some money for xmas etc. Thinking a little about an osciallating multicutter, but as my budget for tools is limited, I would like to justify the purchase.

When I search these tools on youtube etc, I see a ton of ads from bosch / Fein / makita cutting a tile here, and a doorframe there. But how often do I really do that ? I have never seen any of the (many) woodworking channels I follow actually use, or even mention the use of such tool.

So, if you own one, what do you actually use it for, and how often ? Would I be better of getting a €50 unit instead of forking out the €600 for a professional.

Thoughts welcome.
 

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They are great tools. I just got a porter cable corded one for Xmas. I've been borrowing my dad's cordless one for years. No it's not a woodworking tool, but it comes in handy more than you would think if you do any kind of rehab work or home remodeling. It will cut something when nothing else will fit in the spot.
 

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I have a low budget one, ($15 or 12.30 in Euros), that I have been using for 4 years.
At times it comes in extremely handy. Other times it sits in the box I built for it and sulks.
I have used more expensive models, and never saw much difference in them. Plus as long as they sit without use, the more money you will have doing nothing.

I don't do fine craftsmanship with it, but for making long, rough cuts it is good.

Just be ready to buy blades often. At 22,000 OPM, it goes through them fast.
 

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I have a 5 year old Sonicrafter. When you need it nothing else will replace it. I've used it mostly for plunge cutting into the bottom 6 inches or so of rotten door casings to put good wood in. Installing electrical boxes in wooden paneling or baseboard is also a great use for a plunge cutter. Also if you are doing a tile floor and need to undercut door casing it's great. Cons are the blades are too expensive and don't last long and the Sonicrafter blade is held in with a hex screw that vibrates loose constantly. I'd look for one with a better blade holding system. If you don't do renovation or refurb work I would skip it.
 

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I have a 5 year old Sonicrafter. When you need it nothing else will replace it.
...............If you don t do renovation or refurb work I would skip it.

- dhazelton
That's pretty much how I see it. I bought a Fein for some remodeling work and to replace a detail sander in the shop. I think I've used it as a sander maybe 5 times (in over 12 years) and since that initial remodeling job I've used another 8-10 times in home renovation. It does less work than my biscuit joiner…....but like dhazelton said: when you need it, nothing else will replace it.
 

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I use the HF version of the multi tool (about $15 on sale, or with a coupon). I know the Fein must be vastly superior, but 10 times as good? The cheap one is the single speed, and I have yet to feel a need for the multi speed unit.

I have abused the hell out of this thing. Sculpted a half-round hollow in solid 2×4 blocking for an inset toilet paper holder; scraped up an entire linoleum floor from my kitchen; cut a 2'x3' hole through plaster and wire lath in the kitchen ceiling for a skylight (with diamond blade); cut ceiling joists for the same skylight; polished a roughly cut end on a 3/8" thick piece of glass for a greenhouse window in the bathroom (diamond blade again, obviously); plunge cut the bottoms of door casings to accommodate new cork flooring; used in numerous situations for running wiring and new outlet boxes; sanded over 300 louver slats (in place) for custom closet doors; any number of plunge cuts where no other tool will work, short of a drill and chisel. I much prefer it for outlet boxes in drywall or even plaster over a Roto Zip, and it's much easier to control than the R-zip. Almost every task a R-zip can do I think the multi tool can do better.

I use it so much that I bought a spare (again, about $15) to have on hand in case of breakdown. In spite of many hours of use (sometimes 3 or 4 hours at a stretch), it has never gotten hot (as I found Dremel's version to do after about 20 minutes of work).

Twice it went dead on me. Opened it up, and found one of the leads had popped off a prong; the 2nd time, I had the sense to pinch the fitting a little so that wouldn't happen again.

I agree the blades are too expensive, and you go through a lot of them. Grizzly has the best prices by far on the blades (1/2 or less than anybody else), and they have a good selection.

I agree they are slow (though not bad with the Japanese style saw teeth), and tend to create smoke and burning in plunge cuts in hardwood. And they are annoyingly loud. I never use mine without ear muffs. I think the Fein is a loud as any of them.
 

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Once you have one, you really will wonder how you lived without one before. Really, you will. I thought they were toys till I owned one: boy, was I wrong. Over the years I've used mine more than I ever thought I would. Even sanding in corners becomes easier, as well as cutting, scraping, etc. I first bought the variable speed model from Harbor Freight, then, when I needed a second one, the Sonicrafter. Both have been going strong for 5 or 6 years now. While I like the Sonicrafter best, I certainly have nothing bad to say about Harbor Freight, either; they've both been good.
 

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I use my Fein ALL the time. One of the chores in the world that ranks right up there with the worst is scraping and sanding exterior trim for painting. The Fein makes this a piece of cake. It works fast, without destroying detail. Worth every penny for just this one use. The saw blades for flush cutting are great. I use mine with some clamped on wooden guides to cut copper-clad printed circuit board to size for a second hobby. The tools are so portable you can take them to the job rather than vice-versa.

A few lessons learned: Big brand name blades and fixtures are expensive. You can usually find a cheaper source for parts that will work. Some of the manufacturers have tried to come up with mounting systems that will keep you wedded to their line. There are some adapters that allow you to shop around.

It is VERY easy to overheat the triangular sanding pad attachments. They use hook and loop to attach the sanding sheets and pressing too much on the tip of the triangle can generate a lot of heat and it melts the hooks and loops together, eventually ruining the pad. Easy pressure, let the tool do the work.

Still not certain? Buy a cheapie from HF and give it a try on a few projects. You can always move up to a higher-end version.
 

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I also have the harbor freight version. It is not something I use very often, but I agree with Fred and dhazelton that it is invaluable when when you need it. It is great for flush cuts and for cutting soft plastic without burning. I especially like it for plunge cuts!
 

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It's kind of a companion tool to a reciprocating saw. It
can get in places the saw can't and do a plunge cut
into framing right quick and then knock out the
waste with a chisel… they are great for working
on old houses.

For making furniture I would recommend thinking
about hand tools. You'll enjoy having some good
ones, hand saws and decent chisels and things
like that.
 

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I really like my Porter Cable and use it often around the house. It's a great DIY tool. But like Bondo said, I have never used it on a woodworking project. I suppose you could, but there are other tools that do the job better.
 

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It's a great tool for remodel work. I bought mine after my remodel was mostly done, but I still found a ton of uses for it.

Such as:

  • Flush cut door jambs for flooring install
  • cutting wedges around door and window frames
  • cutting tile / grout
  • cutting outlets in wood / drywall
  • cutting in floor registers for a/c
  • cutting a stud that is still attached on the other side (jack studs in window)
  • getting behind trim and baseboard for easy removal (will cut through nails)
  • cope trim (coping saw blade breaks and you don't have a replacement)
  • cut conduit both PVC and metal
  • Removing old vinyl flooring
 

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I have one and use it a little, but not a lot. I haven't used it at all in woodworking. I used it a lot when putting in laminate flooring. It was great for cutting under the door trim pieces to get the flooring under. It also came in very handy in removing old caulking from my motorhome roof. I have a fiberglass roof so it works great. Wouldn't work so good on a rubber roof.
 

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Bought a Dremel multimax 5 years ago to cut door frames (to install laminate flooring),thought once I was done with doing the floors, I would never use it again but since then I have used it in many other occasions when no other tools would do as well or as quick ,like cutting two vertical grooves in the baseboard for hiding wires,cutting drywall to install a range hood ,the triangle sanding attachment is also used a few times.
 

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I also have the harbor freight version. It is not something I use very often, but I agree with Fred and dhazelton that it is invaluable when when you need it. It is great for flush cuts and for cutting soft plastic without burning. I especially like it for plunge cuts!

- CharlieK
Yep, what he said.

I was installing some base cabinets to form a wet bar. I needed to make four cuts in the base molding so the cabinets could fit against the wall. I cut the molding close enough that only a tiny bead of caulk was needed to make it look like an original install. That was worth more than the $15 I paid for it. :) Used it to install our cabinets also.
 

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I've owned my Sonicrafter for about four years, and I don't ever remember using it for an actual woodworking project.
I do, however, remember using it more than a few times around the house - cutting in new molding, cutting off rotten molding around the outside of the house, making plunge cuts for electrical outlets, doing gutter work.
Definitely more a handyman's/carpentry tool than a woodworking tool.
 

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I bought the milwaukee one specifically for use in woodworking. I thought the wood saw blade would be ideal for cutting tennons or mortises in hardwood.

At that task it failed. It failed so completely and utterly that I thought I had finally purchased a tool that was completely useless. I kept thinking that right up till I needed to cut out a little notch in some trim. My father and friend were trying to find ways to do it safely since the trim was already attached when I pulled out my milwaukee. It did the job in seconds and did it so well that I completely revised my opinion of the critter.

As a woodworking tool it is almost totally useless. The sanding attachments can sometimes be used by that is about it. As a tool for construction or rehab its priceless.
 
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