Can an oscillating multi-tool make precision cuts? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-14-2011, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Can an oscillating multi-tool make precision cuts?

I see that oscillating multi-tools appear to be all the rage with all the tool makers. However, the question is, "is it rock or disco?"

Should I be considering one for precision cutting? For example, with a few weeks of practice, could someone cut dovetails with them (assuming they can already cut dovetails with a dovetail saw)?

I know the large blade won't handle curves too well, but will it handle straight cuts as well as a jigsaw?

I have never used one. Should I be considering them for woodworking (furniture and boxes)? The manufacturers seem to be promoting it for rough cutting in drywall and making awkward cuts you couldn't make with other tools.

The Milwaukee M12 model caught my eye because it is bundled with a drill and impact driver for a pretty good price. However, my initial reaction is that it probably wouldn't get much use or replace my jigsaw for precision cuts or my reciprocating saw for rough demolition.

Has anyone had good experiences with these tools and woodworking? Are there any situations where you've found them to be indispensable?
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-14-2011, 01:29 PM
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In the right hands, they can be precise.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-14-2011, 01:52 PM
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Maybe..

Honestly, I can't get a perfect cut with one but my practice is limited. I can tell you though, there have been times where that thing (Fien multitool here) has absolutely saved my ass. I really do like having it around.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 06:45 AM
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The very vibration that drives the blades is going to limit precision. They were not designed for precision and probably should not be used for precision.

George
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 07:51 AM Thread Starter
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The very vibration that drives the blades is going to limit precision. They were not designed for precision and probably should not be used for precision.
Thanks George, that's kind of what I figured.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaGeek View Post

Should I be considering one for precision cutting? For example, with a few weeks of practice, could someone cut dovetails with them (assuming they can already cut dovetails with a dovetail saw)?

Has anyone had good experiences with these tools and woodworking? Are there any situations where you've found them to be indispensable?
I've got the HF model, and like it's been said it has been a lifesaver for those times you can't use another tool. It's not intended to do dovetails or other fine work. That's left for the proper tool and a crraftsman to use it. I will say that even with the proper tool, I've seen work done with the "proper" tool that looked like a chainsaw did it.






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post #7 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 11:12 AM
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I bought this HF model a year ago, HF had them for sale in the low $30s. I bought it for one project where I thought I couldn't use anything else. I have since used the HF multitool dozens of times, for all kinds of things, some fairly precise work. I have had to replace a couple of the blades 3 times because I have just plain worn them out.
As for precision, you can easily mess something up, but if you are careful nice clean work is possible.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 11:46 AM
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I was thinking of picking up a Ridgid multi-tool. But if you guys like the HF model so much, maybe I'll just get one of them and save the $$. The variable speed model that Yocalif mentioned is on sale right now for $50, plus I have a 20% off coupon.

Bill
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-15-2011, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I will say that even with the proper tool, I've seen work done with the "proper" tool that looked like a chainsaw did it.

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post #10 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 09:06 AM
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I've also got one of the HF variable speed models. I picked it up for a specific project, then experimented with it. If I'm careful, I can follow a pencil line pretty closely, and make some fairly fine cuts. It never leaves a very clean edge, though, so for something like dovetails you'd have to plan on some sanding or filing after making the cut. The speed might be worth it, but I probably wouldn't bother.

Something to watch out for with the HF tool, by the way: I've had the bolt that holds the blade in place vibrate loose enough that the blade started swinging free. I'd recommend stopping periodically to make sure it's tight if you get one.
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-16-2011, 10:47 PM
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Something to watch out for with the HF tool, by the way: I've had the bolt that holds the blade in place vibrate loose enough that the blade started swinging free. I'd recommend stopping periodically to make sure it's tight if you get one.
This is true, many of the HF blades can be put on two ways, by simply flipping the blade over. One way seams to make the nut loosen the other doesn't.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-17-2011, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by yocalif View Post
This is true, many of the HF blades can be put on two ways, by simply flipping the blade over. One way seams to make the nut loosen the other doesn't.
I don't think it's that -- I've tried the blade both ways. It feels like the threads were cut a little too deep or something, and there's just not enough friction to keep the bolt tight. If I tighten it down it works great for about 15-20 minutes before I have to tighten it again. That's about all I ever want it for anyway, so it's not really a big deal. Just a minor annoyance, and really startling the first time it happened!
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-17-2011, 03:03 PM
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I just dropped my HF multitool from about 7' onto concrete, and it is no longer working. That's $49 replacement cost... I use that tool for so many little things, don't want to be without it.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-17-2011, 04:01 PM
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I've got a Dremel Multi-Max and, while it can get some pretty precise cuts, that's not it's forte. It has the ability to get in where nothing else can and do the job, ie, cutting some pipes to get the old shower valve out. It can also do some things better than the alternatives, it's great for removing old caulking and window glazing. For woodworking, the make short work of trimming dowels although, I wouldn't try them for flush cutting as they will scratch the adjacent surface.
Bottom line, if you are looking at it as part of a bundle you know you can use, grab it.

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post #15 of 17 Old 08-27-2012, 05:17 PM
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Actually the multi-tool can be very precise if guided. Cutting dovetails with a saw would still be better on the angled cuts of the tails and pins. But if you cut down the multi-blade to 1/4" and put the cut line down in the vise with a limiting board lined up with the bottom cuts, you can really reduce your chisel efforts.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-27-2012, 09:59 PM
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I got the craftsman nextex cordless one.......I LOVE It.....all thought I don't think i'd try to cut dovetails with it....
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post #17 of 17 Old 10-25-2013, 03:28 PM
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did it.

I was trying to think of way to make joining easier so I had this same exact Idea last night. I actually cut both pieces at the same time. this caused a really loose joint so I measured the curf caused by the blade (1/4 inch) and on the second try put back the second piece by that much. After the cut I removed the second piece and finished the cuts. I could not find a chisel or even my flat head so I used a philips to remove the notches that's why its so messed up. but it worked.

If I had better clamps and something to keep the tool level and chisels I think it would have turned out much better.
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