Do you own a Fein Multimaster or one of its clones from Bosch, Rockwell or Dremel? If you do, are you one of those who find that your Fein Multimaster blades seem to wear out too quickly? This is a major problem with power tools which use an oscillating system instead of a rotary system. It is a limitation of the design - oscillating/vibrating the blade instead of rotating the blade gives you more precision and control, but at the same time places certain limits on the physical structure of the blades. These physical limitations cause the blades to wear out more quickly, to be more fragile and more expensive to produce. That is why even the Dremel Multi-Max and Rockwell Sonicrafter which sell for one quarter the price of a Fein Multimaster do not have significantly cheaper blades. Their blades last about as long, but are still nearly as expensive as the blades for Fein power tools.

So does that mean you need to resign yourself to paying a lot of money for frequent replacement Fein Multimaster blades (or Bosch Multi-X, or Rockwell Sonicrafter, or Dremel Multi-Max)? The answer is "No!"

The first step of extending the life of your Fein Multimaster blades is to realize that a multimaster tool is not meant to do everything under the sky. It is especially not meant to do large volume jobs. If you need to do a lot of general purpose cutting, the best power tool for many DIY home remodelers is probably a Milwaukee Sawzall. The Sawzall reciprocating saw is cheap, at roughly $100 for a new unit, and maybe $40 to $70 for a factory-reconditioned unit (compared to Fein power tools at $400, Bosch at $200+, Rockwell at $120 and Dremel at $100). The Sawzall's general-use blades cost about $2 each, compared to the Multimaster's E-blade which costs around $15 to $16 each (when bought in a 3-blade pack).

In other words, you really need to match the right tool to the right job, just like the professionals. Professional home renovation contractors have an entire arsenal of power tools at hand, and to them, the Fein Multimaster is just more one item in that arsenal. Fein power tools are best used to make precise custom cuts and other small-scale jobs where no other power tool works, so that is what a professional uses them for. Not for cutting holes in drywall, even though the Fein can do the job. That is what their trusty Bosch Rotozip spiral saw was originally designed to do. But when they need to make a precise cut in floor tiles up against a wall, or sand the corners of window frames, or work in tight, confined spaces ... that's when they pull out their Fein Multimaster tool.

The second important point of extending the life of your Fein Multimaster blades is to pick the right blade for the right job. Fein's E-blade is a good general purpose blade. It cuts through quite a lot of things well. But if you are cutting hardwood, or cutting pieces of wood where you risk hitting nails, you are better off choosing the hard material blade. No, it comes with neither the standard Fein tools package nor the top-of-the-line package. You need to buy this blade separately.

The same principle goes with removing grout. The standard carbide-tipped blade is fine for small amounts of degrouting. But if you need to use a Fein Multimaster to remove 10,000 feet of grouting, you really need to buy the diamond-edged blade. Although it is double the price of the carbide blade, it will last much longer. Even then, you will need more than one blade to complete the task.

The third vital point of extending the life of your Fein Multimaster blades is to use the right technique. Many people, especially novice DIY-ers, simply use too much force. With a multimaster tool, a gentle touch is necessary. Let it cut or work through the material on its own, applying just feather-light pressure. You will find that this not only works faster, it greatly extends the lifespan of the blade as well. In fact, this is also true of using the Bosch Multi-X, the Rockwell Sonicrafter and the Dremel Multi-Max.

Besides using only a light pressure, you'll need to use the correct oscillating cycle. Fein power tools let you go from 12,000 to 21,000 oscillations per minute. Other brands offer similar performance levels. The demonstration DVD should give you a good start on which cycle to use. If you have a lot of experience with power tools, a little bit of experimentation will show you how many oscillations you need to get the job done most efficiently. If you do not have the confidence in your skills, Fein's customer support center can be very helpful. Based on customer reports, the other companies' customer support in North America are also quite competent.

While there is more to correct technique than just these two factors, they are difficult to describe and better learned from experience. Which means that you need to leave your brain switched on when using a multimaster tool. You cannot afford to work with power tools with your brain switched off, or you will get into accidents and never learn how to use them correctly. You really need to be open to the feedback the tool gives you. Is it kicking back? Are the blades breaking very often? Or wearing out too quickly? Vibrating too much? Going too slowly? If using your Fein tools in a certain way does not give you desirable results, try using them in a different way. It's nuts to do the same thing over and over again yet expect to get different results.

So these are the three most important points to remember for making your Fein Multimaster blades last longer. Do not use the Fein Multimaster or its clones when some other power tool works better. Do not use the wrong blade for the job. Use the right technique. Remember that the blades of a multimaster tool are fragile and expensive regardless of the brand. Used correctly, they will last the distance and complete the job. Used wrongly, the replacement costs will send you to the poorhouse.