Since the Fein Multimaster and its fellow oscillating tools are multifunctional, what are some of those functions. As you have seen in the ads for tools like the Dremel Multi-Max, there is always a triangular sanding pad for getting into those tight spaces. The Rockwell Sonicrafter is seen removing the grout from between the tiles. Someone else with will be cutting molding with a Multimaster, and another person will be scraping paint with their Bosch Multi-X. Just how many different task can you accomplish with these tools?


Let’s take a look at some of the applications you might have, and at some of the accessories you might use.


SANDING: Do you remember those times when you wrapped a piece of sandpaper around a block of wood so you could sand along the edge of something. Now you grab the Velcro backed triangular sanding pad, attach the sandpaper with the proper grit for your application, and sand along the edge almost like ironing. The best sanding is accomplished using the outer edge of the pad. The edges have an inline sanding motion perfect for this application. The point of the triangle will reach into tight corners, but keep the pad moving so there is minimal heat build up. One nice function of using the edge is that you can sand right up next to something without banging against it. A good example is in removing old glazing from windows. Conventional wisdom says use a putty knife or the saw blade for this, but in practice I found the sanding pad to be best. The old glazing is either rock hard or it just falls out. Even though it is hard, when you sand it with 80 grit paper it just turns to powder. The pad rides against the glass without banging against it. In just a few seconds you are down to bare wood and ready to prime and glaze. Just remember to keep the pad moving as if it was an iron. If your tool is equipped with variable speed, sanding at a slower speed will keep the pad from building up heat. Some of the kits will have a smaller sanding pad known as a sanding finger. It will reach into even tighter spaces. The Multimaster has a profile sanding set that creates an inline sanding action using different shapes to fit into dadoes, v-grooves, and molding.


SCRAPING: For those times when you reach for a putty knife to scrape up adhesive or paint, now you basically have a putty knife that goes back and forth about 20,000 times per minute. The scraping blades will come in several different shapes, but for the most part your decision is between a stiff blade and a flexible blade. The flexible blade works best on caulking around a tub or shower, whereas the stiff blade is better for adhesives and paint because you can control the depth without digging into the substrate. The stiff blade can also be sharpened and used as a carpet knife. To put a good edge on the scraper, place a piece of fine grit sandpaper on a flat surface and simply turn on the tool and let the oscillating action do the sharpening for you. Just angle the tool a little and you will have a razor edge. Please do not touch the edge while the tool is running.


POLISHING: Some of the tool companies offer a felt polishing pad. It will be a triangular shape like the sanding pads. It is a high density felt and there are small holes in the bottom of the pad. Apply a small amount of polishing compound to these holes and you can put a shine on brass fireplace utensils, chrome auto parts, or stainless boat gear. Another polishing application is for those finger prints on the table saw. Depending on the severity of the rust you might start by attaching your sanding pad and cutting piece of Scotch-Brite into a triangular shape. The Velcro hooks on the pad are long enough to grab the non-woven material.


CARVING:  This is a tricky one. The swing of the blade does not lend itself to a normal carving motion. Most power carving is done by a chisel moving forward and backward, or by a rotary burr or wheel. There are times where you might put on one of the narrow 3/8” wood blades to use instead of a hammer and chisel around windows and doors installing hardware. As for true carving where you’re working on your creative skills, once you get used to the swing of the blade you can accomplish the roughing in work.


GROUT AND TILE: One of the most common questions from oscillating tool owners is, “Are there any accessories for cutting tile?”  The simple is NO, but there are some gray areas. If the tile is soft enough you might cut it with a grout blade. “Which would I use, the carbide or the diamond?” For the most part they will cut about the same. The diamond will just give you a much longer life. The main purpose of the grout blade is to remove old grout for re-grouting, removing grout around a broken tile, or just cleaning out the grout line. You might want to use a water spray bottle to keep down the dust or just hold a vacuum nozzle beside the blade. The tool will not throw dust back at you but the fine dust has a tendency to float around.


RASP: I gave the rasp its own heading because it can be used in many applications. The most common is removing the thinset mortar after you have taken out the broken tile. The rasp can also remove heavy buildups of old paint. As the carbide gets loaded with paint simply hold a wire brush to the oscillating rasp. The rasp is about the equivalent of sixteen grit, so be careful not to dig into the work piece. The rasp can also be used for shaping some stone and brick.


CUTTING: Cutting or sawing can be accomplished with many different blades in an assortment of materials. During a remodel you will reach for the long straight cutting blades to cut a door jamb or to trim some molding. If your project has any laminate or fiberglass involved you might want to use one of the half round high speed steel blades. These blades have a very narrow curve and will leave a clean cut line. The HSS blades are also good for metal like a range hood, or even a car body panel. Be careful not to bind these blades in the cut. They are brittle and do not like to be twisted, but they are very handy to have on hand. It is your hacksaw.


As you get to know your oscillating tool you will constantly add applications to this list. The oscillating motion is inherently safe. It doesn’t pull to the left or right, like when a drill bit gets caught or kick back from a saw. The short oscillating motion allows you complete control. Most of the time the worst that can happen is you might ruin a blade. With all that said, any tool, powered or otherwise can hurt you. Be careful.