What is an Oscillating Tool Used For

If you happen to have an oscillating tool, you might be wondering what it actually does, if you haven’t used one before. This is important to know what is an oscillating tool used for, and whatever type of projects you may be working on.

Woodworkers use oscillating tools, or multi tools as they are also called. They are perfect for quick jobs that don’t require much detail to be cut into the wood, allowing it to remain smooth and save you time.

What is an Oscillating Tools?

The oscillating tool is a versatile and often overlooked power tool. This guide will help you understand what an oscillating tool does, how it works, and the many ways that this versatile power tool can be used around your home. We’ll also explore some of the uses for an oscillating tool in professional fields such as construction work or auto body repair.

Oscillating tools work by taking any reciprocating saw blade or sanding pad and making it move back and forth by about 9,000 times a minute. The blade or sanding pad may be shaped to fit a certain purpose but the oscillating tool itself is relatively simple.

The first patent for this type of power tool was awarded to Stephen Perry, an Australian inventor. He received his patent in 1958 and called the device a “multi-function power tool.”

What is an Oscillating Tool Used For?

Oscillating Tool Used For

Working on a DIY project around the house, like building shutters or making your own wooden blinds. Or maybe you’re working on some simple outdoor projects like installing decking boards. Either way, this handy tool will make everything go much quicker to help create what you need. There are many projects that can be completed with an oscillating tool.

Also Read: The Best Tool Sets In the Market

Oscillating tools can be used for many things around your home or office including cutting, sanding, scraping, waste removing, and professional uses.

Cut Tile & Laying Cement

An oscillating saw works well when cutting cement board or tile since it doesn’t get clogged up with material the way a saw with a regular blade might. Use it with tile nippers to cut out areas of grout or cement for tiling projects, clean up old flooring before laying new tiles, and more.

Trimming pipes and screws

Using an oscillating tool around the home is a great way to cut screws and pipes that are too close to the wall or flooring for other tools. You’ll find many uses for this type of power tool around the home and office.

Sand Rough Wood & Caulking

If you’re refinishing your wood floors or working on restoring an older home, you can use an oscillating tool to smooth out rough patches of wood that need some attention. Sanding helps remove imperfections left behind by sandpaper or other traditional tools so that the final stain will go down smoothly and look more even in appearance. You’ll also find this tool very useful when removing old caulking around tubs and showers before applying new caulk.

Scraping adhesive

Whether you’re removing old wallpaper, adhesives on wooden surfaces, or any other type of adhesive that’s stuck onto your walls or flooring, you’ll find that this electric power tool can be a life-saver. It’s not quite as good for scraping large sections of paint off the walls like an orbital sander might be, but it’s perfect if you’re trying to scrape away adhesive and don’t want to damage the surrounding paint (like when scrap-booking or doing crafts).

Cut Through Flooring

In order to replace old flooring with new tile or wood, you’ll need to cut certain areas of the flooring (or subfloor) away. With an oscillating tool, this is MUCH easier than it would be with a regular saw blade since these types of blades don’t clog up as easily and are designed for cutting through various materials including drywall.

Removing rust from metals

Another great use for an oscillating tool is getting rid of rust from metal surfaces. It’s a lot easier to remove by hand than other methods and won’t damage the surrounding surface like sandpaper might. The oscillating tool will not only remove the rust but smooth out any rough patches so that you can apply a new finish later on.

Remove old paint

If you have any jobs around the home that require removing old paint, you’re going to love using a oscillating multi tool instead of a regular saw blade. An oscillating tool won’t harm the surrounding surface like sandpaper or other tools might and it’s designed to help you get rid of old paint quickly and easily.

Professional Uses

You can also use an oscillating tool in many professional settings. It’s not only useful around the home but quite handy when sanding materials to get them ready for painting or staining, scraping off old caulking from tubs and showers, installing flooring or baseboard trim- just about anything! Contractors who work on sewer lines often use an electrical oscillating tool to clean out debris in line. Carpenters use them all the time to sand materials like plywood or other building panels.

Oscillating tool safety Precautions:

Before using an oscillating tool, you should always read through the safety guidelines and precautions provided by the manufacturer. Oscillating tools can be very dangerous if not used properly and it’s important that you follow all of these guidelines:

  • Keep the tool away from water while in use: If you get any electrical components wet while cleaning, sanding, or using your oscillating tool around the home- you’ll want to unplug it right away so that you don’t get electrocuted.
  • You should always wear safety glasses while using an oscillating tool: While this might seem like common sense, I’ve seen people who didn’t bother to wear their safety goggles and then wonder why they were covered in sawdust or small wood chips.
  • Hold the handle with both hands while using an oscillating tool: It’s very important that you never operate this type of power tool with one hand. Even when sanding, use both hands so that it doesn’t slip out of your fingers. Keep in mind that most oscillating tools are quite heavy, so you’ll get tired easily if you try to use it with just one hand.
  • Make sure the oscillating tool blade or sanding pad is secure before using an oscillating tool: I’ve made the mistake of not checking this many times and then found out that my blade wasn’t even attached after attempting to operate my oscillating tool. It’s always a good idea to check beforehand and tighten things up if needed.
  • Keep the oscillating tool away from your face: I’ve seen many people using their oscillating tools with their faces or bodies too close and wondered why they didn’t bother to wear safety glasses (beyond laziness). Whenever you’re operating an oscillating tool, make sure you wear your safety goggles or glasses. Even when sanding, cutting tile or cutting drywall and light materials – small debris might fly up and hit your face!
  • Oscillating tools may heat up during use: Be careful if using an oscillating tool for extended periods of time. The body will start to get hot and you might need to take a break.
  • When changing blades: Make sure the oscillating tool is unplugged and that any blade attachment or accessory is removed before changing out the blade. Even if you think it’s better to change everything while the tool is plugged in, you’ll want to unplug it first as an added measure of safety.
  • You should always let your oscillating tool cool down before storage: I’ve seen people try to carry their oscillating tools around after use because they’re trying to get another job done quickly. This can be very dangerous because the components are already hot and could lead to injury if you accidentally touch them. Let your oscillating tool sit for at least a few minutes after use to make sure it’s no longer hot.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)

How do I use an oscillating tool?

It’s very easy to use an oscillating tool. Just plug it in, turn it on, and then use the multi tool blade or pad to cut or sand. Make sure you wear safety goggles if cutting and always keep the tool far away from your face and body.

How do I change out a blade?

Make sure the oscillating tool is unplugged before trying to change out the blade. You can then remove the old blade or accessory by pushing an arrow-shaped button (which is usually located below the blade). Once you get it off, slide in your desired blade or attachment and then push the arrow-shaped button to lock it in place.

How to get replacement parts for my oscillating tool?

When it comes to replacing components, you’ll want to use the same manufacturer or brand so that your oscillating tools accessories fit properly. I’ve found that there are many online retailers who carry replacement parts for various models of oscillating tools.

This is an easy process if you already know the model of your oscillating tool, but can require some trial and error if you’re not sure. Oscillating tools are also often covered under a warranty period- I’ve found that there are many online retailers who offer replacement components or accessories for various models at very reasonable prices after the warranty has expired.


An oscillating tool is a handheld power tool used for various applications such as cutting, scraping, sanding, and polishing. After using your oscillating tool you should unplug it and let it cool down before storage to avoid injury. You should always wear safety glasses or goggles when using an oscillating tool to avoid any accidents. Replacing components for your oscillating tools are generally best done with the same manufacturer of model so that the parts fit properly, but this can require some trial and error if you’re not sure which model you own. There are many online retailers who carry replacement parts for oscillating tools.

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