Oscillating Multi-Tool Blades for Every Application
Oscillating multi-tools and their wide variety of blades and accessories allow a wide range of users to tackle numerous projects. Whether you’re a professional in many trades or a DIYer, multi-tools are a must. The compact size and lightweight of an oscillating tool, aka oscillating multi-tool (OMT), allows the operator to work in places other equipment wouldn’t fit.
What roles do Oscillating Multi-tool blades perform?
OMT tools have three primary roles: cutting, scraping, and sanding. An oscillating tool performs these different tasks only by changing the blade or attachment. This allows the machine to perform an endless variety of functions. Because the OMT is an essential tool, it’s crucial to select the correct blade for the task at hand.
What makes an Oscillating Multi-tool Blade so effective?
Milwaukee oscillating multi tool using an imperial blades drywall cutting blade to cut through drywall
It is crucial to understand how oscillating multi-tools work and what allows them to be effective on so many applications. OMT tools use a high-speed, side-to-side motion of a relatively small blade compared to most cutting power tools, which create a circular motion (circular saws) or a long front to back cutting motion (reciprocating saws). The OPM, or oscillations per minute, of up to 20,000 strokes per minute with only a 3- to 4-degree radius, allows for precise control with minimal vibration. The tool won’t create nearly as much dust with the blade’s side-to-side motion. This easily handled tool allows the operator to make cuts and do tasks not achievable with other power tools. Additionally, due to the stepped profile of most blades, it allows for flush cutting on all surfaces, especially in hard to reach areas.
What blade should I use?
Milwaukee oscillating multi tool using an Imperial Blades Wood & Nails blade to cut through plywood.
Different kinds of materials require specific blades for the best results. For instance, a blade with longer and fewer teeth per inch will cut wood easily but will quickly dull if used to cut brass plumbing pipe or trim exposed nails. Inversely, a blade with more and shorter teeth, specially coated with titanium or laser welded with “bi-metal” (high-speed steel strip on a high carbon steel blade), allows for cutting metal.
Additionally, the multi-tool blade accessory category also offers carbide tooth blades for the toughest metal and abrasive applications. These include hardened bolts, deck screws, rebar, plaster, brick, cement board, and more. Blades and attachments come in many different shapes, sizes, and configurations. Although some blades will cut many materials and do different jobs, take time to select the best blade for the task. Blade selection is not always about “what can it cut” but should be more about “what should it cut.”
Common Uses for an Oscillating Multi-Tool and the Recommended Blade:
What to look for in a blade
Caulk Removal: Go with a scraper blade. Some scraper blades are flexible and ideal for scraping light material. An excellent choice is a rectangular-shaped blade with opposing precision-ground cutting edges. Imperial Blades Caulk Removal Blade
Concrete Crack Chasing: This is a tough job, so go with a carbide-grit grout removal disk or blade. Imperial Blade for cleaning concrete cracks
Brick & Concrete: To cut concrete, brick, plaster, grout, or other porous materials, check out a diamond or carbide-grit blade. The diamond coating provides a long-lasting and consistent cut. Imperial Blade for cutting brick and concrete
Carpet & Linoleum: Go with a scraper blade with a rounded convex edge. Some blades are designed with a special push/pull hooked design for fast, clean, controlled cuts. Imperial Blade for cutting carpet and linoleum
Ferrous Metal (contains Iron): A bi-metal and a fine-toothed blade look similar. Cutting metal with a blade created for cutting wood will dull the edge quickly. Make sure to choose a bi-metal blade manufactured explicitly for cutting metals or a combination of wood and metal. Imperial Blade for cutting ferrous metal
Non-Ferrous Metal (does not contain Iron): Select a bi-metal blade for this application. Some blades come with a wavy tooth pattern to reduce strain on individual teeth for a superior cut. Imperial Blades oscillating multi tool blade for cutting thick metal
Drywall: Perfect for cutting openings for electrical boxes and recessed lighting, a bimetal or carbide-grit blade will cut the drywall and cut through a drywall nail or screw without dulling the blade. Imperial Blade for cutting drywall
PVC and Plastics: For most plastic-cutting applications, a standard wood-cutting blade will suffice. For more precise cuts, consider a bi-metal blade. Imperial Blades oscillating multi-tool blade for cutting pvc and plastic
Sheet Metal: A circular or semi-circular blade works well for cutting both sheet metal and plastics that might be prone to vibrating when cutting. Imperial Blades oscillating multi tool blade for cutting sheet metal
Shingles: The same blade used to cut carpet (above) can also be used for shingles. Imperial Blade for cutting carpet and linoleum
Thick Metal: For thicker metals, consider a hybrid blade like a titanium-coated model with carbide-embedded teeth for longer life. Imperial Blades oscillating multi tool blade for cutting thick metal
Wood Trim and Flooring: When fine cuts are necessary, consider a blade with a Japanese tooth design for fast, clean, and precise cuts. If the cut edges will be visible, a clean-cut is a must. Imperial Blades for wood trim and flooring
Fiberglass: One right choice is a chrome vanadium blade featuring a Japanese-style tooth design with a double row of alternating teeth. A large-toothed blade cuts faster than a fine-toothed blade. The smaller-toothed blade cuts well, but can easily clog. Imperial Blades oscillating multi tool blade for cutting fiberglass
Vinyl Flooring: Go with a straight cutting blade for push cuts or a multi-knife blade featuring a push/pull hooked design for fast, clean, controlled cuts Blade for cutting vinyl flooring made by Imperial Blades
Wood with Nails: If there’s a chance, you’ll hit metal when cutting wood, used a bi-metal blade. It isn’t as fast as a wood-cutting blade, but it won’t be destroyed by hitting a hidden nail or screw. Imperial Blade for cutting ferrous metal
Flush-cutting Door Jambs: Your first choice should be a flush-cutting blade. Consider a blade with a Japanese tooth design for fast, clean, and precise cuts. Imperial Blades oscillating tool blade for cutting door jambs
Grout Removal: For small jobs, consider a carbide blade, and for larger jobs, try a diamond-coated blade. A diamond-coated blade saves you money as it lasts two to three times as long. Some blades come in 1/16” and 1/8” thicknesses to match grout widths. Another consideration is a triangular-shaped blade with pointed ends for grinding and rasping in tight corners Oscillating Multi Tool blade for removing grout
Plunge cut Flooring and Decking: Wood-cutting, plunge-cut blade. Plunge blade for a oscillating multi tool manufactured by Imperial Blades
Remove Ceramic Tile: Look for a blade with the following attributes: carbide-coated edge, coarse carbide-grit bottom for aggressive material removal over large surface areas, and a pointed design for grinding and rasping in tight corners Imperial Blade for cleaning concrete cracks
Remove Mortar: Select a grinder blade for this tough task. More specifically, consider a segment blade shape for working in corners and on edges without overcutting. Triangle shaped blade for removing mortar from a floor or wall
Remove Old Paint: Try a flexible scraper blade or triangular-shaped head with mating coarse-grit sanding pads. Triangle sandpaper sheets used for removing paint from wood
Remove Rust from Metal: Use a fine sanding pad. Triangle sandpaper used for removing rust from metal
Sanding Wood: The triangular-shaped sanding head or pad smooths rough wood in corners and will level uneven surfaces of wood or paint. Keep in mind, the coarser the sandpaper, the rougher the sanded surface will be. Triangle sandpaper used for removing rust from metal
Tearing up Carpet: Go with a blade with a curved design for easy push and pull cutting. Use the front knife edge for cutting and scraping Imperial Blade for cutting carpet and linoleum
Wallpaper Removal: A flexible scraper blade excels here.