Top 10 Uses for Multi-Tools

Posted by John Rennie on


Your multi-tool is probably the most important and versatile piece of equipment you are going to invest in for all manner of building, DIY, and refurbishment projects. Whether you are a woodworker, metal worker, plumber, electrician, or general DIY handyman, an oscillating multi-tool will give you functions and options that you might not have even realised existed.

What is a multi-tool used for?

Your multi-tool will be compatible with a number of different accessories that can be interchanged according to the function required – cutting, scraping, grinding, sanding, and polishing, to name just a few. The multi-tool works with a high-speed vibrating (oscillating) movement, which is more powerful and much more efficient than a traditional circular saw and can even access hard-to-reach angles and corners.

This makes it perfect for use with any kind of material you may find on a building site – wood, concrete, the full range of metals (iron, steel, copper, aluminium precious metals) tiles, plastics, fibreglass – no material poses a problem to a good quality multi-tool.

Remember, though, that the job is only as good as the blade you are using. The less frequently you have to change the blade (because it is broken or worn down) the less downtime you are taking to complete the job, the quicker you can complete it – and ultimately time is money!

So, make sure that not only do you invest in the correct size and make of multi-tool for your purposes, but make sure that the blades and tools you buy to perform certain functions are also fit for purpose. The best multi-tool materials are diamond grit or carbide – both of which are expensive to purchase but are proven to give long-term cost savings.

We’ve highlighted here ten different uses of a multi-tool.

  1. Removing grout

A special grout removal blade onto your multi-tool is the best tool for removing grout or mortar. This blade will grind the grout or mortar to dust, making it the quickest and easiest option for completing this fiddly job. Supplement it with a handheld flush cut grout removal blade for smaller, harder-to-reach corners.

Grout is easier to remove than mortar. An average-sized bathroom will require just one blade. You might need to double up on that to remove mortar in a similar-sized area.

When removing grout in a bathroom or shower room, place two layers of masking tape around the grout lines to protect the tiles. This is particularly important for ceramic tiles, which have a soft glaze as you want to be able to remove the grout without damaging the tile.

It is crucial that you start slowly and cautiously, taking care to create a guiding groove in the grout before increasing speed and pressure as the blade digs deeper into the grout. Most multi-tool devices will have a variable speed setting that will help you control the progress of the task.

Once all the grout is removed, you can remove the dust with a vacuum.

And always remember to wear safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from the dust.


  1. Cutting wood

A carpenter without a multi-tool is a lost soul. The variety of jobs a tool for cutting wood can perform is endless and will enable you to significantly widen your skills base.

Whether you need to put the finishing touches to wooden plus, cut in some notches, cut thick timber, or make holes, there is a tool for every function.

Not only does the multi-tool help you shape the wood – once finished you can change the tool for a sanding attachment and smooth the surface of the wood for a perfect finish.

  1. Tile removal

Removing tiles in any situation can be a frustrating and time-consuming job much loathed by many builders. However, a multi-tool hammer function fitted with a pry bar attachment can remove all the hard work and hassle and lift off the tiles in seconds. Not only is it quicker, but it saves you physically from having to spend hours on your hands and knees with a hammer and chisel!

  1. Trimming doors and skirting boards

Whether you’re looking to splice a skirting board when changing a room’s dimensions, trim the bottom of a door to create space for a thicker carpet, undercut a door jamb to create space for new flooring, or achieve surgical precision cuts when modifying internal partitions, a more delicate skirting board cutting tool will give the accuracy required without damaging surrounding areas.

  1. Cutting brick

When cutting through brick to chase walls for electrical cabling and wiring you need to ensure that the multi-tool blade you use achieves precision and accuracy. Different blade sizes create channels for different cables, and the cut is designed to give a snug and secure fit for an electrician.

  1. Cutting concrete

A multi-tool fitted with a concrete tool will cut through the thickest of pieces like butter. Concrete can be a challenging material to cut safely and with precision. If carried out improperly, it can damage the surrounding concrete and ultimately compromise the integrity of the structure of the project as a whole, incurring additional repair costs.

Always approach the first cut slowly and gently. No matter how much experience you may have, concrete can differ significantly. Find the groove with a single, gentle cut and work from there.  

A special Diamond Grit blade is both accurate and durable, creating a consistent and clean cut. Using a cheaper alternative, or the wrong type of blade will compromise the quality of the cut.

  1. Cutting metal

Copper, galvanised steel, iron, aluminium, and brass – buildings are full of different metals that need to be removed as part of any renovation and refurbishment project. When fitted with the correct metal cutting blade, a multi-tool can slice through the most durable and rigid of metals cleanly and with very little vibration.

  1. Furniture restoration

The beauty of an oscillating multi-tool is that, with the right tools, it can cut, sand and polish even the smallest of areas with the accuracy required to produce a beautiful finish. This makes it the perfect tool for someone with a passion for furniture restoration. The same tool can cut out damaged sections with real precision, sand down repaired sections, and polish them to a high-quality finish.

  1. Removing rust metals

The same oscillating movement that sands down a piece of timber can also be adapted using a wire brush attachment to remove rust from metal surfaces. A wire brush is less harsh than grinding and can be used on hard metals like steel and iron without any risk of damage.

The key to a perfect finish is not to apply excessive pressure to the surface with the brush – rather let the movement do the work. You may want to reverse the direction halfway through the job to get the most out of the brush.

  1. Removing old paint

Stripping back old paint and preparing surfaces for repainting has always been a long and laborious, and quite frankly thankless task.

Using a multi-tool with the appropriate attachments, you can strip any surface of paint, and prepare it for repainting.

This is, in fact, just a fraction of the many uses of a multi-tool. If you’re scratching your head over how to achieve a certain outcome on a building site, chances are your multi-tool will do the trick most times.

When attempting a job for the first time, do remember though to approach it with caution? Remember the phrase ‘more haste less speed’? This proverb refers to the fact that acting too quickly and without diligence, focus, and attention to detail will result in mistakes that might otherwise have been avoidable.

Taking this into account, your multi-tool will be your best mate on site! Get in touch with us via to discover more.

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