What is an oscillating tool & how does oscillating tool works?

Confusion about What is an oscillating tool actually is? So, Here's the deal :

In short, an oscillating tool is a Power tool that’s mechanism of working is by oscillating the inner parts. Cutting, grinding, scraping, sawing, sanding, polishing, rasping, what you need to do? An oscillating tool can do those job, with perfection.

Can be carried easily compared to other tools. It is designed to perform a various range of task. Especially awkward cutting that can’t be possible with the normal tool but the oscillating tool can do that job easily.

Keep reading to know details about “what is an oscillating & how does oscillating tool work”?

Other than circular cutting saw or jigsaw the blades vibrate in an oscillation tool. Any kind of building material such as cement, plastic, wood can be cut by this tool. The special capability is, with this tool, you can cut into a narrow/tight place or close-fitting area.

What can be done with an oscillating tool?

The unique ability of oscillating tool is cutting. It can cut without damaging anything adjacent to the thing that is being cut.

Other than this many jobs can be done with an oscillating tool. Such as:

  • Tired of the old painting? It is now easier than ever to remove with the oscillating tool. The steel scraper blade that comes with the tools, attach it and remove blistered paint. You can remove paint from shiny metal and wood.
  • The carbide-grit grout blade is used to remove joint of floor tiles and wall tiles. Your grout dust will not spread the whole house. Because it vibrates rather than spinning like any other tool.
  • Are you trying to install a new door? But the door is not fitting well. Need to trim to fit it with the floor. The tool can do the job easily.
  • You can use the tool for smoothing wood and fine finish topcoat. Sanding attachments that offer manufacturer are used to do this job.
  • Oscillating tools are great for cutting quickly copper pipe, plastic pipe and galvanized metal pipe.
  • For cutting whole in drywall is easier nowadays. You just need to mark perfectly where you want to cut and use the metal or wood cutting blade.
  • The oscillating tool is ideal for scraping up adhesives. Steel scraper blade is needed for that. Attach it and do it. If there is any adhesive left behind the use the carbide-grit to clear it.
  • The cement-based mortar of a floor that is stuck, can be removed with triangle shaped carbide-grit rasp. The triangular shape can easily fit the tight corner. So, you don’t need to worry about it.

Also, trim baseboard, cutting nail and bolts and many jobs can be done easily.

How oscillating tool works?

Vibration is the key to work an oscillating tool. With the proper accessory, it can do all the above work efficiently. Side by side very fast movement make it works perfectly. Some accessories may need to work it perfectly. 

Let’s see how this works in details:

1. For straight cutting:

Straightedge is used to cut a straight line with the oscillating tool. For precise and fine cut there is no alternative than straightedge. If you don’t know which one is straightedge, then find the blade that does not have gouge.

2. Plunge and linear cut

For a plunge cut, straight blades are ideal and for a linear cut, using a round blade is ideal. Don’t use those blade for long at a time. Give some rest and use it again. By doing this your blade will not get hit and will last longer.

3. Flush cutting blade to install new floor or door:

If you are installing a new floor or door, it might get jam with the tiles or floor. A flush cutting blade can slice the doorjambs. So, for a fine cut under the door use a flush cutting blade for getting a faster result.

Otherwise, you will have to take out the door. It will take a long time and this is also expensive.

4. Cutting rusty nuts:

Nuts that get rust and which is in a tight place is not possible to take out with a wrench or muscle strength. And as it is a tight corner, so, you can’t use a reciprocating saw. But bi-metal cutting with an oscillating tool can easily cut it out and pulled it off.

You just need to place the blade in an oscillating tool and start with slow speed. You can increase speed after cutting a 5 mm.

5. Cutting metal:

Bi-metal blade used to cut hard metal. Do not use it to cut wood or plastic.

You can get a various shape of the bi-metal blade in stores. Take the right one that you need. This is also called as oscillating tool metal cutting blades.

6. Using a carbide blade:

Carbide blades are great removing grout without damaging your tiles. There are two types of blades. One is carbide blade (low cost) other one is the diamond blade.

Diamond blade lasts two or three times longer than carbide blade. So, in terms of saving money, you can get a diamond blade rather than carbide blade.

Wait – there’s more

7. Removing adhesive:

An oscillating tool with a putty knife is using to remove dried adhesive. Normally it will take hours to remove them without this. But with this, you can strip it off with saving your valuable time.

8. Using scraper blade:

Removing an old basin, an old toilet, towel bar or a soap dish is easy with a scraper blade.

If you want to unscrew then it will take longer time as the nuts stay in that position for a long time or nuts may get rust.

Use a scraper blade to slice those joint that are caulked with the floor.

9. Using sanding attachments:

Most of all the oscillating tools provider supply some sanding attachments. However, those are used to smooth wood and fine topcoat finish. The triangular-shaped pad is very useful out of all sanding attachment.

It is perfect for sanding a surface of wood, plastic, and metal. With an oscillating tool, you can be sanding tight corners and hard to reach areas with hassle-free.

10. Cutting tiles:

Without using large machinery for cutting tiles, you can use an oscillating tool. For cutting tile with oscillating tool use the round blade.

11. Removing paints:

Removing old paint is a tough job. But with a steel scraper blade equipped with an oscillating tool to remove old paint is less tedious. After removing paint, you can use sanding pad to shine it.

12. Get rid of wood moldings:

Wood moldings are the most annoying part. You can get rid of this by using a tooth metal cutting blade. Use it to fine cut the moldings. You can cut moldings from anywhere it created. Use metal cutting blade if there is a nail or metal present.

Some safety needed to work with an oscillating tool:

To work with an oscillating tool, you have to follow the below instruction carefully.

User manual:

The oscillating tool comes with a user manual. Use the user manual to assemble your oscillating tool. Wrong assemble will occur serious damage to your tool and you.

Safety glass:

Don’t use Sunglass. Always wear safety glass while working with an oscillating tool to avoid unwanted accident to your eyes.

Holding an oscillating tool:

While using it, hold it firmly. If you notice that, you need to hold hardly then do not create pressure to cut. Just use the speed to cut your desired piece.

Protective gloves:

Vibration is the way of working an oscillating tool. So, use a cushioned protective gloves to feel less vibration on your hand. It will also protect you from getting shocked.

Adjusting blade:

Before adjusting the tool with a blade, make sure that the power is switched off to avoid an accident.

Working area:

The working area should be dry enough. As it is working with electric, so, water or moisture can pass electricity and you will get shocked.

The right blade:

Use the specific blade for specific work. Don’t use a wood and plastic cutting blade to cut a metal piece. You will not get any output rather than destroying the blade.

Holding the oscillator:

To avoid electric shock, always hold the insulated grip of the oscillator.

Switching blade:

Before switching one blade to another blade, turn the power off and take some time to cool down.

For more info, please watch this video.


However, there are nearly endless accessories to work with an oscillating tool. If you have an oscillating tool you can find out more use of it.

If you have an adapter, then you can use lots of blades. So, why limit your oscillator. Get an adapter to use it more. It is like one tool with multiple application.

All in all, to work like a professional an oscillator can give the opportunity.

Finally, I hope now you have a good understanding of what is an oscillating tool & how does oscillating tool work.

John Bryan

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